The Coretta Scott King Award distinguishes African American authors and illustrators of children’s literature. The CSK Award bestows more than one award each year. Each year the committee chooses a distinguished author and illustrator, a few honor books in each category and it also awards the John Steptoe New Talent Award.
I chose to read Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow: A tory of the Young Jimi Hendrix written by Gary Golio and illustarted by Javaka Steptoe. Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow won an illustrator honor award this year. It is easy to see why. The book is filled with bright, beautiful colors and Steptoe takes advantage of multiple media formats including paint, print, wire, cardboard, wood and paper. It is a very modernist style of illustration that has its roots in modernist art. I also suspect that Steptoe’s style (like other illustrators I have seen lately) has a direct connection with contemporary media and technology that has permeated the art and illustration world.
The illustrations also have a correlation with musical notes. The text and art flow together like one would image musical notes would if they could be seen coming out of an instrument. Steptoe uses a circles and waves in many of his illustrations that copy the movement of sound. The bright colors are definitely an element of the 60’s.
Steptoe’s illustrations are ones that children’ can have a lot of fun exploring and contain elements that can ignite their imagination.