Cleveland Public Library Staffers Select Prestigious Book Award Winners

Cleveland Public Library contributed to the selection of the 2021 Randolph Caldecott Medal, Coretta Scott King Book Award, and the Pura Belpré Award winners.

Caldecott Medal

The Caldecott medal honors the most distinguished American picture book for children. Cleveland Public Library’s Youth Services Manager Annisha Jeffries served as chair of the Caldecott Medal selection committee which named Michaela Goade, illustrator of We Are Water Protectors, as this year’s winner. The book is written by Carole Lindstrom and published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings.   Jeffries shares, “Michaela Goade’s illustrations in We Are Water Protectors illuminateits commanding use of color that is a compelling, stunning masterpiece. It has been a pleasure to serve on the Caldecott committee and work alongside my library peers across the country to acknowledge all our winners.”

Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named:

  • The Cat Man of Aleppo illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, written by Irene Latham & Karim Shamsi-Basha, and published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
  • Me & Mama illustrated and written by Cozbi A. Cabrera and published by Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 
  • Outside In illustrated by Cindy Derby, written by Deborah Underwood, and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 

The Caldecott Medal winner joins the best of the best in literature recently announced by the American Library Association (ALA) at its virtual Midwinter Meeting. Other honors for top books, digital media, video, and audiobooks for children and young adults – included the John Newbery and Coretta Scott King awards.

Coretta Scott King Author Book Award

Cleveland Public Library Woodland Branch Manager Maria Estrella served on the 2021 Coretta Scott King Book Awards committee. The Coretta Scott King Book Awards recognizes an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.

This year’s Coretta Scott King Author Book winner is Before the Ever After written by Jacqueline Woodson. The book is published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Three Coretta Scott King Honor Books were named:

Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book Award winner is R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul illustrated by Frank Morrison. The book is written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

Three King Illustrator Honor winners include:

  • Me & Mama illustrated and written by Cozbi A. Cabrera and published by Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Legendborn written by Tracy Deonn received the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award. The book is published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

And Dorothy L. Guthrie is the winner of the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award pays tribute to the quality and magnitude of beloved children’s author Virginia Hamilton. Guthrie’s work Integrating African American Literature in the Library and Classroom inspires educators with African American literature. She also founded the first African American museum in Gaston County, NC.

“It has been an honor and privilege to represent Cleveland Public Library on this prestigious committee,” said Maria Estrella, Woodland Branch Manager. “Each award recipient makes it possible for all people to see themselves in books. Cleveland Public Library looks forward to introducing these great reads to our visitors.”

Pura Belpré Award

Estrella also served as the REFORMA Chair for the Children’s and Young Adults Committee and the liaison to the Association of Library Services to Children (ALSC), which oversees the 2021 Pura Belpré Award committee.  The Pura Belpré Award is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. 

This year’s Pura Belpré Award Author Book winner is Efrén Divided written by Ernesto Cisneros.  The book is published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Two Pura Belpré Honor Books were named:

Pura Belpré Award Illustrator Book Award winner is ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat illustrated and written by Raúl Gonzalez.  The book is published by Versify, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

The Belpré Illustrator Honor award winner is Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano/Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello illustrated by Elisa Chavarri, written by Monica Brown.  The book is published by Children’s Book Press, an imprint of Lee & Low Books Inc.

The Youth Media Awards also announced the first Pura Belpré award for young adults. This year’s Pura Belpré Award for Young Adult Author Book winner is Furia written by Yamile Saied Méndez.  The book is published by Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Two Pura Belpré Young Adult Honor Books were named: 

  • We Are Not from Here written by Jenny Torres Sanchez, published by Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

More Award Winners

For a complete list of all book award winners, visit and Interested in reading one of the award-winning books? Call Cleveland Public Library to place a hold for pick up or visit our digital collection to download a copy.

Cleveland Public Library is open for drive-up and walk-up services Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The Main Library drive-up window is available on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. To order your next read, movie, or audiobook by mail, call one of our 27 neighborhood branches or visit our online catalog on