Nakai and the Red Shoes
Cooper's first novel is an easy-to-read, seriously fun, coming-of-age history mystery set in the Civil Rights Era south. He wrote 77 Jackson Street Rear for adolescent males, but it is an engaging read for anyone of almost every age.
The adventure plays out in and around Montgomery, Alabama at the beginning of the 1955 bus boycott. In the opening chapters, 12-year-old hero Denmark
and his portly best friend Odi have
been kidnapped for ransom by three
men who think they are the sons of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
From the action-packed opening the
story plays out through brushes with the “Klu-Kluckers”, Denmark'’s search for
his estranged father and concern for the
health of his beloved grandmother;
and growing up lessons in camaraderie.
"I had the kind of childhood that gave
me a lot of material, in terms of the
things that we did and saw. I figured I had enough to write a children's book," the late Cooper said.
Snappy dialogue, endearing characters and a savvy plot line convey with wry humor both the brutal reality of life in
the Jim Crow South and the levity necessary to survive the Jim Crow life.
“ I tried to make it plausible. I figured I would build the story around the life of kids at that time. I hope that it will inspire kids to read more and get the connection that kids had a part in the whole Civil Rights Movement.'”
The Artist as Author
"I hope that it will inspire kids to read more and get the connection that kids had a part in the whole Civil Rights Movement.'”
77 Jackson Street Rear
The Mopane Tree is a saga of love and intrigue. An American finds love in
West Africa with a breath-taking
Ghanaian woman who, unknown to him, is involved in a deeply dangerous smuggling game. With one foot in Washington, DC, and the other on the paradise island of Goree, Lt. Reynolds spreads his tentacles to Goree to harass and charge Joel with the murder of his wife, Lylie, in the States. .
The Mopane Tree
As a painter, Cooper fills broad canvasses with richly colored, intricately constructed imagery of the African in America experience. With the pen as his brush, he creates the same vivid portrait.
Nakai is a bright, curious and ambitious nine-year-old girl who lives with her parents in Labadi, a small village in Ghana, West Africa. She has never owned a pair of real shoes beyond the makeshift ones her father crafts for her at the start
of the school year.
One day, while selling her mother’s nut bread at the market to help support her family, she finds a surprising treasure that inspires a quest: a Sears catalog from the United States. She is absolutely mesmerized by the American fashions -- especially a dazzling
pair of red shoes.
Undaunted by her parents, who
sadly admit that they cannot afford
to buy the shoes for her, Nakai becomes more determined than
ever to solve her problem. She quickly decides to find a way to
buy them for herself. With the
help of her independent-minded
pet goat, Bongo, she embarks
on a series of adventures and
plans -- some more successful
than others -- to raise the money
she needs to buy her very first
pair of shoes.