Thank you, Mr. Floyd Cooper

This morning I woke up to the sound of rain.

I checked my email and all at once the rain became a symbol.

I read the Associated Press title twice: Children’s book illustrator Floyd Cooper, who painted positive images of Black History, dies at 65.

I was blessed to meet Mr. Cooper in Philadelphia at the African American children’s fair in 2019. After signing a couple of books for my class, he spoke very briefly about being an illustrator. I remember telling him about my students and the Nat King Cole lesson I was currently working on. He listened closely and even asked me to send him some of my work.

While we never got to work together, I am very happy I met such a wonderful individual who painted pictures of yesterday so our children of today could resonate with both worlds. I will keep his family in my prayers.

Ms. Tami Charles, Ms. Nikki Grimes and Mr. Floyd Cooper in 2019

Javaka Steptoe

A dear friend and mentor, Mr. Steptoe posing at the 25th African American Children’s book fair with his new book, Radiant Child: The Life and Story of Jean-Michel Basquiat, which is the winner of the 2017 Randolph Caldecott Medal and of the 2017 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.  

Congratulations Javaka!