Celebrate Floyd Cooper Day on May 6

Floyd Cooper will be honored at the first annual Floyd Cooper Day on May 6 as part of Children’s Book Week. Teachers, librarians, and booksellers are encouraged to hold readings and put up displays of his books.

In addition, Every Child a Reader and KidLit TV will will post ten 5-9 minute videos of authors reading from Floyd’s books on April 25. Teachers, librarians and booksellers can browse the list and see which ones they want to show in class that week or at reading hours that weekend.

Floyd Cooper Day is sponsored by friends of Floyd Cooper, The Brown Bookshelf, the Highlights Foundation, The African American Children’s Book Projectthe Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader.

To learn more about Floyd Cooper Day and view a full list of Floyd Cooper’s titles, click here.

Lee & Low Titles Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Ira’s Shakespeare Dream by Glenda Armand; Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Ira Aldridge dreamed of being on stage one day performing the great works of William Shakespeare. He spent every chance he got at the local theaters, memorizing each actor’s lines for all of Shakespeare’s plays. Ira just knew he could be a great Shakespearean actor if only given the chance. But in the early 1800s, only white actors were allowed to perform Shakespeare. Ira’s only option was to perform musical numbers at the all-black theater in New York city.

Despite being discouraged by his teacher and father, Ira determinedly pursued his dream and set off to England, the land of Shakespeare. There, Ira honed his acting skills and eventually performed at the acclaimed Theatre Royal Haymarket. Through perseverance and determination, Ira became one of the most celebrated Shakespearean actors throughout Europe.

The Story of Trailblazing Actor Ira Aldridge by Glenda Armand; Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Based on the life of Ira Aldridge as told in Ira’s Shakespeare Dream, this chapter-book biography is part of the innovative “Story” series. Ira was an African American actor considered one of the greatest Shakespearean performers of the nineteenth century, and an outspoken advocate for the abolitionist movement in the United States.

About Floyd Cooper

Floyd Cooper, a celebrated children’s book illustrator who explored the African American experience in stories rooted in history, died on July 15, 2021, but his memory and legacy live one.  Over 30 years, he illustrated children’s stories that not only carried his earthy and golden pastel impressions of Black life, but that also strived to recount chapters of African American history that he felt weren’t taught enough in classrooms. He saw humanity in every subject, in people of all ages.