Plans for the inaugural Floyd Cooper Day are shifting into high gear, as the Children’s Book Council finalizes programming details. Scheduled for Friday, May 6—the final day of 2022 Children’s Book Week—the event honoring the late author-illustrator known for his storytelling focused on African American experiences has expanded since its inception. What began as a grassroots effort, orchestrated by several authors and industry organizations, has since turned into a celebration featuring nearly a dozen videos of special guests reading aloud from Cooper’s books, a themed display contest, and promotions from both publishers and a national nonprofit dedicated to the love of reading.

“I’ve never been involved in a more spontaneous, organic, and passionate celebration than Floyd Cooper Day,” said Carl Lennertz, executive director of the Children’s Book Council. “Ever since his many friends got together late last year to produce a very moving tribute to Floyd and asked the CBC to consider a day of celebration, we’ve been on a wonderful rollercoaster of joy and emotion.”

Below are highlights of the first annual Floyd Cooper Day.

Video Readings, Tributes Galore. KidLit TV is producing 11 videos that showcasie authors reading aloud from Cooper’s works and will be launched the week before the event. They include:

  • Crystal Allen reads from Juneteenth for Mazie
  • Tameka Fryer Brown and Judy Allen Dodson read from Blacker the Berry
  • Patricia Gauch reads from Be Good to Eddie Lee
  • Nikki Grimes reads from Danitra Brown Leaves Town
  • Leah Henderson reads from A Day for Rememberin’
  • Cheryl Willis Hudson and Wade Hudson read from These Hands
  • Sharon Langley reads from A Ride to Remember
  • Torrey Maldonado reads from Where’s Rodney?
  • Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich reads from Sisters and Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams
  • Charles Smith reads from Brick by Brick
  • Don Tate reads from Back of the Bus

Allen’s video will be filmed on the front lawn of 1859 Ashton Villa, a historic hotel in Galveston, Tex., 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.”

In addition, a special blog post from Patricia Gauch, Floyd’s first editor, will be posted on the CBC website and linked to the page dedicated to Floyd Cooper Day.

Hello, Dolly! The Dollywood Foundation’s Imagination Library, a nationwide book gifting 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 Tag-Along Moon, and conclude with an In Memoriam for Floyd. The organization will feature a related blog post on its website and promote the event on social media using the #FloydCooperDay hashtag.

Display Winners Aplenty. Among the teachers, librarians, and booksellers who created themed displays of Cooper’s books, 25 recipients will be awarded a selection of his titles valued at $100 apiece. Educators will also have access to a complete bibliography and online teachers’ guides to support their readings.

Librarians, Bookseller Support. Several events will be held on May 6 at bookstores and libraries across the country:

Kelly Starling Lyons, co-founder of The Brown Bookshelf, will be reading three of Floyd’s books at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, N.C., at 11 a.m.

Tameka Fryer Brown will host a storytime at Main Street Books in Davidson, N.C., at 11 a.m.

The Everett Children’s Adventure Garden in the New York Botanical Garden will host a Where’s Rodney? story trail (arranged by the Yosemite Conservancy) through May.

Nikki Grimes, one of the readers for 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 that day, Grimes and author Traci Sorell will read from 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 his titles.

In addition, will feature five of Floyd’s books during Children’s Book Week: Max and the Tag-Along Moon, Juneteenth for Mazie, Brick by Brick, A Day for Rememberin’, and Unspeakable.

“We are profoundly 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,” Lennertz said. “The work to record the videos, KidLit TV’s production magic, a display contest, complete bibliography and online teachers’ guides, store and library events, the Dollywood Foundation participation and a full-out CBC and publisher social media campaign during Book Week (#FloydCooperDay) has all come together beautifully.”