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Candy J. Cooper is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting. She has been a staff writer for four newspapers, including The Detroit Free Press and the San Francisco Examiner. Her work has appeared in the The New York Times, The Columbia Journalism Review and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications. She has written several nonfiction series books for the classroom for Scholastic, and her essay on stepfamilies is part of an anthology, My Father Married Your Mother: Dispatches from the Blended Family, published by W. W. Norton.

Cooper author photo by Kate Albright.jpg



The Coronavirus is Flint, Writ Large | Opinion

"If Flint, as one resident said, has served as the canary in this country's coal mine, then we must hearts loud cry -- before we are all poisoned."

Additional Reviews

Latest Flint book, “Poisoned Water” belongs in classrooms, libraries all over America

"In chapter after chapter, Cooper’s crisp imagery that borders on brilliance at times, her translation of complex water chemistry for common folk, the continuing introduction of bureaucratic villains and citizen-superheroes, and the narrative’s spotlight repeatedly shining on Flint’s children victims makes Poisoned Water a book for all ages. A copy of this book should be available in libraries and classrooms all over America.” Full review:

-East Village Magazine, Flint, MI.




"This striking account of the Flint, Michigan, water crisis shows how systemic racism disproportionately impacts the health of marginalized citizens." Full Review

-American Library Association Notable Childrens Book, 2021

"Racism and poverty suffuse a potent blend of personal stories that show how citizen complaints are met with incompetence, indifference and inaction; how government fails; how sampling and evidence are discounted; how activists ultimately prevail; and how kindness manages to shine through.”

- San Francisco Chronicle




"These kinds of systemic injustices are extremely well researched, allowing the reader to grasp the complexities of this crisis as more than just an environmental crisis, but one born out of many layers of structural violence, systemic racism, and income inequality. For these reasons, this book comes highly recommended."

-Social Justice Books




"And boy, what a book! A nonfiction accounting of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan is both well-written and cringe-worthy. The multiple failures that maintained the secrecy and then the continued ignorance of the problem is explained in great detail by highlighting the citizen activists who took charge of holding people accountable. Poisoned Water gets the prize for encompassing all aspects of the story for a teen audience which includes STEM and citizenship, advocacy and politics. And Cooper also includes well-placed pictures to show how the water affected the skin simply from using the water to bathe but also showing what the brown liquid looked like in a bottle that would be unsuitable for drinking."

-Readers Be Advised, Oustanding Book of the Month




Really thorough look at the crisis. Examines the history of Flint to put the tragedy in context. Full of quotes and pictures, and many voices of young people, readers will leave this book understanding more about environmental racism and justice. Be ready to be infuriated.

-Teen Librarian Toolbox 




"The story is a wonder of reportage – fast paced, suspenseful, richly drawn characters...For the young adult audience or the time pressed adults, “Poisoned Waters” is a purely engrossing book. You will leave the book feeling inspired by the story’s heroes and empowered to benefit your own community. I highly recommend it."

- Miesha Wilson Headen, Goodreads




"All right people, listen to me about this book. This needs to be read by every person in the nation, handed to every teen and talked about at every school and across every dinner table…. It is also a compelling account, as impossible to put down as a thriller and twice as horrifying because it actually happened to real people who are still suffering today.”

- Lynne Rutan, Goodreads




"Wow, a crushing, rage-inducing book about a city that utterly failed its citizens. Heart-filled, gripping and thorough, this book not only documents how money managers poisoned the water and hid the results, but it also shows the strength of the people of Flint...An excellent read."

- Jeanette, Goodreads

Teaching Tools 

Miami Book Fair Q+A 

Poisoned Water: How the Citizens of Flint, Michigan, Fought for Their Lives and Warned the Nation

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