Plans for the first Floyd Cooper day are kicking into high gear, as the Children’s Book Council finalizes programming details. Scheduled for Friday, May 6, the last day of Children’s Book Week 2022, the event honoring the late author-illustrator known for his storytelling focused on African-American experiences has expanded since its inception. What started as a grassroots effort, orchestrated by multiple authors and industry organizations, has since blossomed into a celebration with nearly a dozen videos of special guests reading aloud from Cooper’s books, a themed poster contests and promotions from both publishers and a national nonprofit dedicated to the love of reading.
“I have never been part of a more spontaneous, organic and passionate celebration than Floyd Cooper Day,” said Carl Lennertz, executive director of the Children’s Book Council. “Since his many friends came together late last year to produce a very moving tribute to Floyd and asked CBC to consider a day of celebration, we’ve been on a wonderful rollercoaster of joy and doom. ’emotion.”
Below are highlights from the first annual Floyd Cooper Day.
Video readings, tributes galore. KidLit TV is producing 11 videos that feature authors reading Cooper’s works aloud and will be released the week before the event. They include:
- Crystal Allen reads from Juneteenth for Mazie
- Tameka Fryer Brown and Judy Allen Dodson read Blacker le Berry
- Patricia Gauch reads Be nice to Eddie Lee
- Nikki Grimes bed Danitra Brown is leaving town
- Leah Henderson reads A day to remember
- Cheryl Willis Hudson and Wade Hudson read from These hands
- Sharon Langley reads An unforgettable ride
- Torrey Maldonado bed Where’s Rodney?
- Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich bed of Sisters and Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams
- Charles Smith reads from Brick by brick
- Don Tate reads The back of the bus
Allen’s video will be filmed on the lawn of 1859 Ashton Villa, a historic hotel in Galveston, Texas, built by slaves. “The irony is that it was also on the second-floor balcony of this hotel that General Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3, freeing the slaves.”
Additionally, a special blog post by Patricia Gauch, Floyd’s first editor, will be posted on the CBC website and linked to the dedicated Floyd Cooper Day page.
Hello Dolly! The Dollywood Foundation’s Imagination Library, a national book donation program, will air a special encore presentation of its “Goodnight with Dolly” online series on May 6. This segment will include Dolly reading Cooper’s 2013 Picture Book. Max and the moon to follow, and ends with an In Memoriam for Floyd. The organization will post a related blog post on its website and promote the event on social media using the hashtag #FloydCooperDay.
Show winners galore. Among the teachers, librarians and booksellers who have created themed exhibits of Cooper’s books, 25 recipients will receive a selection of his titles valued at $100 each. Educators will also have access to a comprehensive bibliography and online teacher guides to support their readings.
Librarians, support for booksellers. Several events will take place on May 6 in bookstores and libraries across the country:
Kelly Starling Lyons, co-founder of The Brown Bookshelf, will read three of Floyd’s books at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina at 11 a.m.
Tameka Fryer Brown will host a story hour at Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina at 11 a.m.
The Everett Children’s Adventure Garden at the New York Botanical Garden will host a Where’s Rodney? history trail (organized by the Yosemite Conservancy) through May.
Nikki Grimes, one of the readers of the Floyd Cooper Read Aloud series, will accept the Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature at 6 p.m. in Tulsa, Okla. Earlier today, Grimes and author Traci Sorell will read some of Floyd’s books at the Tulsa City County Library at 3:30 p.m. Magic City Books, an independent bookstore owned by the Tulsa Literary Coalition, will be on hand to sell its securities.
Additionally, Bookshop.org will feature five of Floyd’s books during Children’s Book Week: Max and the moon to follow, Juneteenth for Mazie, Brick by brick, A day to rememberand Unspeakable.
“We are deeply grateful for the hours put in by the authors, illustrators and founders of The Brown Bookshelf, the African American Children’s Book Project, Just Us Books, the Highlights Foundation and the Dollywood Foundation,” said Lennertz. . “The work of recording the videos, the magic of producing KidLit TV, a poster contest, a comprehensive bibliography and online guides for teachers, events in stores and libraries, the participation of the Foundation Dollywood and a full CBC and publisher social media campaign during Book Week (#FloydCooperDay) came together beautifully.