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DEFIANT by Wade Hudson


Growing Up in the Jim Crow South

by Wade Hudson

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-593-12635-6
Publisher: Crown

Hudson enlightens young readers about his civil rights–era experiences that set the foundation for a lifelong commitment to fighting for justice.

Alongside his wife and business partner, Cheryl Willis Hudson, Hudson has been on a celebrated run delivering diverse texts for young readers. This memoir provides witness to the formative experiences that shaped him, beginning in Mansfield, Louisiana, one of many “small rural towns across the South that White people controlled virtually unimpeded,” where the Black community demonstrated how “creative, resilient, dedicated, tough, and loving they were.” Readers follow his journey through school, honing his writing skills and being mentored by great teachers. In a world rife with segregation and unequal resources, Hudson excels with his community’s support, becoming the first in his family to attend college. This is the mid-1960s, and his eyes are set on role models like trailblazer Thurgood Marshall. He’s transformed by the Black literature of Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Margaret Walker, and others and present to heed the call of rising student activism. Readers will be awed by what it means to find one’s purpose during a metamorphic time in history and contribute to progressive social change—then bring it all back home to those who set you flowing in the first place. Strong storytelling and significant cultural references shine throughout. This will be a powerful read alongside the contemporary, award-winning texts that the Hudsons have nurtured.

Powerful testimony from a children’s literature legend.

(historical notes, sources, timeline) (Memoir. 10-14)