Poet-activist Useni Eugene Perkins and Coretta Scott King Honor winner Laura Freeman team up to share the story of Ghana’s independence
NJ) September 9, 2021 – Continuing its focus on stories that celebrate freedom,
leading independent children’s book publisher Just Us Books will publish Kwame Nkrumah's Midnight Speech for
Independence by Useni
Eugene Perkins, illustrated by Laura Freeman. The picture book will be released
in hardcover on Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday, September 21.
With prose by renowned poet-activist Perkins and illustrations by Coretta Scott King Honor winner Freeman, Kwame Nkrumah’s Midnight Speech for Independence captures the magic of the night Ghana was declared a free nation and shares the remarkable life of Kwame Nkrumah — one of Africa’s most celebrated leaders.Kwame Nkrumah's Midnight Speech for Independence follows the spring 2021 publication of Papa’s Free Day Party another freedom story published by Just Us Books. Written by Marilyn Nelson and illustrated by Wayne Anthony Still, it centers on the author’s grandfather, who escaped racist attacks as a child and went on to build a new life in the all-Black town of Boley, Oklahoma. This fall, Just Us Books is also collaborating with Crown Books for Young Readers to release Recognize: An Anthology Honoring and Amplifying Black Life. Edited by Just Us Books founders Wade and Cheryl Hudson, it features award-winning Black authors and artists who’ve come together to create a moving collection that celebrates Black love, Black creativity, Black resistance, and Black life.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Kwame Nkrumah's Midnight Speech for Independence
Written by Useni Eugene Perkins, illustrated by Laura Freeman, published by Just Us Books
ISBN 978-0-940975-86-6, $17.99, hardcover, ages 4-8
On a humid March night in 1957, Kwame Nkrumah made history. While thousands of people cheered, including dignitaries from round the world, he announced his country's independence. After many years of British rule, Ghana, formerly the Gold Coast, became the first sub-Saharan African nation to break free from colonial rule.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Useni Eugene Perkins is a multi-faceted writer and activist who was a prominent voice in the Black Arts Movement. His writings for young people include Home is a Dirty Street: The Social Oppression of Black Children, Rise of the Phoenix: Voices from Chicago’s Black Struggle, 1960 to 1975 (Third World Press), Poetry from the Masters: Black Arts Movement (Just Us Books), and the celebrated picture book, Hey Black Child (Little Brown) illustrated by Bryan Collier. In 1999 he was inducted into the Gwendolyn Brooks Literary Hall of Fame. In 2003, Useni was featured in HistoryMakers.com, a digital archive dedicated to preserving histories of African Americans. He has travelled to Ghana many times and in 2007 was inducted into the Gefia Society in Akatsi, Volta Region, Ghana and installed as their Academic Development Chief under the stool name of Torgbui Perkins Agbale I. Learn more about Useni at https://Blackchildjournal.com
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
Laura Freeman is the award-winning illustrator of over 30 picture books for children including Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (Harper Collins), Kamala Harris Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes (Atheneaum) and Dream Builders: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon by Kelly Starling Lyons (Lee and Low Books). She also illustrated six titles in the I Love to series (Marimba Books). A graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, Laura has been awarded the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor and the NAACP Image Award for her work. She lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their two children. Visit her at https://LFreemanArt.com
ABOUT THE PUBLISHER
Just Us Books is an independent, Black-owned publisher of children’s books that celebrate the diversity of Black people, history, and culture. Founded in 1988 by husband-and-wife team, Wade and Cheryl Hudson, its titles range from board books for infants to novels for young adults and have helped the company win numerous awards for its contributions to publishing, including Small Business Pioneer of the Year and the Children’s Book Council Diversity Outstanding Achievement Award. In more than 32 years of operation, Just Us Books has become an institution in children’s publishing and remains one of the nation's few Black-owned presses. Just Us Books titles can be purchased wherever books are sold and through its web site: www.justusbooks.com
Connect with Just Us Books on social @JustUsBooks across platforms.
Digital review galleys of Kwame Nkrumah's Midnight Speech for Independence are available upon request. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org