Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre from Carolrhoda Books® Named a 2021 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book

MINNEAPOLIS, MN—Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre , published by Carolrhoda Books®, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group™, by celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and acclaimed illustrator Floyd Cooper has been named a 2021 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book. Previously, Unspeakable was also longlisted for the National Book Awards, named a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Nonfiction Honor Book, and was a finalist for the 2021 Kirkus Prize.

Released in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre and with six starred reviews, Unspeakable tells the story of a thriving African American community. The Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, had its own school system, libraries, churches, restaurants, post office, movie theaters, and more. But all that would change in the course of two terrible, unspeakable days.

On May 31 and June 1, 1921, a mob of armed white Tulsans attacked Greenwood. They looted homes and businesses and burned them to the ground as Black families fled. The police did nothing to protect Greenwood, and as many as three hundred African Americans were killed. More than eight thousand were left homeless. News of the Tulsa Race Massacre—one of the worst incidents of racial violence in US history—was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years.

“To know that Cooper’s own grandfather was a member of that community, and passed down stories about the day, adds yet more dimension to the profound emotion this book elicits. Small wonder that Cooper’s exquisitely rendered faces are masterpieces of empathy. Bold in design, subtle in color, Unspeakable is Cooper’s last book; he died in July.” —The New York Times

For more information, videos from the author and illustrator, and a free educator’s guide for Unspeakable visit https://lernerbooks.com/unspeakable.

Praise for Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre:

“All collections should consider this title’s value in providing historical context to current conversations about racism.” —starred, School Library Journal

“A somber, well-executed addition to the history.” —starred, Kirkus Reviews

“[A] must-have for those seeking the painful and complete truth.”—starred, Booklist

“[S]ucceeds in teaching the tragedy of the Tulsa Race Massacre and the legacy of Black Wall Street.”—starred, Publishers Weekly

“[Implores] the reader to remember [this] story.”—starred, The Horn Book Magazine

“Unspeakable deserves to be read by every student of American history.” —starred, BookPage

About the Author
Carole Boston Weatherford is the author of numerous books, including Caldecott Honor winners Freedom in Congo Square, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, illustrated by Ekua Holmes, and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. A Sibert Honor winner and two-time NAACP Image Award recipient, she won a Newbery Honor for Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom, illustrated by Michele Wood. Her writing spans the slavery and segregation eras and covers such topics as jazz and photography. When she’s not traveling or visiting museums, Carole is mining the past for family stories, fading traditions, and forgotten struggles. The daughter of educators, she has a passion for rescuing events and figures from obscurity by documenting American history. She lives in North Carolina.

About the Illustrator
Floyd Cooper (1956-2021) received a Coretta Scott King Award for his illustrations for The Blacker the Berry and won Coretta Scott King honors for Brown Honey in Broom Wheat Tea, Meet Danitra Brown, and I Have Heard of a Land. He illustrated numerous books, including Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey. Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he first heard about the Tulsa Race Massacre from his grandfather, who survived it as a young man. Floyd is survived by his wife and two sons in their home in Easton, Pennsylvania.

About the Publisher
Carolrhoda Books ®, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group, has been publishing high-quality, award-winning books since 1969. Our picture books spark children’s imaginations and offer new ways of looking at the world. Our middle-grade books stand out not only for their quality, but also for the breadth of genres encompassed, from coming-of-age stories to exceptional nonfiction to mysteries. Carolrhoda authors and illustrators have been honored with awards such as the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal, and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. We believe that all children should be able to find themselves in the pages of a book.

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre
Available Now
$17.99 Hardcover, Jacketed
$30.65 eBook
Ages 8–12
HC: 978-1-5415-8120-3
EB: 978-1-72841-738-7
32 Pages ● 9 ¼ x 11

To Purchase: Visit your local bookstore, order by phone at 800-328-4929, or visit us at lernerbooks.com.

Media contact:
Lindsay Matvick
Publicity Manager
800-328-4929, x385

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