KPL Congratulates Jacqueline Woodson on Winning the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award

Kalamazoo Public Library congratulates our 2021 Reading Together author Jacqueline Woodson for receiving the 2021 Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award for “Before the Ever After.”

Every year, Kalamazoo residents gather together to read and discuss the themes of one book. Reading Together celebrates our community through the celebration of story. For the first time ever, instead of focusing on one book, KPL has selected an author who has written dozens of books for children, teens, and adults to enjoy. This way, everyone, regardless of age, can come together as a community and celebrate story with award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson. While we encourage you to explore Woodson’s entire body of work, we are highlighting six titles:

Jacqueline Woodson is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, children, and now adults. Woodson was the 2020 recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Award and is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow. Among her many other accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a three-time National Book Award finalist, and a three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. She was named Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation in 2015 and was also named the 2018 Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress.

2021 Reading Together Events (Virtual)

Join us for our first virtual Reading Together and mark your calendars for the following events:

Jacqueline Woodson Lecture with WMU Professor Jill Hermann-Wilmarth
Tuesday, February 16 | 7 pm | Online | Registration Required

Hermann-Wilmarth, a former elementary school teacher and professor of social foundations in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Studies at Western Michigan University will discuss Jacqueline Woodson’s legacy both on children’s literature and her impact on those who read her stories.

Jacqueline Woodson: Behind the Books
Wednesday, March 10 | 3 pm | Online | Registration Required
Jacqueline Woodson discusses her lifelong journey as a writer with humor and poise, revealing her own writing process and where she finds inspiration.

Jacqueline Woodson–Keynote Speech
Wednesday, March 10 | 7 pm | Online | Registration Required
Woodson guides the audience through the vivid poems from her book Brown Girl Dreaming, sharing what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow, her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement, and the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child.

NEW! Participate in this year’s Reading Together by recording yourself reading a passage from one of Jacqueline Woodson’s books, or, share your own original story, poem, or song! We will be sharing these videos on our Reading Together page on the day of Jacqueline Woodson’s virtual visit on March 10. The deadline to submit is February 28.

 This year’s Reading Together is sponsored by Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library. For more information and how you can participate, please visit

About Reading Together

The purpose of Reading Together is to build a stronger community with deeper connections through the common experience of reading the same book and exploring its themes together. When we do that, we engage and learn, not only about ourselves, but more importantly about each other and the world around us.

By experiencing the same book, hearing the author of that work speak right here in Kalamazoo, and examining the book’s themes through a local lens, we are able to embrace our similarities and differences from a common point of reference.

Very simply, when we read together, we grow together.


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