Carole Boston Weatherford and the Story of Unspeakable

The new picture book from celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and the award-winning illustrator Floyd Cooper, Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre, comes to bookshelves everywhere on February 2nd.

Keep scrolling to watch Carole Boston Weatherford discuss the socio-emotional importance of telling stories like Unspeakable, and mark the calendar with her upcoming events!

With the coming of Black History Month, Unspeakable pays tribute to the untold story of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa’s Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred when a white mob attacked the Black community.

News of what happened was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years. This picture book sensitively introduces young readers to this tragedy and concludes with a call for a better future. This story must be told, and here is author Carole Boston Weatherford to tell us why!


Don’t miss the opportunity to hear Carole speak again. She’ll be appearing at several virtual events over the next few weeks including:

The Reading and Writing Project: Black History IS American History: Grades K-9

  • Authors like Arlène Casimir, Sonja Cherry-Paul, Kekla Magoon, and Carole Boston Weatherford gather to “demonstrate how to break the cycle of relying upon reassuring narratives and instead, lean into the unsettling truths about race and racism in America that children are demanding and that help us to forge an antiracist future.”
  • January 30th, 11am – 5:30pm EST

The African American Children’s Book Fair

  • This is the 29th annual AACBP book fair, making it one of the oldest and largest single-day events for children’s books in the United States.
  • February 6th, 11am-4pm UTC

The Ivy Bookstore – Baltimore, MD virtual visit

  • February 13th, 11:00-12:00PM EST

Community Book Center – New Orleans, LA

  • February 13th, 2:00-3:00PM CST

Multicultural Children’s Bookstore – Richmond/San Francisco, CA virtual visit

  • February 20th, 3:00-4:00PM EST

The Dock Bookshop – Fort Worth/Dallas, TX virtual visit

  • FEBRUARY 27th, time TBD

The Frugal Bookstore virtual visit!

Spread from Unspeakable

Praise for Unspeakable

★”Ideal for classroom libraries and a deeper study of American history, this title is a must-have for those seeking the painful and complete truth.”—starred, Booklist

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

★”A somber, well-executed addition to the history as the incident approaches its 100th anniversary.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

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

★”This moving account sheds light on shameful events long suppressed or ignored. All collections should consider this title’s value in providing historical context to current conversations about racism and America’s ongoing legacy of white supremacy.”—starred, School Library Journal

★”Far from romanticizing history, Weatherford is equally descriptive in explaining how a false accusation of assault brought simmering racial tensions to a violent end . . . Cooper’s illustrations (‘oil and erasure’) are the perfect partner to this history, the sepia-toned images resembling historical photographs. The portraits of Black residents are particularly moving, seeming to break the fourth wall to implore the reader to remember their story.”—starred, The Horn Book Magazine

Upcoming Teaching Guide!

The Unspeakable teaching guide was developed by Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul—educator, author, co-founder of the Institute for Racial Equity in Literacy, and director of diversity and equity at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. Sign up here to receive a link to the teaching guide when it is available.

More Resources and Reading

  • Betsy Bird of A Fuse #8 Production interviews Carole Weatherford and Floyd Cooper here.
  • For a Q&A with Carole Boston Weatherford’s about the book, visit this blog post.
  • For more about Unspeakable and illustrator Floyd Cooper’s family connection to the Tulsa Race Massacre, check out the cover reveal at The Brown Bookshelf.
  • Read more about the editorial journey of Unspeakable with Associate Publisher Carol Hinz in this blog post.
  • And don’t miss this in depth look at Unspeakable from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast!

Click here for more posts featuring Lerner authors and illustrators!

Leave a Reply