Thursday, January 12, 2012

The 2012 Coretta Scott King Award (Part 1)

On Jan 23. all the Youth Media Awards will be announced including the Coretta Scott King Award

Other blogs analyze the rules and regulations of the Newbery, to truly understand the full process and what the judges may infer from a particular passage and so on. If your in search for the same thing for the Corretta Scott King award you came to the wrong place, that's too deep for me. All you'll get here is a quick cut and paste.

Author and Illustrator Awards
Given to African American authors and illustrator for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions, the Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream of a pluralistic society.

The award is designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.

In 2011, as far as I know there were 13 picture books written and or illustrated by African American artist. Since I am looking at the illustrator award first. (author award tomorrow) I've placed all the potentially eligible authors names in bold.

1.One Love by Cedella Marley, illus. by Vanessa Newton Bradley
2.Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby by Patricia Maclachan illus. by Elizabeth Zunon
3. Lottie Paris Lives Here by Anglea Johnson illus. by Scott M Fischer
4. Chocolate Me by Taye Diggs illus. by Shane Evans
5. Never Forgotten by Patricia C. Mckissack illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon
6. My Hands Sing The Blues:Romare Bearden's Childhood Journey by Jeanne Walker Harvey illus by Elizabeth Zunon
7. Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson
8. White Water by Michael Bandy and Eric Stein illus by Shadra Strickland
9. Summer Jackson: Grown Up by Teresa E. Harris illus by AG Ford
10. A Nation's Hope by Matt de la Pena, illus. by Kadir Nelson
11. Roots and Blues by Arnold Adoff illus. by R. Gregory Christie
12. The Secret River by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon
13. Before There Was Mozart by Lesa Cline Ransome illus. by James E. Ransome
14. We Are America by Walter Dean Myers, illus. by Christopher Myers
15. Belle, the Last Mule at Gee's Bend by Calvin Alexander Ramsey & Bettye Stroud, illus. by John Holyfield
16. These Hands by Margaret H. Mason, illus. by Floyd Cooper
17. Love Twelve Miles Long by Glenda Armand, illus. by Colin Bootman

That gives us 13 illustrators. Out of that two are ineligible since they don't fit the guidelines of being educational - Summer Jackson : Grown Up illustrated by AG Ford. Eligible or not I loved Summer Jackson and I am a fan of Ford's work. I absolutely loved what he did with Oz.

And the Secret River illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. This was a 1956 Newbery Honor, that was trimmed down and illustrated this year. While shorter this is still a very long story and I should confess I only skimmed it, but don't believe it fits the award guidelines, though who knows come the 24th I could have egg on my face and this will be an honor.

I almost placed Chocolate Me by Shane Evans in the ineligible category for not being educational but it is a story (very cute) about a boy learning to love himself. However I still don't believe its a contender. The same goes for One Love illus. by Vanessa Newton Bradley.

Belle, the Last Mule at Gee's Bend is eligible since its a story about one of the mules that helped pull Dr. Kings funeral wagon. However the illustrations simply didn't work for me. I thought the illustrations were rendered in oil, since that's a hit or miss medium for me but on the copyright page it says acrylic. It several of the spreads the colors appear to be bleeding together and there wasn't enough color contrast.

If Elizabeth Zunon name doesn't sound familiar its because she is a new illustrator, My Hands Sing the Blues and Lala Salama are her first books. If you haven't seen Zunon work yet your seriously missing out. Since Zunon is new she' s probably up for the John Steptoe Award for new talent.

Zunon has a new book coming out on the Jan. 19, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition

That cuts the number down to only 8 eligible illustrators that I believe are contenders

Leo and Diane Dillon for Never Forgotten
Shadra Strickland for White Water
Floyd Cooper for These Hands
Kadir Nelson for A Nations Hope and Heart and Soul
R. Gregory Christie For Roots and Blues
James E. Ransome for Before There Was Mozart
Christopher Myers for We Are America

It possible that Nelson could win and honor in the same year. However Nelson still must contend with the Dillon's. I've always loved their work. Still have a copy of Honey I love Never Forgotten has received 5 starred reviews - PW, SJL, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. So its a pretty good chance it will garner a CSK award on Jan. 23, the only question is which one, author or illustrator?

Ransome's illustrations for Before There Was Mozart had a elegant and sophisticated feel. This one of those books the longer I looked at the artwork the more I appreciated it. Lesa Cline and James E. Ransome released a new biography this month on a young Fredrick Douglass called Words Set Me Free

The best thing about Myers illustrations for We Are America are his landscapes. His oceans are beautiful.

Roots and Blues was released in Jan. but Christie should not be forgotten. What I love most about R. Gregory Christie, while its easy to recognize his signature style, the medium in which he works always fits the story. His illustrations in Roots and Blues tell a story all by themselves. It's worth seeking out just to get a look at his Robert Johnson.

I enjoyed White Water a lot more then I thought I would. There isn't really much that can done textually with a Jim Crow story. But the author made this able to make this story fun and in return that allowed Strickland more freedom to play visually and that she did. I love the overall playfulness and imagination displayed throughout.

Floyd Cooper is a four time CSK honor recipient and stands a very good chance of getting number five with These Hands. Unfortunately I haven't read this one yet and I am limited to the few spreads on the amazon preview. But I love the little I can see, the illustrations like detailed paintings that were fitted into a picture book and the shadow work is excellent.

Love Twelve Miles Long is another one I haven't read so again I am limited to preview spreads this time via Lee & Low, the publishers site. From what I can see the illustrations look goo. The second one is my favorite, I really like the intensity of the woman's face.

Returning to Nelson - A Nation's Hope, the story of Joe Louis. The first spread that truly caught my eye is the one of Lewis gloves taking up the whole page, has he helps his opponent off the floor. I love the definition and detail in his hands and the contrast against the black page. Much of Nelson's beauty comes from his concentration to detail and the facial expressions of subjects.

However if one of Nelson's books is going to win its going to be Heart and Soul. The story is all Nelson and its easy to see how much time he devoted it. Since Nelson does have two excellent eligible works, the judges should look closely at both. For Nation's Hope the one thing I could've done without are the indistinguishable muted fans in the background, it only appears in two spreads but I wonder if its enough to keep the book from earning an honor.

Who I think will win - Kadir Nelson for Heart and Soul

Who I want to win - Kadir Nelson for Heart and Soul

Who I think will honor - Leo and Diane Dillon for Never Forgotten, Floyd Cooper for These Hands

Who I want to honor- R. Gregory Christie for Roots and Blues, Floyd Cooper for These Hands.


Unknown said...

What a great rundown. I agree with you, some amazing choices here but far and away (for me) it is Kadir Nelson. Just seeing the cover of Heart and Soul moves me to tears.

Unknown said...

Loved both the story and the drawings in Never Forgotten. I also loved the illustrations in Heart and Soul. I go with Kadir (again!) on this one.

Thanks for doing this. I missed 1/2 of these in my reading! Look forward to your CSK Author info.

I think the CSK would get more play in the blogs if the rules were more delineated. You know exactly what you are looking for in the Newbery and there's a manual to boot. Info on the CSK is hard to find and harder to articulate.

MP Flory said...

I'd agree with your Nelson pick! I met him and loved hearing about his method for this book.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this great analysis and for introducing me to some books I should take a look at. The only books I have read on your list are Kadir Nelson's. My initial thought was that I can't imagine that Kadir Nelson is beatable. He is such a fantastic illustrator and always chooses important or inspiring subjects. However, I have more books to read.

Anonymous said...

Also, were there truly only 13 books illustrated by African Americans published in 2011?

Doret said...

Mary - The Heart and Soul cover is hard not to love

Kathy - The author half is going up on Saturday. I agree about it's hard to articulate the criteria sometimes. For me it a lot of times it comes down to this is a book the CSK committee would like best mainly on past winners. Though I would be hard pressed to explain my reasoning.

MP- Thanks to Heart and Soul this rundown was all about who would honor.

Delight - There are some great books here and all of these illustrators are great in their own right. I hope you get a chance to enjoy a few more,

I did my best to find all the books illustrated by African American artist, though that's not to say I didn't miss any. However I would be very surprised if I missed more then three.

MotherReader said...

Nice rundown there! I don't think I had really ever looked at the CSK guidelines to only include educational works. And then we wonder about the lack of books that feature African-American children without being about slavery or civil rights. Seems like a disconnect there.

I'd add "These Hands" to the list - illustrator Floyd Cooper and "Love Twelve Miles Long" illustrated by Colin Bootman as possibilities. "Walking Home to Rosie Lee" by LaFaye might come up in author.

I'm terrible at predicting, but I'll go with "Never Forgotten" for illustrator. Or author. I can't decide.

Doret said...

Motherreader - I agree about the dissconnect and the authors I don't predict have a better chance at winning.

Thanks so much for the two titles I missed. For some reason I thought These Hands was published last year and I forget Love Twelve Miles Long.