Floyd Cooper is deceased; The world of children’s literature in mourning again


The Kid-Lit World remembers award-winning illustrator Floyd Cooper.

Award-winning children’s illustrator Floyd Cooper has passed away. He was 64 years old.

The Highlights Foundation confirmed the news in a Tweeter Friday, “We were extremely sad to learn this morning that our dear friend and faculty member Floyd Cooper has passed away. Thank you, Floyd, for the many gifts you have given us.

Cooper has written children’s books, including Jump! From the life of Michael Jordan, The Ring Bearer, and June 10 for Mazie, but he had his biggest impact in children’s publishing as an illustrator. He won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award in 2009 for The Blacker the Berry, written by Joyce Carol Thomas. He has won several Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. This spring, two books he illustrated came out: A Day for Rememberin ‘: Inspired by the real events of the first Memorial Day by Leah Henderson and Unnamable: The Tulsa Race Massacre, which was written by Carol Boston Weatherford and named Boston Globe-Horn book Award the title of honor.

“When writing Unspeakable, I asked Floyd to illustrate, ”Weatherford said in a statement to SLJ. “Because he was a native of Tulsa, I knew he would bring passion to the project. I didn’t know then that his grandfather survived the massacre. As a student of his many works, I consider Unspeakable to be his masterpiece, the book for which he was born. Sure, Grandpa Williams greeted Floyd today and said, “Good job.” I will miss my colleague and friend. Floyd was one of the best.

The entire children’s publishing community has seemed stunned and saddened in a year that has already seen the loss of Eric Carle, Beverly Cleary, Lois Ehlert, Patricia Reilly Giff, Norton Juster and Kathleen Krull.

“We are shocked and devastated to learn of the passing of Floyd Cooper,” said Adam Lerner, publisher and CEO of Lerner Publishing Group. “Floyd was an incredible talent, gone too soon. Emotions flowed pages with Floyd’s artwork and we are honored to have had his talent on books such as Nameless, Ruth and the Green Book, something to prove, and A spy called James. We send our love and thoughts to Floyd’s wife, Velma, Dayton, Kai and Floyd’s grandchildren. Floyd’s amazing works of art will always hold a special place in our hearts. “

[Read: An Unspeakable Interview: Talking with Carole Boston Weatherford About the Tulsa Race Massacre | A Fuse #8 Production ]

Floyd illustrated Nikki Grimes’ 1994 title Meet Danitra Brown.

“I’ll cry all day, no apologies,” Grimes tweeted. “Floyd Cooper is deceased. His depth of talent was greater than he thought. I feel so blessed to have worked with him and called him a friend. It is impossible to calculate how much we will miss him. RIP, Floyd.

Other members of the children’s book community took to Twitter, mostly recounting an act of kindness at a publishing event, the impact of her art, and the void left by her death.

“If you weren’t lucky enough to know Floyd Cooper@ floydcooper4, this email shows what it looked like “, author Linda Sue Park tweeted with a picture from an email Cooper wrote to her in July 2020. “Hi Linda, just a quick note to let you know how great it was to see your smile again!” he wrote. “I connected with everything you had to say at the roundtable. Stay safe in these perilous times… Better, Floyd ”

Park included the covers of two of his favorite books (The Blacker the Berry and A day to remember) and added: “Please join me in buying / gifting / sharing Floyd’s books to celebrate his life.… Peace to you, dear friend.”

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