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Alumni Experience

Alumna Dare Coulter wins 2024 Coretta Scott King Book Award

Dare Coulter in front of book illustration Play Video
Dare Coulter

This story is adapted from a press release published on January 22, 2024 by the American Library Association.

Alumna Dare Coulter [Art + Design ’15], illustrator of “An American Story,” is one of two winners of the 2024 Coretta Scott King Book Awards honoring African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults. The awards were announced during the American Library Association’s (ALA) LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience, held Jan. 19–22 in Baltimore.

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards encourage the artistic expression of the African American experience via literature and the graphic arts; promote an understanding and appreciation of the black culture and experience; and commemorate the life and legacy of Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination in supporting the work of her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for peace and world brotherhood.

The cover of An American Story.
The cover of An American Story.

In “An American Story,” published by Little, Brown and Co., a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc., stunning mixed-media illustrations take the reader on a journey from the fireside tales in an African village, through the unspeakable passage across the Atlantic, to the backbreaking work in the fields of the South. This is a story of a people’s struggle and strength, horror and hope.

Four pages from An American Story. Coulter used three mediums — clay, charcoal and paint for her illustrations. Book pages: Text by Kwame Alexander, art by Dare Coulter ’15.

Born in Augusta, Georgia, and raised in Lorton, Virginia, Coulter has illustrated nine children’s books. For the second half of her life, she has lived in and around Raleigh, North Carolina, where the bulk of her public artwork has been created. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor’s in Art + Design, but considers herself a graduate of Meredith College’s art program, as well. Dare Coulter has worked to create a career that focuses around heart-felt presentations of the human experience, life, joy and resilience.

“Coulter masterfully uses mixed-media, illustrations and clay figures, to differentiate for the reader the story of slavery and present-day reactions of the kids who are learning about this history from their teacher in the narrative. Coulter’s illustrations beautifully yet authentically tell the American story of Black people that although tragic, is a story of triumph,” Darden said.

Members of the 2024 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury are Chair LaKeshia Darden, Ed.D, director of library services, St. Philip’s College, San Antonio; Tamela Chambers, branch manager, Chicago Public Library; Edith Ching, adjunct lecturer, University of Maryland; Jina DuVernay, cultural consultant/librarian, Atlanta; Andrea Jamison, Ph.D, assistant professor of school librarianship, Illinois State University; Malana Krongeib, research services librarian, Boston Public Library; and Nancy Tolson, Ph.D, undergraduate director of African-American Studies, University of South Carolina.

For information on the Coretta Scott King Book Awards and other ALA Youth Media Awards, visit

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit