Cover Image: Unspeakable

Unspeakable

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Member Reviews

"Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Floyd Cooper provide a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation's history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa's Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 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."

"Once upon a time..." there was a book that perfectly encapsulated the mystery of the Tulsa Race Riot / Tulsa Massacre. This book clearly explains the devastation of 1921 to children and those adults whose educational system failed them (which seems to be a lot of us.). The book is detailed enough to paint a vivid picture without explicit destruction and the lyricism of the phrase "Once upon a time" creates the sensation of starting a fairy tale while inviting you to learn more and look deeper.
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I received an electronic ARC from Lerner Publishing Group through NetGalley.
Powerful text about the Greenwood massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Boston Weatherford guides readers through the build up of the city and what businesses were there. Black Wall Street was a thriving community where Black business owners and community members were thriving. Unfortunately, others in Tulsa felt threatened by this success so used an excuse to come in and destroy the community in 1921. The resulting destruction has been covered up for many years but recently has come to light. Informative text is included in the author and illustrator notes at the end of the book.
The illustrations bring the city to life and capture the danger involved in this attack. Told so elementary level readers can understand this part of US history.
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Masterfully written and illustrated to show layers of American history that are universally known.  This book explains the Tulsa Race Massacre of the 1920s. It's illustrations' focus on the qualities and emotions that all people have and really invite the reader into this historical moment.  Honest and thought provoking for all.
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Powerful sharing of the violent Tulsa Race massacre that occurred seventy five years ago. Written by award-winning Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Floyd Cooper tells the violent history of 1921 Tulsa in American history that some tried to erase.
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Beautifully illustrated, and told in a simple, concise way that is perfectly suitably for young readers, yet strong and effective for all to fully comprehend and understand the importance of this sad story with a full heart. Thank you for allowing me to read and review this wonderful book.
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I read this book through NetGalley. It is so beautifully written and heartbreaking in its brutal honesty. Like many, I never knew about Black Wall Street or the massacre that happened there, worse still I was not shocked when I did learn of it. Racism is so entrenched in American culture, I knew why it happened, but I will never understand it. I am working to fill the gaps my privilege has given me, and this book is a spectacular example of helping others learn the whole history of our country.
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Beautifully written and illustrated, "Unspeakable" tells the story of the Greenwood community in Tulsa, and the massacre that occurred there in 1921.

Both the writing and illustrations deftly present the history and beauty of this community, also known as "Black Wall street," and the events that led up to this little talked about event in history. Weatherford conveys the history of Greenwood, as well as the atrocities of that day in 1921 and the aftermath in a way readers can connect with and understand no matter their age. The back matter gives further information, history, and personal connections for the author and illustrator. I highly recommend this title for all school and public libraries.

Thank you Netgalley and Carolrhoda Books for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Essential reading! This book should be in every public and school library. A great job sharing this history in a child appropriate way. I can't imagine the difficult task of sharing this horrific history and still have it readable by children. Great job.
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A book for young readers that presents a horrific event in U.S. history in a sensitive but striking way. Dreamy illustrations teach us about something we wish had only been a dream. The descriptive text and touching facial illustrations allow children to connect with the then Black residents of Tulsa and to understand the event in an age appropriate (8-10 years old), non graphic manner.

Disturbingly, racism is still alive and kicking almost 100 years since The Tulsa Race Massacre but books like Unspeakable give me hope for a better future. I’m pleased to see children being educated about this atrocity through this book and, I can only hope, by their teachers and parents, as well. A must have book for school classrooms and libraries as I highly doubt textbooks include mention of this event. 

Thank you to Carole Boston Weatherford, Floyd Cooper, Lerner Publishing Group, Carolrhoda Books, and #NetGallery for an ARC of #Unspeakable in return for an honest review. Review will be posted on NetGallery, Goodreads, and Facebook.
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2021 will be the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.  That was an event I never learned about in school.  Weatherford and Cooper's book fill a needed gap.  Weatherford's poetic text and Cooper's evocative pictures make the history come to life.  I do wish the book had included some source notes (beyond the creators' own stories of connections with the event, which were fascinating to read in the end notes.)  I also wish it had suggestions of where readers could go to learn more.  Until a book with these features comes along, I definitely recommend this book to introduce the event and provoke discussion with middle grade readers.
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This is a powerful book in which the words and story match the illustrations using up close images of faces and hands as well as movement in ways that immerse readers in this tragic two-day massacre.

It's made more real by the discovery (mentioned in July 2020 that they hadn't found any of the mass graves yet) of some of the mass graves just a few weeks ago to bring to light what occurred in Oklahoma. Whites living on one side of the railroad tracks were angered by the prosperity of Black's on the other side of town and after one small incident between two people, it became a massacre in which the entire town was obliterated by anger (fire, destruction, and murder).

As mentioned the pairing of the gentle and equally painful artwork with the lilting storytelling is breathtaking and puts the reflection on the reader about the tragedy with obvious comparisons to what's happening in 2020.
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This was a beautifully illustrated book about the Tulsa Race Massacre. I didn’t even hear about these events until a couple of years ago when I read the book “Dreamland Burning.” This book is a great way to introduce my kids to these events and teach them accurate history.
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Absolutely powerful and beautiful and mind-blowing.  We SO needed a book for kiddos about the race massacre and gosh, I couldn't think of a better team than Carole Boston Weatherford and Floyd Cooper.  Geniuses!  The images are simply heart-breaking.
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A moving and informative account of the Tulsa Race Massacre. A picture book that is important, timely, and heartbreaking. Carole Boston Weatherford's narrative and Floyd Cooper's wonderful illustrations bring this disturbing and overlooked incident in American history to life.
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This beautifully illustrated story tries to do many things for the size and length of the story. It tells the story of Greenwood, the Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It shows that this is not an isolated event through its minimal discussion of the alleged assault and its explanation of the black community's response to protect the accused. It tells of the importance of remembering what is forgotten and the importance of memorials. 

I appreciate that it focused on the story of the black community as a whole rather than the imposed narrative of a crime against a white woman. By putting the elevator ride in its proper context, there is not the need of parsing innocence and guilt (if he steps on her toe, then it is legally assault) and instead reveals the tensions in the community, and by extension, the country. It also does important work talking about memorialization and its importance. There are so many conversations this could start! And that's one thing that good children's literature can do. This is a good learning tool, but is a better springboard.
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This book is beautifully done and thoughtfully presented. The backmatter provides further context, but the horror of what was done in Tulsa is explained in a way that is certainly appropriate for elementary school students learning about the history of the US. The illustrations are beautiful.

This history is unspeakable. Except it is our duty to remember and reflect on what happened. This is a book that will absolutely be finding a place in my classroom library.
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This stunning picture book is filled with incredible illustrations and address a horrific event in Oklahoma history in a way that is appropriate for elementary students. While this picture book targets upper elementary, this is a must have book for every school library, no matter the grade levels. Weatherford examines the atrocities of the Tulsa Race Massacre in a context that allows readers to understand and access the fear and tragedy surrounding the event and looks at how the city has begun to heal and work toward reconciliation 100 years later. Highly recommend for all school and public libraries.
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Unspeakable is one of those books that every child should have in their local library. This very important picture book gives readers a look at a historical event that has not been widely taught until recently, and even with its adoption into certain school curriculums, not every student will hear about it. 

This book is about the Tulsa Race Massacre, NOT riot. The book's backmatter provides reasoning for calling it a massacre as opposed to a riot. In 1921, Greenwood, Oklahoma seemed like an idyllic place to live. It was the wealthiest black community in the country, and was known as "Black Wall Street". Unfortunately, this picturesque community was shattered by a single incident involving a 19-year-old man and a 17-year-old woman. Claims that he had assaulted her were spread through the community. While the book does not go into some of the more intense accounts that have been given this book really touches on how the Black community was not supported by their local law enforcement and shows the terror and destruction that was allowed to reign down on Greenwood.

This book does not shy away from what happened during the massacre, and it mentions the devastation in an accessible way for kids. I believe that this book will be an important tool in facilitating discussions with young children about race. 

The illustrations in this book are amazing, and they alone could tell the story, it's no wonder the illustrator has received such high honors in the children's book world. 

I hope to see this on many ALA and State Book Award lists in 2021!
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Text and illustrations join together seamlessly to introduce the youngest readers to the Tulsa Race Riots, but do it in such a way that all readers— middle school, high school— will connect with this too-long-overlooked event in our country’s history. The Author’s Note and Illustrator’s Note at the end fill in details and allow readers to see why this recounting is so personal to both of them.
Highly recommended.

Thank you, Carolrhoda Books and NetGalley, for the electronic ARC.
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The illustrations in this book were beautiful and it covered a topic that is not visited often. I found the writing a little choppy and felt like it skimmed over some important parts. (I wish more time had been spent on the shoeshine’s innocence - it was a detail that I felt was easily missed in this book.) Still a valuable book for the classroom!
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