Kadir Nelson

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Kadir Nelson (born May 15, 1974) is an African-American artist, illustrator and author. His work is focused on African-American culture and history.

Early life[edit]

Nelson was born in Washington, DC, the son of author and motivational speaker Emily-Diane Gunter.[1] He received his early training in art from his uncle, Michael Morris,who was an artist and art instructor.[2]Nelson graduated from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.[3]


Nelson has had exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States and the world, including the Museum of Tolerance,[4] and the Society of Illustrators.[5]


Book awards[edit]

Nelson is a two-time Caldecott Honor Award winner. He received an NAACP Image Award for the book Just the Two of Us. For his book, We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, he received the 2008 CASEY Award for best baseball book,[21] the 2009 Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the 2009 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award.[22] His book, Nelson Mandela, was a Coretta Scott King honor book in 2014.[23]

Album cover art[edit]

Nelson created the mural used as cover art for Michael Jackson's posthumous 2010 album Michael.[24][25]

On Friday, December 10, 2010, a 29,070-square-foot (2,701 m2) poster depicting the Michael album artwork was erected at the Rectory Farm in Middlesex, England, which broke a Guinness World Record for the largest poster in the world.[26]

On Wednesday, August 21, 2013, it was announced that Nelson had created the work of art used for Drake's 2013 album Nothing Was the Same.[27]

Postage stamps[edit]

Nelson designed the pair of 44-cent U.S. postage stamps that were issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 2010, to honor Negro Leagues baseball,[28] and a pair that honored basketball star Wilt Chamberlain in 2014.[29]


  1. ^ Johnson, Virginia, Author of the Month: Kadir Nelson," Librarypoint, Central Rapahannock Library District. Retrieved 3 July 2016
  2. ^ "We are the ship; About the author and artist." Retrieved 3 July 2016
  3. ^ "TheGrio's 100: Kadir Nelson, drawing from the past to illustrate hope" 02/01/2010
  4. ^ ONCE UPON A WORLD CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD, 2005 winner, Museum of Tolerance website
  5. ^ 2009 Original Art: The Fine Art of Children's Book Illustrations, October 22, 2009 - November 25, 2009, Society of Illustrators website
  6. ^ Big Jabe, HarperCollins website
  7. ^ Salt in His Shoes, Simon & Schuster website
  8. ^ Dancing in the Wings, Penguin USA website
  9. ^ Just the Two of Us, Scholastic website
  10. ^ Please, Baby, Please at Simon & Schuster website
  11. ^ The Village that Vanished at Penguin USA website
  12. ^ Ellington Was Not a Street at Simon & Schuster website
  13. ^ He's Got the Whole World in His Hands at Penguin USA website
  14. ^ The Real Slam Dunk at Scholastic website
  15. ^ Hewitt Anderson's Great Big Life at Simon & Schuster website
  16. ^ Please, Puppy, Please at Simon & Schuster website
  17. ^ Moses at Disney Books website
  18. ^ Michael's Golden Rules at Simon & Schuster website
  19. ^ We Are the Ship website
  20. ^ Margolick, David (April 8, 2011). "Children's Books - 'A Nation's Hope' and 'Bird in a Box'". The New York Times. 
  21. ^ "CASEY Award". Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  22. ^ "Kadir Nelson wins 2009 Sibert Medal". American Library Association. January 26, 2009. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  23. ^ And the Newbery, Caldecott award winners are..., Ashley Strickland, CNN, January 27, 2014
  24. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/51942/231058 "New Michael Jackson Album Out December 14", Jem Aswad, Rolling Stone Magazine, Nov 04, 2010
  25. ^ "Michael Jackson Asked Album-Cover Artist To Paint Him Before He Died", Gil Kaufman, MTV News, Dec. 13, 2010
  26. ^ "Michael Jackson Poster breaks records". 2010-12-10. Retrieved 2010-10-08. 
  27. ^ https://twitter.com/Drake/status/370363461152161793
  28. ^ Krueger, Anne (May 6, 2010). "Negro Leagues players get stamp on history". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2011-11-02. Nelson said he’s not a huge baseball fan .... He’s more intrigued with the history of the league that provided the only way for black baseball players to compete professionally before Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. 
  29. ^ Davis, David (December 4, 2014). "Wilt the Stilt Becomes Wilt the Stamp". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-02-03. Kadir Nelson, the artist who painted the images.... created two versions of the stamp. One shows Chamberlain in the act of shooting with his first N.B.A. team, the Philadelphia Warriors, for whom he started playing in 1959. The other depicts him rebounding for the Los Angeles Lakers, his final club, for whom he played from 1968 to 1973. 

External links[edit]