We have known Tom since before he and Phillip Lee founded their independent children’s press in 1991. Both Tom and Phil came to visit Just Us Books’ office in East Orange, NJ to share their vision and to get feedback about the industry. Soon after, they hit the ground running, becoming one of the first independent multicultural children’s publishers in the industry.
Over the years, as our two presses grew, and in many ways helped to shake up the children’s industry, we stayed in contact with each other. We encouraged each other and continued to share information about the industry. At conferences, our two companies were often among a handful whose sole purpose was publishing books that recognized our country’s and our world’s diversity, those who were overlooked and or marginalized. Sometimes, we would chat at each other’s booths when we should have been at our own, conducting business.
We will always remember Tom’s positive attitude and his unfailing belief that he and Phil could build Lee & Low Books into a publishing giant. Indeed, they did.
When our anthology We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices launched, Tom sent an email of congratulation and encouraged us to continue our important work. He had retired by then. But he still cared deeply.
Tom Low was one of the pioneers in the push for diversity, inclusion and equity in children’s book publishing. His legacy will live on as the publishing company that he and Phillip Lee founded, Lee & Low Books, continues to discover new voices, tackle new topics, give opportunities to writers and illustrators, and produce so many wonderful books that all of our young people need.
We will remember his laugh, his sense of humor, and friendship and his trailblazing work.
Thank you, Tom! We salute you!
Wade & Cheryl Hudson