Library to Celebrate Jason Reynolds’ Three Years as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
The Library of Congress and Every Child a Reader will celebrate the end of Jason Reynolds’ unprecedented three-year term as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature with local students in the Washington, D.C., area on Dec. 13.
“Jason Reynolds’ tenure as National Ambassador has been nothing short of magic,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “For three years, Jason toured the country, empowering students to believe in their own stories. I am deeply grateful for his profound and rare ability to connect, always buoying us in creative, empathic ways. I look forward to honoring Jason and celebrating his awesome accomplishments as National Ambassador.”
“My experience as the National Ambassador has been extraordinary,” said Reynolds. “Engaging with young people during one of the most complicated times in our lives, felt like an injection of hope. My only hope was that I could give it right back to the kids, their teachers, their librarians, and their parents, and that I could remind them that our stories, and our willingness to exchange them, could turn the smallest town into the biggest world, and the busiest city into an intimate, dining room table. This has been a labor of love, yes, but also an experiment in connectivity. One that proves, once more, we are truly fastened to one another.”
Reynolds was inaugurated on Jan. 16, 2020, as the seventh National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and was reappointed for a third year on Sept. 20, 2021. Reynolds is the first writer to serve three years in the role.
Reynolds began his term by launching GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story, a platform encouraging students to share their own stories. The platform was based on Reynolds’ belief that students are better readers and writers when they feel seen and heard.
Over the course of his tenure, Reynolds toured the country, engaging students in rural, often underserved communities. In total, Reynolds visited — virtually or in person — 16,000 students at 47 schools and in four different school districts across 25 states.
At each tour stop, Reynolds led a conversation with two “student ambassadors” and took questions from the audience, while sharing the ways Reynolds translated his own story into books and a love of reading.
During the pandemic, Reynolds created two digital resources for kids, families, teachers and librarians, including the video series “Write. Right. Rite.” Reynolds also penned a regular newsletter, GRAB THE MIC, on relevant topics for students, teachers and readers.
In 2022, Reynolds and the Library collaborated with publisher Short Edition to bring innovative Short Story Cubes to select schools participating in Reynolds’s national tour. The Short Story Cube is a portable, stand-alone device that allows students to create, edit and print stories of their own making. The device allowed students to not only craft their own stories, but share them with their peers and communities.
During the course of his ambassadorship, Reynolds published three books and the popular podcast, “My Mother Made Me.” He was featured at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Reynolds also partnered with the State Center for the Book in Tennessee. During his appearance at the 2021 Southern Festival for the Books, Reynolds talked with 7,500 students about the value of your neighborhood inside the popular video game Minecraft.
The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is an initiative of the Library of Congress, in partnership with Every Child a Reader, with generous support from The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation, Dollar General Literacy Foundation and 2020-2022 support from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.
About Jason Reynolds
Jason Reynolds is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award honoree, a two-time National Book Award finalist, a Kirkus Award winner, a Carnegie Medal winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award winner and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King Award honors. He’s also the 2020–2022 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. His many books include “All American Boys” (co-written with Brendan Kiely), “When I Was the Greatest,” “The Boy in the Black Suit,” “Stamped,” “As Brave as You,” “For Every One,” the Track series (“Ghost,” “Patina,” “Sunny,” and “Lu”), “Look Both Ways,” “Stuntboy, in the Meantime,” and “Long Way Down,” which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Award Honor. He lives in Washington, D.C. You can find more about Jason and his writing at JasonWritesBooks.com.
About Every Child a Reader
Every Child a Reader is a 501(c)(3) award-winning literacy charity whose popular national programs include Children’s Book Week, the longest-running literacy initiative in the country, celebrating 104 years in 2023; the KIDS’ BOOK CHOICE AWARDS, the only national book awards chosen solely by children and teens; Get Caught Reading, a classroom poster project: and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature program, in partnership with the Library of Congress.
About the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.