The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN) is pleased to announce Nikki Grimes as the recipient of the 2020 ALAN Award. The Award is given to someone who has made “outstanding contributions to the field of adolescent literature.” Join us at the ALAN Workshop breakfast and help us honor Nikki Grimes, the recipient of this year’s ALAN Award, who continues to make outstanding contributions to adolescent literature.
A bestselling author and a prolific artist, Nikki Grimes has written 77 books, many award-winning books for adolescents including the Coretta Scott King Award winner for Bronx Masquerade; the Coretta Scott King Author Honor books Jazmin’s Notebook, Talkin’ About Bessie, Dark Sons, The Road to Paris, and Words with Wings; Horn Book Fanfare for Talkin’ About Bessie; ALA Notable books What is Goodbye? and Words with Wings; and numerous picture books and novels including The New York Times bestseller Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope and, most recently, Garvey’s Choice and One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance. In 2005, Ms. Grimes was awarded the Golden Dolphin Award by the Southern California Children’s Book Association, recognizing her body of work. She has been honored with the NCTE Award for Poetry and the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award from Kent State University. In 2017, she was presented with the Children’s Literature Legacy Award for her “substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.” (List of books.)
And Nikki Grimes continues to publish books that speak to the times with a moving picture book biography of Kamala Harris in Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice, just released in August 2020. Her memoir, Ordinary Hazards, is a Michael L. Printz Honor Award, one of ALA’s most distinguished awards for adolescent literature, about which author Laurie Halse Anderson wrote: “This book will heal hearts.” To be released January 2021, Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance is a feminist-forward new collection of poetry celebrating the little-known women poets of the Harlem Renaissance–paired with full-color, original art from today’s most talented female African-American illustrators.
In addition to her books, Nikki Grimes has an engaged presence on social media, making visible and accessible her writing life for fans and aspiring authors. She also amplifies the work of other writers in her media feeds and author panels. When visiting schools, she posts classroom images from across the country to promote reading as activism. Finally, Nikki Grimes uses her voice to respond to and interrogate our world with poetry. In “You Still Dream” on Poets.org, she wrote, “Please heal our nation./Cleanse our stubborn hearts./Show each of us what part to play” (2020).