Steptoe father and son

This spring we’ve been busily preparing to help celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Coretta Scott King (CSK) Book Awards. First celebrated in 1970, 246 recognitions have been bestowed since the award’s inception.

In the early years, only authors were recognized. By 1974, the first illustrator received an award. Then in 1994, the CSK Book Award was expanded to include the New Talent Award to honor African American authors and illustrators with less than three published works.  This newest award is now called the John Steptoe Award for New Talent.

Working on this project made me curious to learn more about the namesake of the award, John Steptoe. The author and illustrator of, among other books, the 1988 CSK Illustrator Award-winning book Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale (Lothrop, 1987), John also received Caldecott honors in 1985 and 1988.

As it turns out, John Steptoe has a son, Javaka Steptoe, who is also an award-winning illustrator. In 1998, Javaka won the CSK Illustrator Award for In Daddy’s Arms I am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers, (text by Alan Schroeder, published by Lee & Low, 1997).

Enjoy this video of Javaka reading from In Daddy’s Arms I am Tall and reflecting on how the struggles and triumphs of his father impacted his own development.  Gives me something to think about as Father’s Day approaches. How about you?

photo of blog article's authorPosted by Carin Bringelson, MLS, Information Manager

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