John Lewis Steptoe

John Lewis Steptoe was born on September 14, 1950, in Brooklyn, NY and was raised on Monroe Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant. John Steptoe began drawing as a young child and received his formal art training at the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan. In 1966, at the age of 16, his first book and the very first picture book to capture the black experience, Stevie, a story based on his experiences growing up, received national attention when it was published in its entirety in Life magazine. It was hailed as “a new kind of book for black children.” HarperCollins published Stevie in 1969 at the age of 19, launching his career. During his twenty-two year career, he published 17 books, 11 of which he wrote and illustrated, 5 that he illustrated and a final one published after his death in 1989.

He received honors and accolades including the American Library Association’s Caldecott Honor for children’s book illustration for The Story of Jumping Mouse in 1985 and Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters in 1988; He also received the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, for Mother Crocodile (text by Rosa Guy) in 1982, and Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters in 1988. While all of John Steptoe’s work deals with aspects of the African diaspora experience, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters an African Cinderella story was acknowledged by reviewers and critics as a breakthrough. While accepting the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Illustration he said, “I am not an exception to the rule among my race of people I am the rule. By that I mean there are a great many others like me where I come from.”

“I am not an exception to the rule among my race of people, I am the rule. By that I mean there are a great many others like me where I come from.”

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Books

Uptown

Uptown
John Steptoe
Harper & Row, 1970

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Train Ride

Train Ride
John Steptoe
Harper & Row, 1971

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Thank You Jackie Robinson

Thank you Jackie Robinson
Barbara Cohen
HarperCollins, 1987
An American Library Association Notable Book

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Stevie

Stevie is celebrating its 50th year anniversary.
Stevie
John Steptoe
Harper & Row, 1969/1986

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My Special Best Words

My Special Best Words
John Steptoe
Viking, 1974

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Marcia

Marcia
John Steptoe
Viking, 1976

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Daddy Is a Monster...Sometimes

Daddy Is a Monster…Sometimes
John Steptoe
Lippincott, 1980
Reading Rainbow Book

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Birthday

Birthday
John Steptoe
Holt, 1972

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All the Colors of the Race

All the Colors of the Race
Arnold Adoff
Lothrop, 1981
An American Library Association Notable Book Reading Rainbow Highlighted Book

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Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters
John Steptoe
Lothrop, 1987
The Caldecott Award
An An American Library Association Notable Book
The Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration
Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Illustration
Reading Rainbow Featured Book

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The Story of Jumping Mouse

The Story of Jumping Mouse
John Steptoe
Lothrop, 1984
The Caldecott Award
An American Library Association Notable Book
Horn Book Fanfare Honor List

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She Come Bringing Me That Little Baby Girl

She Come Bringing Me That Little Baby Girl
Eloise Greenfield
Lippincott, 1974

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OUTside INside Poems

OUTside INside Poems
Arnold Adoff
Lothrop, 1981
American Library Association Notable Booklist Children’s Editor’s Choice

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Mother Crocodile

Mother Crocodile
Rosa Guy
Delacorte, 1981
The Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration
The 1989 Milner Award

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Jeffrey Bear Cleans Up His Act

Jeffrey Bear Cleans Up His Act
John Steptoe
Lothrop, 1983
An American Library Association Notable Booklist Children’s Editor’s Choice

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Creatvity

Creatvity
John Steptoe
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
Clarion Books, 1997

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Baby Says

Baby Says
John Steptoe
Lothrop, 1988

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All Us Come Cross the Water

All Us Come Cross the Water
Lucille Clifton
Holt, 1973

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Recognition

School re-naming

Public School 181 was named the John Lewis Steptoe School of the 21st Century

Street re-naming

Monroe Street between Ralph and Howard co-named after him to John Lewis Steptoe Place. Read more about this momentous event.

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$10,334 Donated

  • His artwork has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Transit Museum September 1994 to January 1995
  • His name has been placed in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Celebrity Path.
  • Public School 181 was named the John Lewis Steptoe School of the 21st Century, Brooklyn, NY 1996.
  • His name is etched in glass at the African American Heritage Center at the Macon Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY.
  • His artwork hangs in the Raymond Bush playground in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
  • Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters has been adapted as a play traveling nationwide, with over 150 performances. September 2016 to July 2017 was the most recent tour.
  • Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters chosen by the children’s librarians at the New York Public Library as one of the “100 Great Children’s Books/100 Years”, 2013.

About Your Donations, Where & How They are used

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CONVALLIS AT TELLUS mAURIS BLANDIT ALIQU

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Recognition

The John Lewis Steptoe Cultural Center, P.O. Box 330170 Brooklyn, NY 11233-0170

Call Us: 347-985-6395