2021 Winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for Authors
by Jacqueline Woodson
For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone's hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he's as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans.
But lately life at ZJ's house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ's mom explains it's because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that — but it doesn't make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name.
As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can't remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past?
Though not recognized as an association award by the ALA until 1982, the Coretta Scott King Award had its inception in the late sixties. The award, commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and honoring his widow, Coretta Scott King, honors African American writers and illustrators and celebrates the African-American experience through artistic expression. It is presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Task Force of the American Library Association's Social Responsibilities Round Table.