Monday, January 4, 2021

New for the New Year

There’s a Maya Angelou quote we love. It reads: “This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” Like so many of her words, it’s a beautiful reminder. A reminder to practice gratitude, to see each new day as a gift — and that includes each new day we are blessed to continue our mission as a company.

We are grateful for the bright moments of 2020 (And there were many! Check out highlights in our video.) We’re grateful that Just Us Books weathered 2020’s challenges and continues to inspire readers through books that celebrate the richness of Black history and culture. We are grateful for almost 33 years in business and for each of you for your support.

We have lots to look forward to in 2021, including the April release of Papa’s Free Day Party, a picture book by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Wayne Anthony Still. This is a very special story, based on Marilyn’s family. You can read more in The Brown Bookshelf’s cover reveal article.

What are you grateful for as we enter this new year? No matter what’s on your gratitude list, we wish you more “wonderful days” in 2021 and beyond.

Coming April 2021. Available for pre-order

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Just Us Books Turns 32!!

Today marks the beginning of Just Us Books’ 32nd year in business!

32 years of centering and celebrating Black people, Black history and Black stories through children’s books. 

32 years of advocating for diversity in children’s publishing. 

32 years as a Black owned business. 

32 years of hard work. 

Thank you to our talented family of authors, illustrators, editors, designers, and staff who make our work possible. 

Thank you to our readers who remind us every day that our work is needed.

We continue!

Just Us Books
Good books make a difference

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Celebrating Our Scholars this Back to School Season

It’s BACK TO SCHOOL season! And though school may look different right now, it’s still important to celebrate our young scholars and the importance of learning. Here are a few titles from the Just Us Books list that do just that:

Meet Jamal – an energetic boy who shows how demanding and eventful his day is as a student.  Read more

Eight-year-old Carol Ann finds out how much ‘aloha’ means as she makes a place for herself at her new school.  Read more

The AFRO-BETS Kids have an exciting school project: to present what they want to be when they grow up! And they have a lot of Black leaders and achievers as examples .Read more

Being a teenager is tough enough. But imagine starting freshman year at a new high school that's not just in a new city, but a new country? That's life for 14-year-old Thandie, who just moved from Capetown, South Africa to Buena Vista, California. Read more

Friday, June 5, 2020

A Meditation for #KidLit4BlackLives

offered by Wade and Cheryl Hudson
authors and founders of Just Us Books
June 4, 2020

We lift up the Creator who made us all to be beautiful and safe.
But must witness that beauty and safety, assaulted, century by century, generation by generation, even day by day, by racism, hatred, insensitivity, intolerance and indifference.

We lift up our families, the village and the world community that
must fight to make sure that the inherent beauty in us all can flower and bless us all.

We lift up our children who are our hope and whose beauty gives life to all that is around them. So, we embrace and love the children!

We lift up the sanctity of all life, but especially Black life, Black bodies that have been, over centuries too long, trivialized, brutalized, monetized and destroyed simply because they are Black.

We lift up freedom and justice, for which our ancestors fought, and for which we must continuously pursue, without hesitation, without ceasing, until they are realized.

We lift up this call to action, the commitment needed to do the work to create a world where our beauty as human beings is valued and can spring forth and all of us can feel safe.

This call to action resounds across the ages in “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” the Black National Anthem.   

Lift ev’ry voice and sing, Till earth and Heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise, High as the list’ning skies,
let it resound loud as the Rolling sea.

Sing a song, full of the faith that the dark past has taught us;
Sing a song, full of the hope that the present has brought us.

Facing the rising sun, of our new day begun,
Let us march on, [let us protest on, let us fight on,] 
till victory is won.



The KidLit Community Rally for Black Lives was organized by Kwame Alexander, Jacqueline Woodson, Jason Reynolds and hosted by The Brown Bookshelf. A replay is available here.

Visit The Brown Bookshelf for additional anti-racist resources for children, families and educators.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Wade and Cheryl Hudson Launch Interview Series: “Just Us &”

We’re excited to announce “Just Us &,” a new interview series hosted by Wade and Cheryl Hudson, authors and founders of Just Us Books. The series will feature conversations between the Hudsons and book creators, as well as others who help get books into the hands of readers, such as librarians, educators and booksellers. 
“The Just Us & series is an extension of our storytelling and community building,” says Wade Hudson, CEO of Just Us Books. “These conversations help us connect, learn more about each other and the important work we’re all doing. We leave each conversation not only inspired but with a better understanding of how we can support each other. We hope our viewers will too.”

The weekly series will launch on Just Us Books’ YouTube page, Tuesday, June 2.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Remembering Tom Low

Our hearts were saddened to hear of the transition of Tom Low, co-founder of Lee & Low Books.

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