I spent the past two weekends with culture carriers, truth tellers, game changers,and history makers. Last week was the Highlights Foundation Cultural Competency workshop. This weekend it was the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Awards.
The Coretta Scott King Awards recognize outstanding books for children and young adults created by Black authors and illustrators. The first CSK Award was presented in 1970, just two years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King and her work for peace. The Awards are presented annually at the American Library Association (ALA) Conference. It had been years since I attended ALA. #CSK50 was such a great occasion to return.
I missed the big 50th anniversary gala on Friday, but made it to DC on Saturday in time for an intimate celebration with fellow Black book creators and Black librarians. I also had a little time to visit the ALA exhibits and got to meet Terry Nathan, COO of the Independent Book Publishers Association, which awarded I'm A Big Sister Now the 2019 the Ben Franklin Award for picture books.
Sunday was the CSK Breakfast. I joined the literary community in celebrating the 2019 award winners and honorees as well as luminaries like Eloise Greenfield (third photo - center), Ashley Bryan, and George Ford - Black book creators who care deeply about us, our stories, our communities. They paved the way, raised the bar, and lifted us higher.
For me, the best moments (and photos) of the weekend are of George Ford. (He's family, so I call him Uncle George.) He hand wrote a list of the people who were on the dias at the 1974 Coretta Scott King Awards ceremony where he was presented the FIRST CSK Award for illustration.
Such rich history!! I'm so glad I was able to share in it.