Since February is Black History Month, I thought I’d write about an award-winning black author and illustrator. When I started working for the Eastern Oklahoma Library System (EOLS) in 1999, I worked at the Muskogee Library in the children’s department. We had a volunteer at the time named Ramona Cooper. As we were putting books away one day, she told me that her son had illustrated the book she was holding. Her son was Floyd Cooper, the author and illustrator of many children’s picture books.
Floyd was born and raised in Tulsa where he started sketching on the sides of his house when he was 3 years old. He used his artistic talents to make friends as he grew up and eventually earned a full scholarship to the University of Oklahoma. Floyd began his career at Hallmark designing greeting cards, but eventually moved to New York and began illustrating children’s books. According to Publisher’s Weekly, her first book was Eloise Greenfield’s “Grandpa’s Face” (Philomel, 1988). That same year, he published “The Story of Jackie Robinson, Bravest Man in Baseball” by Margaret Davidson (Dell, 1988).
According to Publisher’s Weekly, “In 1994, Cooper first wrote and illustrated an illustrated text, ‘Coming Home: From the Life of Langston Hughes’ (Philomel) and more recently, ‘Juneteenth for Mazie.’ Floyd has also illustrated numerous non-fiction biographies during his career, including Nelson Mandela and Louis Armstrong. One of his most recent books was “Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre” by Carol Boston Weatherford. According to Publisher’s Weekly, “he said that he had drawn on his grandfather’s memories of the tragic event to inform his illustrations”.
Sadly, Floyd Cooper passed away in July 2021, but his work will continue to be loved by many. We have several books from Floyd Cooper to the “Q” and many more throughout the EOLS.
See you soon, at the “Q!”
If you are going to
WHAT: QB Boydstun Library.
WHERE: 201 E. South Ave.
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
INFORMATION: (918) 478-3587 or www.eodls.org.