Looking for America

Looking for America

The CSK breakfast is a study in diversity; and when we go looking for America, it is one marvelous place to behold. The flowing summer attire of the attendees and the local schoolchildren (20 to 50 are invited) in their morning best, remind me of a hometown special Sunday. It’s a pleasure to see my friends and to observe the camaraderie of other artists and writers.

Amidst the chatter and greetings of the breakfast crowd, I have to smile. I wonder what my dad would have thought of the conclave. “It started small, but now see what’s happened?” my mind speaks to him, as I observe the more than 500 individuals being seated. I imagine Dad chuckling. “S’what happens when you go looking….!” he says, knowingly.

1The Coretta Scott King Awards Book, From Vision to Reality, edited by Henrietta M. Smith, p. LX (ALA, 1994).

Coretta Scott King Award-Winning Books

1999 Author Award Winner
Heaven by Angela Johnson (S & S)

1999 Illustrator Award Winner
i see the rhythm, illustrated by Michele Wood; written by Toyomi Igus
(Children’s Book Press)

From the School Library Journal/May 1999

The King and I

“My parents were there the first time I won a Coretta Scott King Award. It was a great occasion. It was like being accepted and acknowledged as a major African American illustrator. The purpose of the CSK Award perhaps is to show that there are different criteria that we may address which speak directly to African American children about their culture and heritage. These books need to be highlighted.” Brian Pinkney, 1999 CSK Illustration Honor Book Award for Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra (Hyperion, 1998), written by Andrea Davis Pinkney.

“As an editor and author, I feel doubly blessed to have my book get the award attention it has received. As an editor, I know how hard librarians and members of award committees work. So to be acknowledged this way is quite an honor. My true hope is to have the CSK speeches included each year in The Horn Book, along with the Caldecott and Newbery speeches, and to have tape-recorded copies of the speeches, just as there are for the Caldecott and Newbery.” Andrea Davis Pinkney, author of Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra (Hyperion, 1998).

“The first time I won the Coretta Scott King Award, I felt warm all over. The chances of an African Amer ican winning a Newbery or Caldecott seems slimmer for some reason, as if we’re going out of style. If for some reason we do, then the CSK Award is in place for us for that wonderful feeling of acclaim.” Angela Johnson, 1999 CSK Winner, Author Award for Heaven (S & S, 1998)

“To me, the CSK Award conveys such support and inspiration that no artist who has received the honor could ever again believe that they are creating in a vacuum. I may sit by myself at my desk, working into the night, but I now know that my work is part of a dialogue. The CSK Awards I’ve received are not only a wonderful response to my work, but they keep me ever mindful of what and how I am communicating.” Pat Cummings, 1984 CSK Winner, Illustration Award for My Mama Needs Me (Lothrop, 1983), written by Mildred Pitts Walter.