Books by Floyd Cooper

A DANCE LIKE STARLIGHT by Kristy Dempsey
Released: Jan. 2, 2014

"A warm, inspirational collaboration that will resonate in the hearts of all who dream. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)"
Dreams do come true for a Harlem girl in the 1950s. Read full book review >
MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON by Floyd Cooper
Released: June 13, 2013

"A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)"
After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home. Read full book review >
SOMETHING TO PROVE by Robert  Skead
Released: April 1, 2013

"A loving tribute to Satchel Paige, who never looked back in anger. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture book. 7-12)"
A little-known episode in the careers of two baseball giants highlights the racial divide in the game. Read full book review >
BRICK BY BRICK by Charles R. Smith Jr.
Released: Dec. 26, 2012

"An excellent title that provides an admirably accurate picture of slavery in America for younger readers. (author's note, selected resources) (Picture book. 4-7)"
The White House is truly the people's house. Read full book review >
IN THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY by Joyce Carol Thomas
Released: Sept. 1, 2012

"Thomas and Cooper have given us, especially Californians, a moving love song. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Based on her family's move from Oklahoma to California in 1948 when she was 10, Thomas tells of the train trip and her subsequent love for the "Golden State" in poetic language distinguished by strong verbs and striking images. Read full book review >
THESE HANDS by Margaret H. Mason
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 1, 2011

"For all the many titles that appear on segregation and protest for younger readers, this one stands tall not just for delving into a piece of labor history not previously covered, but for its ability to relate history with heart and resonance. (Picture book. 4-8)"
With tenderness and pride, a grandfather shares the many skills of his hands with his grandson, who is a happy student. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2010

"This story touches on a little-known moment in American history with elegance, compassion and humanity. (historical note) (Picture book. 7-12)"
In the early 1950s, newly built interstate highways invited Americans to travel by automobile, but the open road wasn't so open for African-Americans, especially in the South. Read full book review >
A BEACH TAIL by Karen Lynn William
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Feb. 20, 2010

"Scoop up this tale for its strength as a unique beach story and for its warm portrayal of an African-American son and father enjoying the outdoors. (Picture book. 3-6)"
While Greg and his dad enjoy a beach day, Dad sets two rules: "Don't go in the water / and don't leave Sandy," a lion Greg has drawn in the sand. Read full book review >
BEN AND THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION by Pat Sherman
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 1, 2010

"Nevertheless, a solid Black History choice for younger students. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Benjamin Holmes was a young slave in Charleston just before the Civil War who, with some help from his father and a great deal of drive, teaches himself to read. Read full book review >
BACK OF THE BUS by Aaron Reynolds
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2010

"Cooper uses his 'subtractive method' on oil color, in which illustrations are rubbed out or lightened, making the pictures glow with burnished grace. (Picture book. 5-9)"
A child's-eye view of the day Rosa Parks would not give up her seat. Read full book review >
WILLIE AND THE ALL-STARS by Floyd Cooper
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

"Triumphant. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-9)"
In 1942 on Chicago's North Side, Willie, a young African-American boy, dreams of becoming a great baseball player in the Major Leagues, like Joe DiMaggio or Dizzy Dean. Read full book review >
BECOMING BILLIE HOLIDAY by Carole Boston Weatherford
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

"A remarkable tribute well worthy of its subject. (afterword, bibliography, references, further reading and listening) (Poetry. 14 & up)"
"I toted my songs / like a satchel and felt most / at home when I sang," says Billie Holiday in this gorgeously produced fictional "life in poems" of the great jazz singer. Read full book review >
THE BLACKER THE BERRY by Joyce Carol Thomas
POETRY
Released: July 1, 2008

"What shade is human?" Read full book review >
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"A foreword provides a brief prose history of the school; a concluding authors' note explains their collaborative process. (Poetry. 10+)"
Two years after Suzanne Jurmain's nonfiction chronicle, Forbidden Schoolhouse (2005), comes a glorious poetic celebration of the teacher and students at a Connecticut school that defied mid-19th-century convention to educate African-American girls. Read full book review >
THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT by Marty Crisp
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

"An author's note gives details of a white dog often seen in Renaissance paintings of the Nativity. (Picture book. 5-9)"
Cooper's distinctive oil-wash paintings add depth and personality to a worthy entry in the long list of tales about bringing gifts to the Christ Child. Read full book review >
JUMP! by Floyd Cooper
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

"Having retired several years ago, Jordan still remains a hero of legendary proportions—Cooper keeps the legend alive. (biographical note) (Picture book/biography. 6-12)"
Michael Jordan was a curious, mischievous little boy who was constantly trying to keep up with his older brother Larry. Read full book review >
MISSISSIPPI MORNING by Ruth Vander Zee
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

"Readers end with sympathetic feelings for James William—not only for the shaking of his social foundations, but the trauma of his father's lies. (Picture book. 8-11)"
Racial prejudice and equal doses of a boy's naïveté and experiences collide in a coming-of-age moment that calibrates his moral compass. Read full book review >
CADDIE THE GOLF DOG by Michael Sampson
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 31, 2002

"Cooper's consistently stunning illustrations, with beautiful color, softened effects, and emotionally charged characters (even the animals) perfectly complete the warm and fuzzy circle of a dog's life. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A stray blue heeler dog shows she's got game when she finds happy owners for herself and her new puppy. Read full book review >
DANITRA BROWN LEAVES TOWN by Nikki Grimes
POETRY
Released: Jan. 1, 2002

"How nice for Zuri and for young readers that Danitra has returned. (Picture book. 7-10)"
Fans of this author-illustrator team's Meet Danitra Brown (1994) will welcome their latest effort about Danitra and her best friend, Zuri Jackson. Read full book review >
FREEDOM SCHOOL, YES! by Amy Littlesugar
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2001

"Includes author's note and bibliography. (Picture book. 5-9)"
The team that created Tree of Hope (1999) returns to present a story of the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project. Read full book review >
A CHILD IS BORN by Margaret Wise Brown
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

"While the text and many of the illustrations are pedestrian, this will resonate with readers seeking a multi-ethnic version of the Christmas story. (Picture book/poetry. 4-7)"
Cooper, illustrator of several Coretta Scott King Award books, presents the Christmas story with an African-American cast. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 1, 1999

"Hopkinson (Birdie's Lighthouse, 1997, etc.) frames her moving, inspirational account as a modern family story shared by Sheppard's descendants one of whom is a librarian at Fisk today. (Picture book. 6-8)"
PLB 0-688-10259-X Taking a big step up from its glamorous, superficial predecessor, African Beginnings (p. 111), this volume looks at the history of slavery in Europe and Africa, plus the growth and decline of the New World slave trade, with a narrative that is closely based on contemporary accounts and full-color and black-and-white illustrations from a variety of sources. Read full book review >
I HAVE HEARD OF A LAND by Joyce Carol Thomas
FICTION
Released: May 31, 1998

"Cooper's dusty drawings portray both the isolation of the settlers' new life on the prairie, and the strong human bonds that helped them endure; his use of color gives the Oklahoma the look of paradise without sentimentalizing the work such a place entails. (Picture book. 7-11)"
Land was a symbol of freedom to African-Americans, many of them former slaves, who settled the Oklahoma Territory in the late 1800s. Read full book review >
AFRICAN BEGINNINGS by James Haskins
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 1, 1998

Beginning with the pre-dynastic Nubian culture, Haskins (see review, above) covers the successive rise and fall of Saharan and sub-Saharan empires and major cities between 3800 b.c. and a.d. 1665, then veers away from the political and economic history for three paragraphs (actually a long caption accompanying an unidentified performer) about ``Music and Dance,'' a similar essay on ``Art and Religion,'' and a lengthier, broad account of ``Slavery and Colonization.'' The bibliography is better than perfunctory, but neither the map, which has no political boundaries, nor the timeline, which refers to people and cultures not covered in the text, are particularly helpful. Read full book review >
MA DEAR'S APRONS by Patricia C. McKissack
FICTION
Released: April 1, 1997

"But there's love here, cast over David Earl's life with the same uncompromising grace Ma Dear brings to all things in their lives. (Picture book. 3-9)"
McKissack's story looks at a week in the life of a turn-of- the-century African-American boy and his mother. Read full book review >
SATCHMO'S BLUES by Alan Schroeder
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"Satchmo'' is never explained and is not used in the story, appearing only in the author's note. (Picture book. 6-10)"
Like Schroeder's first book, Ragtime Tumpie (1989), and his recent Minty (p. 537), this is a fictionalized account of the childhood of a great American. Read full book review >
MANDELA by Floyd Cooper
by Floyd Cooper, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 10, 1996

"The author's note supplies a few crucial biographical details but repeats information and dates. (pronunciation guide, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)"
A biography of Nelson Mandela, subtitled ``From the Life of the South African Statesman.'' Cooper (Coming Home, 1994, etc.) sets out a nearly impossible task, and in condensing a 78-year-old life, leaves out descriptions of torture, terror, and murder; of Mandela's wide-ranging and sometimes controversial talks with world leaders after his release from prison; and of—except in the author's note—the Nobel Peace Prize he shared in 1993. Read full book review >
GINGERBREAD DAYS by Joyce Carol Thomas
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 30, 1995

"They heighten and extend the affectionate tone of a text that is full of feeling as it trumpets simple togetherness. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)"
An amiable companion to Thomas and Cooper's Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea (1993). Read full book review >
DADDY, DADDY, BE THERE by Candy Dawson Boyd
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 12, 1995

"1031, etc.) includes families of all ethnicities, giving this fine marriage of pictures and words a universal appeal. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A touching ode to the need of children to have their fathers involved in all aspects of their lives. Read full book review >
COMING HOME by Floyd Cooper
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 15, 1994

"A book of generous, but muted, feeling, animated by a central question: What is home? (Author's note; bibliography) (Nonfiction/Picture book. 4-10)"
Langston Hughes's father lived in Mexico, finding it difficult to get work as an attorney in America because he was black, and Hughes's actress mother was often absent. Read full book review >
MEET DANITRA BROWN by Nikki Grimes
POETRY
Released: April 1, 1994

"EWSLUGp1989. (Poetry/Picture book. 5-11)"
In a lively cycle of 13 poems by the author of Somethin' on My Mind (1978), Zuri Jackson celebrates her vibrant best friend Danitra: ``the most splendiferous girl in town...She's not afraid to take a dare./If something's hard, she doesn't care./She'll try her best, no matter what.'' Danitra shares work, play, and confidences with equal verve, knows how to defuse a mean tease or comfort a friend, and loves to wear purple. Read full book review >
BROWN HONEY IN BROOMWHEAT TEA by Joyce Carol Thomas
POETRY
Released: Oct. 30, 1993

"A must. (Poetry/Picture book. 5+)"
Framed by two maxims (``Broomwheat tea: good for what ails you...when poured by loving hands,'' and ``...A cup of loving kindness/helps keep a family going''), a cycle of a dozen lyrical poems exploring issues of African-American identity through delicately interwoven images related to the tea (brown and gold: ``I sprang up from mother earth/She clothed me in her own colors...As you would cherish a thing of beauty/Cherish me''; bitterness: ``There are those who/Have brewed a/Bitter potion for/Children kissed long by the sun...''; and sweetness, too: ``Honey's been here long...[but] What if the bees don't come?''), and also related to growth, freedom, and family (``I look across water/And cry for our trembling/Family tree''). Read full book review >
BE GOOD TO EDDIE LEE by Virginia Fleming
FICTION
Released: Oct. 27, 1993

``God didn't make mistakes, and Eddie Lee was a mistake if there ever was one,'' muses Christy, trying to justify her reluctance to be kind as Mama has said; and with her friend JimBud, she sets out to look for frogs' eggs, hoping to evade the Down's syndrome boy. Read full book review >
FROM MISS IDA'S PORCH by Sandra Belton
FICTION
Released: Sept. 30, 1993

"List of biographies, recordings, and two videotapes. (Fiction/Young reader. 7-10)"
``You can know where you're going in this world only if you know where you've been!'' Addressing adults as much as children, the narrator fondly recalls the sights and sounds of her neighborhood, especially Miss Ida's porch, a ``telling place'' where one summer night she heard old Mr. Fisher recall the time Duke Ellington himself came to stay because no hotel in town would have him. Read full book review >
PASS IT ON by Wade Hudson
NONFICTION
Released: March 1, 1993

"Thumbnail sketches of the 14 poets are included. (Poetry/Picture book. 6-10)"
Chosen for their appeal to the elementary age, 19 short poems, mainly by such standards as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Eloise Greenfield, and Nikki Giovanni. Read full book review >
THE GIRL WHO LOVED CATERPILLARS by Jean Merrill
FICTION
Released: Oct. 21, 1992

"A lovely, unusual book. (Fiction/Picture book. 6+)"
A 12th-century Japanese story, adapted from three credited translations, about a young woman of respectable rank who defies convention by refusing to pluck her eyebrows or blacken her teeth; more significantly—unlike ``the Perfect Lady'' next door, who collects butterflies and flowers—she's fascinated by small creatures like insects and frogs. Read full book review >