On January 3, 2008, the Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader announced the appointment of Jon Scieszka as the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2008-2009. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington offered the following remarks on Scieszka's appointment:
The Library of Congress has long provided free, primary-source educational material for K-12 on the internet. The position of National Ambassador for Young People's Literature is a natural extension of that role. Jon Scieszka will be an articulate emissary, promoting reading and literature among young people, which are important for the health and creativity of our democratic society.
An appointment ceremony, presided by the Library of Congress' Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole, took place on Thursday, January 3, 2008, at the Mulberry Branch of the New York Public Library. Scieszka received the National Ambassador's Medal in a Library of Congress presentation presided by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington on September 26, 2008. [View recording of medal ceremony.]
For his two-year term as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jon Scieszka worked to emphasize the diversity and breadth of children’s literature available and in so doing presented a solution to what can be done to change the state of reading across the country.
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.