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Floyd Cooper

Biography

Floyd Cooper

At age three, Floyd Cooper began drawing on pieces of plasterboard left over from his father's work as a builder. He drew constantly after that, even on his math and reading worksheets in school! After getting his college degree in fine art, Cooper got a job creating art for a greeting card company. But he dreamed of being an illustrator in New York City, and, with the encouragement of the artist Mark English, he moved there. After some rejections, he got a book manuscript to illustrate. Only later did Cooper find out that the book, GRANDPA'S FACE, was written by Eloise Greenfield, a well-known children's writer. Cooper's illustrations for the book brought him a lot of attention, and his career has continued to grow ever since.

The technique Cooper uses is called oil wash on board. He paints an illustration board with oil paint, and then he does something unusual. With a stretchy eraser, he erases the paint to make a picture! He calls this method of painting a "subtractive process." He likes to demonstrate this technique for kids to show them "that there can be different approaches to age-old problems."

Floyd Cooper

Books by Floyd Cooper

by Floyd Cooper - Children's 3-7, Family Life, Fiction, Marriage
Jackson’s mama is getting married, and he gets to be the ring bearer. But Jackson is worried...What if he trips? Or walks too slowly? Or drops the rings? And what about his new stepsister, Sophie? She’s supposed to be the flower girl, but Jackson’s not sure she’s taking her job as seriously as she should.
In a celebration of blended families, this heartwarming story is a perfect gift for any child who's nervous to walk down the aisle at a wedding, and shows kids that they can handle life’s big changes.
by Walter Dean Myers and Floyd Cooper - Biography, Children's 4-8, History

Frederick Douglass was a self-educated slave in the South who grew up to become an icon. He was a leader of the abolitionist movement, a celebrated writer, an esteemed speaker, and a social reformer, proving that, as he said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

by Anne Rockwell and Floyd Cooper - Children's 7-10, History, Nonfiction

Told for the first time in picture book form is the true story of James Lafayette, a slave who spied for George Washington's army during the American Revolution. But while America celebrated its newfound freedom, James returned to slavery. His service hadn't qualified him for the release he'd been hoping for. For James the fight wasn't over; he'd already helped his country gain its freedom, now it was time to win his own.

written by Glenda Armand with illustrations by Floyd Cooper - Inspirational, Nonfiction

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. 

written by Kristy Dempsey with illustrations by Floyd Cooper - Children's
Little ballerinas have big dreams. But in Harlem in the 1950s, dreams don’t always come true --- they take a lot of work and a lot of hope. And sometimes hope is hard to come by. But the first African-American prima ballerina, Janet Collins, did make her dreams come true. Those dreams inspired ballerinas everywhere and showed them that skin color can’t stop them from becoming a star.
Written by Charles R. Smith Jr. , Illustrated by Floyd Cooper - African American Interest, Children's Nonfiction, History

Many hands had to work together to build the White House. This powerful story tells the story of the slaves remembered for the extraordinary feat of building one of the most notable buildings in the United States. 

Written by Joyce Carol Thomas, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper - Children's, Children's Nonfiction, History

In 1948, Joyce Carol Thomas's family left Oklahoma to move to California. This is the true story of that trip and the excitement, hope, and promise that went with it.