Since 2008, I've kept a spreadsheet on each year's winners. Simple items: year, what award won, name of recipient, title of the book, publisher, and whether winner was male, female or part of a team. I wish I had other insights to add: retail sales data, number of libraries which have the book in their collection, number of books published for children and young adults by African American authors or illustrators (what was the total universe of potential books), or number of books submitted that year for CSK Book Award consideration (how big was the pool from which winners selected). Or, I wish I could categorize the celebrity status of each author or illustrator (Berry Gordy and Pearl Bailey have won; but not Whoopi or Jada Pinkett-Smith). Is there such a thing as a "Walter Dean Myers brand"? I also wish I could categorize each book by mutually exclusive themes (e.g., historical, contemporary, picture book vs chapter) to see if there is any change in winning themes over time.
I'm not a statistician. I am a quilter and author of a children's book, Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria (True story!) and a couple other books about African American quilting history. I am also curious and enjoy pivot tables!
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are an institution - a much needed one. Each year there is an Author and Illustrator award winner. Additionally, there might be one or more Honorable Mentions. Some years there are awards for newly published authors or illustrators. There is also now an award for lifetime contributions to the area of African American children's and young adult literature. Here are the latest statistics about the CSK Book Awards.
- There have been 255 total awards presented since 1970. 61% of the awards have gone to Authors, 38% to Illustrators and 1% to two individuals for lifetime achievement.
I used to think that women were more likely to win a Coretta Scott King Book Award. And, on the face of things, it seems so. But, let's look more closely into the numbers!
- Putting all the recipients in the mix since 1970, African American women have received 49% of all Coretta Scott King Book awards; followed by 44% to Black men and 7% to teams or couple writers or illustrators.
- Black women tend to be the recipients of more Author awards and Black men tend to be the recipients of more Illustrator awards.
- There have been 93 Winners since 1970. 48% have been Black men and 47% have been Black women. So, women are not really more likely to WIN an award - just to be the recipient of an award.
- While not shown in the table, 80% of the New Talent Author Awards have been awarded to women. Five of the seven New Talent Illustrator Awards have been bestowed to men.
The publishing world has changed considerably since 1970, which the first CSK Book Awards were given. My spreadsheet does not distinguish between publishers and imprints. The top five publishers since 1970 are: Scholastic (23 books), Dial (20 titles), Atheneum (14), Hyperion (12), and Harper Collins, Lothrop, and Simon & Schuster (each has 10 titles).
- Looking only at data from 2000 to 2011, there have been 86 CSK Book Awards given to works published by 35 publishers.
- 57% of the awards since 2000 have gone to books published by 10 children's book publishers. The top six publishers awarded a CSK Book Award are: Hyperion (9 titles or 10% of the 86 titles awarded), Scholastic (7 titles), Atheneum (6 titles), Henry Holt (6 titles), Simon and Schuster (5 titles), and Lee and Low (4 titles).
- While not shown here in the table, there have been 13 New Talent Awards (author and illustrators combined) since 2000. Farrar Straus Giroux and Lee and Low are the only two publishers to have won twice each.
Let's have a look at the table above. This shows the number of people or recipients who have received two or more author or illustrator awards, whether as the winner or honors, since 1970. The Lifetime Achievement Awards are not included.
- 41 recipients (male, female and couples) have received 175 awards or 69% of ALL CORETTA SCOTT KING BOOK AWARDS since 1970.
- 24 Authors (or 31% or all authors) have received 102 awards or 65% of all the Author awards given.
- 17 Illustrators (or 41% of all illustrators) have received 73 awards or 75% of all Illustrator awards given since 1970.
- While not shown on this table, no New Talent Award for Illustrators have gone on to win another CSK Book Award yet. There have been three New Talent Awards for Authors to go on to win another CSK Book Award: Hope Anita Smith, Sharon Flake, and Sharon Draper.
- Author Book Award - One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. This is her second CSK Award; the first was in 1996 for Like Sisters on the Homefront.
- Author Honor Award - Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers. This is his tenth CSK Book Award. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
- Author Honor Award - Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes.
- Author Honor Award - Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri
- Illustrator Book Award - Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave illustrated by Bryan Collier. He has won five previous CSK illustrator awards/honors, including two in one year!
- Illustrator Honor Award - Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. This is his second CSK Book Award.
I'd love to hear what past CSK Book Award Judges say about the process. What is it like from their perspective? Does anyone know of any published article or video that shares a CSK judge's thoughts? Do share!
Again, congratulations to all the winners. I hope this summary is useful to the larger discourse. Thoughts?
Update: If you have a moment, visit the Reading in Color blog for the "My Issues with the Coretta Scott King Awards" for a great argument for separating picture books, middle grade school and young adult books. I wholeheartedly agree with her suggestions!