Today is Martin Luther King day and Americans have heard many tributes to King, a great leader who helped to bring about the dream of equality for all Americans. Every schoolchild learns about Martin Luther King and his inspiring work, but not everyone knows that his wife Coretta Scott King has also been a source of inspiration for many children.

Coretta Scott King Award seal

Coretta Scott King Award seal

Coretta Scott King, who died seven years ago this month, left an ongoing gift to American children in the form of the Coretta Scott King award of the American Library Association. From its beginnings in 1969, the Coretta Scott King has honored the work of African American writers and illustrators of books for children.

The 2013 author award went to Andrea Davis Pinkney, author of Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America. The illustrator award went to Bryan Collier, illustrator of I, Too, Am America.

In the years since 1970, the award has gone so such remarkable writers as
• Eloise Greenfield
• Julius Lester
• Toni Morrison
• Virginia Hamilton
• William Dean Myers

As well as many others. All of the names can be found on the American Library Association Coretta Schott King award page website at http://www.ala.org/emiert/coretta-scott-king-book-awards-all-recipients-1970-present

What a wonderful gift to give to America’s children! Some of the best books of the last half century have been honored by this prize and have enriched the lives of many Americans. So when we pay tribute to Martin Luther King, let’s also give thanks to Coretta Scott King for her many contributions over the years and the legacy that continues to honor her name.