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Biography Jason Reynolds

2020-2022 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Jason Reynolds, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, 2020-2022. Photo credit: Shawn Miller, Library of Congress.

Jason Reynolds, 2020-2022 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, is the seventh writer to hold this position. During his term,  Reynolds 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, redirected his focus as ambassador by listening and empowering students to share their own personal stories.

Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author, a Kirkus Prize winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award winner, a National Book Award finalist, and the recipient of a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor and multiple Coretta Scott King Award honors. He was also the American Booksellers Association’s 2017 and 2018 spokesperson for Indies First. Reynolds’ many books include When I Was the Greatest, The Boy in the Black Suit, All American Boys (co-written with Brendan Kiely), As Brave as You, For Every One, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks and Long Way Down.

Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in neighboring Oxon Hill, Maryland, Reynolds found inspiration in rap and began writing poetry at 9 years old. Over the next two decades, he published several poetry collections before publishing his first novel, When I Was The Greatest, in 2014. He won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent for this first work of prose. He followed this success by writing seven novels in four years, including Ghost, a finalist for the National Book Award; Patina and Sunny, part of his New York Times bestselling Track series; As Brave As You, winner of the 2016 Kirkus Prize, the 2017 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Youth/Teen, and the 2017 Schneider Family Book Award; and a Marvel Comics novel, Miles Morales: Spider-Man.

Reynolds returned to poetry with Long Way Down, a novel in verse, followed by Look Both Ways, which was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award. His collaboration with Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, was released in March 2020. Reynolds currently lives in Washington, D.C.

Selected Works at the Library of Congress