Lerner Publishing Group Receives Caldecott Honor, Five Other American Library Association Youth Media Awards
UNSPEAKABLE BY CAROLE BOSTON WEATHERFORD AND ILLUSTRATED BY FLOYD COOPER NAMED A CALDECOTT HONOR BOOK, A SIBERT HONOR BOOK, AND IS THE WINNER OF THE CORETTA SCOTT KING BOOK AWARDS FOR AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR
WHERE I BELONG BY MARCIA ARGUETA MICKELSON NAMED A PURA BELPRÉ YOUNG ADULT AUTHOR HONOR BOOK
CLASSIFIED BY TRACI SORELL AND ILLUSTRATED BY NATASHA DONOVAN RECEIVES AN AMERICAN INDIAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION YOUTH LITERATURE AWARD HONOR
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Lerner Publishing Group has received six 2022 American Library Association (ALA) Youth Media Awards. The ALA announced virtually today that Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre is the recipient of a Caldecott Honor, a Sibert Honor, and is the winner of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards for Author and Illustrator. Where I Belong is the recipient of a Pura Belpré Honor and Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer is the recipient of an American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award (AIYLA) Honor.
Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre, written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper (1956-2021), and published in 2021 by Carolrhoda Books®, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group™, is the recipient of a Caldecott Honor, awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American picture Book for children. The book was also named a Robert F. Sibert Informational Honor Book, which is awarded to the author and illustrator of the most distinguished informational picture book for children published in the United States. In addition, Carole Boston Weatherford is the 2022 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Author Winner and Floyd Cooper is the 2022 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Illustrator Winner. The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are awarded annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.
Unspeakable illustrator Floyd Cooper passed away in July 2021. Although Floyd was honored with many awards and accolades throughout his career, this is his first Caldecott Honor, as well as the first Caldecott Honor for Lerner Publishing Group. Unspeakable was personal to Floyd as he brought the stories that his grandfather told him about the Greenwood District to life. As Floyd said, “Everything I knew about this tragedy came from Grandpa; not a single teacher at school ever spoke about it. . . Now the same way my grandpa told the story to us, I share it here with you.”
Released in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, Unspeakable tells the story of a thriving African American community that was destroyed by a mob of armed white Tulsans. 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. Unspeakable provides a sensitive and powerful introduction to the Tulsa Race Massacre, helping young readers understand the events of the past so we can move toward a better future for all.
Where I Belong, written by Marcia Argueta Mickelson and published in 2021 by Carolrhoda Lab®, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group™, is the recipient of a Pura Belpré Honor, which is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. Named one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Teen Books of 2021, Where I Belong introduces readers to Millie Vargas, an immigrant teen forced to fight for her family, her future, and the place she calls home. In a starred review, School Library Journal says Where I Belong is “[N]ot to be missed. There is truth on every page—about love, restraint, and integrity.”
Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer, written by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Natasha Donovan, and published in 2021 by Millbrook Press™, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group™, is a 2022 American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award Honor Picture Book. Awarded biennially, the AIYLA identifies and honors the very best writing and illustrations by Native Americans and Indigenous peoples of North America. Named an Orbis Pictus Honor Book and one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Children’s Books of 2021, Classified traces Ross’s journey from being the only girl in her high school math class to becoming an accomplished engineer and leader. With engrossing prose and striking illustrations, Classified showcases Cherokee values including education, working cooperatively, remaining humble, and helping ensure equal opportunity and education for all.
“We are thrilled to receive six ALA awards and honors in the same year,” said Adam Lerner, Publisher and CEO of Lerner Publishing Group. “Our commitment to diversity shines through with amazing stories and artwork from Marcia, Traci, Natasha and Carole. These awards are also bittersweet after Floyd’s passing. Even though Floyd left us too soon, we will be forever grateful for his artistic talents and the tremendous influence and impact he had on the children’s book industry. In our opinion, Unspeakable was the masterpiece that Floyd was born to create.”
On May 6, 2022, Lerner Publishing Group will celebrate Floyd Cooper Day along with the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader. The first annual event will be held during Children’s Book Week to honor Floyd’s inspiring and powerful work as an award-winning illustrator and author.
For free discussion guides and more information about Unspeakable, Where I Belong, and Classified visit lernerbooks.com.