Author/Illustrator Spotlight: Kadir Nelson

Author/Illustrator Spotlight: Kadir Nelson

Blue Sky White Stars


Kadir Nelson is a painter, author and illustrator of numerous books for children. Nelson writes and illustrates his own books as well as partnering with authors to illustrate their books. He has teamed up with the authors Spike Lee, Nikki Grimes, Will Smith, Matt de la Peña, Barack Obama and more.

One of Mr. Nelson’s most notable interests, reflected in the stories he chooses to tell in his paintings and in his books, is African American history. Listen here as he talks about why:


Coretta Scott King Honor and Award for Author and/or Illustration:

NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Literary Work, Children’s:

Caldecott Medal Honor Award:

eBooks & eAudio:

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Coretta ScottA Nation's Hope Boxing Legend Joe LouisBlue Sky White StarsHeart and SoulI Have a Dream

Print Books:

Change Has ComeNelson MandelaAbraham LincolnMosesBaby BearHe's Got the Whole World in His HandsIf You Plant a SeedWe Are the ShipAll God's CrittersBig JabeBrothers of the KnightDancing in the WingsEllington Was Not a StreetHenry's Freedom BoxHewitt Anderson's Big LifeJust the Two of UsMama MitiPlease Baby PleasePlease Puppy PleaseSalt in His ShoesTesting the IceThe Real Slam DunkThunder RoseUnder the Christmas Tree

More about Black History:

To learn even more about fascinating and inspiring black history makers, visit the Center for Black Literature & Culture at Central Library. The Center is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots.

WeNeedDiverseBooks LogoTo get young people engaged, one of the things they need is to see themselves in books. It is important for all of us to see ourselves in books, because that encourages us to read in a different way and encourages us to write more.” ~ Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott Founder of the African American Read-in #weneeddiversebooks

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