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A Conversation with Just Us Books • Worlds of Words

As president, Wade manages the business aspects of the company, such as marketing, while in the capacity of publisher, Cheryl handles such editorial aspects as coordinating writers and illustrators and developing the final product. Our children see black characters that are substantial and unique. They see themselves and their surroundings on the pages of our books.

Large publishers such as Scholastic and HarperCollins have hired the Hudsons to act as consultants. They have packaged — that is prepared for publication — a dozen books that were published and marketed by Scholastic. For example, Sweet the Sound is a compilation of 23 songs with oil wash on board illustrations, includes traditional spirituals, protest songs, street cries, and popular soul tunes, accompanied by information about the composers.

Hold Christmas in Your Heart is a compilation of 16 stories, songs, and poetry that celebrates the holiday season. The Just Us Books catalog features books for all ages, from preschool to young adult. The Hudsons try to make every book a best seller. They market their list directly to some African American owned bookstores nationwide.

In addition to encouraging black owners of bookstores to join together as cooperatives to buy in volume, they have approached the large chains. Then he would follow up with review copies and later telephone calls. Though costly, advertisements put the Just Us Books name in the minds of potential buyers.

Similarly, a small event can create a snowball effect. Our target is nationwide, so we got hooked up with their other regional distributors also. When the Hudsons decided to do a treasury for the whole family, something that parents and children could enjoy together, they had no trouble finding material. In Praise of Our Fathers and Our Mothers brings together 49 works-poems, paintings, interviews, memoirs, and illustrations from various writers and artists-that celebrate the African American family. Wade told M. We are telling our story about the positive influence that our family has had in our lives.

Most parents do the routine and normal things every day. They work and they try to provide their children with the little extras in life. Both Wade and Cheryl Hudson are advocates of diversity in literature. They conduct workshops and make presentations across the country on such topics as publishing multicultural books, marketing black interest books, and curriculum development. This is particularly crucial to the African American community which has been deliberately given negative images of its history and culture. I find it rewarding to help reshape and change those negative images to reflect truth.

I think the struggle to present the correct images-the truth-is the most crucial one facing us all. Just Us Books, Contributor of poems and illustrations to Ebony Jr! Designer and art director for graphic novels series, Pink Flamingos , Simon and Schuster. Booklist , January 1, , p.


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