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Jason Reynolds, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

On January 13, 2020, Jason Reynolds was announced as the seventh National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Learn more about Jason and his activities as National Ambassador through this guide.

Introduction

Jason Reynolds, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, 2020-21. Photo credit: James J. Reddington.

On January 13, 2020, the Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader announced the appointment of Jason Reynolds as the seventh National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2020-2021. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden offered the following remarks on Reynolds' appointment:

I am thrilled our next National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is the dynamic, positively electric Jason Reynolds. Jason and his work galvanize readers to believe in themselves, ask critical questions, and create stronger communities.

An inauguration ceremony, presided by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and attended by both Jason Reynolds and 2018-19 National Ambassador Jacqueline Woodson, took place on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 10:30 a.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress's Thomas Jefferson Building. [View recording of inaugural ceremony.]

For the first two years of his term as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Reynolds has visited small towns across America to have meaningful discussions with young people. Through his platform, “GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story,” Reynolds, who regularly talks about his journey from reluctant reader to award-winning author, directed his focus as ambassador by listening and empowering students to share their own personal stories.

On September 20, 2021, Reynolds was appointed to an unprecedented third year as National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. During his third year as Ambassador, Reynolds will meet in person with students in rural communities to continue his work of encouraging young people to share their own narratives. In addition, Reynolds will create an archive of student voices, encouraging students to share their creations via his "GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story" platform.

In December 2021, Reynolds will embark on a third virtual tour as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Participating schools were selected from more than 200 proposals received in April 2021, and include:

  • Bald Eagle Area High School, Wingate, Pennsylvania
  • Bronson Jr./Sr. High School, Bronson, Michigan
  • ESSDACK, McPherson, Kansas
  • Gowanda Central Schools, Gowanda, New York
  • Johnson High School, Laredo, Texas
  • Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District, Los Fresnos, Texas
  • Marshall High School,Marshall, Wisconsin
  • Yamhill Carlton School District, Yamhill, Oregon

About the Position

The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature raises national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.

The national ambassador is selected for his or her contributions to young people’s literature, the ability to relate to kids and teens and dedication to fostering children’s literacy in all forms. The selection, made by the Librarian of Congress, is based on recommendations from an independent committee comprising educators, librarians, booksellers and children’s literature experts.