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A Little About Me 

          I am an award-winning author, CEO and co-founder of Just Us Books, one of the nation's leading independent children’s book publishers.

          My career in publishing spans four decades. I have written more nearly 40 books including: Book of Black Heroes; Poetry from the Masters: The Pioneers; Jamal's Busy Day, and Powerful Words: More than Two Hundred Years of Extraordinary Writing by African Americans. I am co-editor with Cheryl of three anthologies published in partnership with Crown Books for Young Readers, including: The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love & Truth and Recognize! An Anthology Honoring and Amplifying Black Life. My collection of poetry, Journey, was published by Third World Press and my coming-of-age memoir, Defiant: Growing up in the Jim Crow South, which Kirkus Reviews called a “powerful testimony from a children’s literature legend,” won the 2022 Malka Penn Award for Human Rights in Children’s Literature. My newest title is the picture book Invincible: Fathers and Mothers of Black America, illustrated by E.B. Lewis.

          In my role as CEO of Just Us Books, I lead the company in bringing to market children’s books that reflect the fullness of Black stories, history, culture and experiences, breaking barriers in the industry, and contributing to a more inclusive literary landscape.

         As a speaker with the dual roles of publisher and author, I offer unique perspectives into the world of children’s literature, education, diversity, and publishing. I speak at schools, industry conferences, educational institutions, libraries and corporate events across the nation, and have facilitated with my wife Cheryl workshops for Freedom Schools, operated nationwide by the Children’s Defense.

          My contributions to children's literature have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Stephen Crane Literary Award, induction into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent, the Harlem Book Fair Phyllis Wheatley Award (2007), the Ida B. Wells Institutional Leadership Award (2008) presented by the Center for Black Literature, the Madame C. J. Walker Legacy Award (2012) given by the Zora Neale Hurston-Richard Wright Foundation, Children’s Book Council Diversity Outstanding Achievement Award (2019), and the 2022 Carle Honors award from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a recognitions I share with my wife Cheryl.


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