Author Chat with Wade Hudson (THE DAY MADEAR VOTED), Plus Giveaway~ US ONLY!

Today we are very excited to share an interview with author Wade Hudson!

Read on to learn more about the author, the book, and a giveaway!

 

 

 

Meet the Author: Wade Hudson

Wade Hudson is the author of more than thirty-five books for young readers, including the middle grade memoir Defiant: Growing Up in the Jim Crow South, winner of the 2022 Malka Penn award, and the anthologies We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our VoicesThe Talk, a New York Times Best Book of the Year; and Recognize: Black Lives Matter (all co-edited with his wife, Cheryl Willis Hudson). He is the president and co-founder of Just Us Books, Inc. Wade speaks around the country about issues of inclusion and diversity and has received numerous honors for his contributions to children’s literature, including the Children’s Book Council’s Diversity Achievement Award and a 2022 Eric Carle Honor. He lives in East Orange, New Jersey. You can visit Wade at JustUsBooks.com or follow him on Instagram @WadeHudsonJr and on Twitter @HudsonWade.

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Meet the Illustrator: Don Tate

Don Tate is the award-winning creator of numerous picture book biographies, including Jerry Changed the Game! How Engineer Jerry Lawson Revolutionized Video Games ForeverPigskins to Paintbrushes: The Story of Football-Playing Artist Ernie BarnesWilliam Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad; and Swish!: The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters, among others. Don’s accolades include an Ezra Jack Keats Book Award and Honor, Carter G. Woodson Book Awards, Christopher Awards, and SCBWI Crystal and Golden Kite Awards. In addition to writing and illustrating, Don enjoys speaking at elementary schools. He lives with his family in Austin, Texas, and invites you to visit him online at dontate.com.

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About the Book: The Day Madear Voted

A moving look at a Black family’s journey to exercise their right to vote and imagine a better future.

 

Charlie and Ralph’s mom has waited a long time to vote because countless obstacles have been put in Black people’s way to stop them from having a say in elections—obstacles that it took a lot of hard work to tear down. But now, in 1969, Madear is going to vote for the very first time, and the boys are coming along on this exciting day. A day that puts a new bounce in their mom’s step, and enables them all to begin to dream of a better future.

Wade Hudson and Don Tate give young readers a warm family story as well as a powerful glimpse into the struggle that had to be waged to achieve a fundamental right of citizenship.

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~Author Chat~

 

YABC:  What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

WH: When I was writing my memoir, Defiant, Growing Up in the Jim Crow South, so many memories resurfaced. One was how exciting and meaningful it was when my mother had the opportunity to vote after being denied that right by Jim Crown laws and customs for more than half of her life. I felt compelled to share that story with young readers. So, The Day Madear Voted is loosely based on my mother’s first-time voting. I think it is a timely book as we are nearing one of the most consequential national elections in the history of our country. Hopefully, the book will be a good vehicle to help young readers understand the importance of voting and help them appreciate the struggle required to make voting accessible to all Americans.

 

YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?

WH: My mother, of course! She was the matriarch of our immediate family and to others she adopted unofficially into our family. Writing my memoir really helped me better appreciate those like my mother who may not have done “big things” but were/are crucial in the lives of so many of us. They are truly unsung heroes. They are the foundation on which we stand to reach for our destiny.

DT: Of course, I love Madear and the young boys, Charlie and Ralph. What’s funny to me is that nowhere in the actual narrative does it mention the older kid’s name. The jacket flap names him Ralph, but I didn’t see that text until much later. As I illustrated the book, I referred to him as Wade—a young Wade Hudson! Anyway, that’s a side note. My favorite character in the story is President Obama. He doesn’t show up until the end of the story, and his image on the last page is small. But the weight of his image is huge. That a Black man was elected as the forty-fourth president of the United States is something I never imagined would happen in my lifetime. To me, the image of President Obama speaks to the significant challenges Black people have faced and overcome.

 

YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

DT: The opening scene is my absolute favorite. That’s my grandmother’s foyer, circa 1960s. The scene inside the polling place, where Madear embraces Miss Clara, is also based on my childhood experiences. When my mom voted, she took my younger brother and me along. I remember the joyous atmosphere, the broad smiles, the enthusiastic handshakes and hugs. Many of the polling workers were our neighbors. It made me proud to see my mom vote and then thread her ballot into the counting machine. In our family, voting was considered “worldly,” it went against our family’s religion at the time. But my mom recognized that conditions for Black people could only improve through the power of the vote. And so, she voted religiously, so to say.

 

YABC:  What came first, the concept, landscape, characters, or something else?

WH: Well, the concept and characters came first. Achieving the right to vote has been a goal of millions of Black Americans over the centuries in this country. Many people paid the ultimate price to achieve that goal. So, demonstrating what it meant through my mother’s example was always forefront. My mother was a largewr than life character. Capturing her spirit was rather easy.

 

YABC: If you could only write one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

WH: I don’t think I could accept being relegated to one genre. I enjoy writing fiction and nonfiction. Picture books, middle grade books, chapter books, poetry. I have been published in all those genres. Having to write in one genre would be like telling me that I can only enjoy a meal of collard greens, smothered chicken and rice, corn bread and candied yams, one of my favorite meals. But there are other meals I enjoy, too. 

DT: I will always write the stories of Black historical figures. Black history stories, I believe, saved my life and sparked a love for reading and storytelling. Life for young Black boys can be tough. Biographies can demonstrate how other Black men overcame adversities to achieve success. When young readers know the uncomfortable truths about history, they are better prepared to navigate the challenges they will face in the future.

 

YABC:   How do you keep your ‘voice’ true to the age category you are writing within?

WH: I try to inhabit the characters I create, especially the main characters. Before I start to write, I get to know the characters, their ages, their interests, their challenges, their likes, their goals. I talk with them. I argue with them, laugh with them, feel their pain. So, when I am ready to sit at the laptop, I know them very well. My earlier experience as a playwright has been extremely helpful in that respect.

 

YABC:   What can readers expect to find in your books?

WH: A better understanding and appreciation for the struggle to get the right to vote. I think voting is too often taken for granted today. Much of the hard-fought progress we have achieved is taken for granted. Because it is, too many people don’t take advantage of that progress. We must be vigilant in defending that progress. If we are not, it can be easily rescinded. 

DT: Inspiration. Color. Adversity. Achievement. Self-teaching. Fun. Art. Fitness. Joy. Truth. Truth. And truth.

 

YABC: What is your favorite snack when writing?

WH: Popcorn and sherbert. And watermelon when it is in season. 

DT: I take a break for an iced cookie almost daily.

 

YABC: If you were able to meet them, would you be friends with your main character?

WH: Yes, I think so. Because I have created them or given them life on the pages of a book, they would be of interest to be. Of course, there would be degrees of friendship.

 

YABC:    What’s your least favorite word or expression and why?

WH: “I give up” or “I quit”. It is over when one makes that declaration. I often wonder where I would be if my ancestors had given up or quit because of brutal treatment and dehumanization they endured. I don’t think I would be here. It’s questionable whether most African Americans would be here.

 

DT: Any form of the Black slur-word. There’s a hateful history there, and if folks understood the history behind the word, they’d stop using it. No altering a slur makes it acceptable or endearing. Just, please, stop.

 

YABC:   What do you do when you procrastinate?

WH: I force myself to move forward with whatever the project is. Often, what is created isn’t usable, but it helps to get one out of the fog. 

DT: Um…I answer interview questions.

YABC:   What’s up next for you?

WH: I have several books coming out in 2026. Two picture books, an anthology I am editing with my wife Cheryl, and I am currently working on a middle grade novel that takes place during the long hot summer of rebellions in 1967. 

DT: I’ve authored several forthcoming nonfiction picture books! One is about a poet, Dudley Randall, a man who founded a publishing company called Broadside Press during the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s. He used poems and art to advocate for change. Another forthcoming story is about the Tuskegee Airmen and the first Black meteorologists who helped the pilots fly successful missions. After that, I’ve written and will illustrate a book that tells the history of African Americans and swimming, dispels myths, and encourages young people to learn how to swim.

 

YABC: What is your favorite holiday or tradition and why? 

DT: I love Thanksgiving. It’s one of the few no-stress holidays, for me. I celebrate with family and friends. I focus on what I’m thankful for. Then I pray before enjoying the nine to ten desserts my mother-in-law always makes.

 

YABC:   Is there anything that you would like to add?

WH: Yes! As we face an assault on freedom of speech with the banning and challenging of books, especially those that that represent marginalized communities, I urge everyone who believes in freedom of speech, individual rights regardless of ethnicity or gender, to be vigilant and steadfast in standing up to this campaign to undo the progress that has been won. 

DT: It was an honor to illustrate such an important story written by Wade Hudson. I’ve been a longtime fan and admirer of him and his wife Cheryl Hudson, authors and the founders of Just Us Books, the trailblazing publishing company that inspired and published me early in my career. Like Dudley Randall, mentioned above, the Hudsons published Black voices at a time when mainstream publishers would not.

 

 

 

Title: THE DAY MADEAR VOTED

Author: Wade Hudson

Illustrator:  Don Tate

Release Date: July 9, 2024

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

ISBN-10: 0593615743

ISBN-13: 9780593615744

Genre: Picture Book

Age Range: 3-7

 

~ Giveaway Details ~

 

Three (3) winners will receive a copy of The Day Madear Voted (Wade Hudson) ~US Only!

 

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