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Biography Jacqueline Woodson

2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Jacqueline Woodson, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, 2018-2019. Photo credit: Shawn Miller, Library of Congress.

Jacqueline Woodson, 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, was the sixth writer to hold this position. During her two-year term, Woodson traveled across America to promote her platform, “READING = HOPE x CHANGE (What’s Your Equation?),” which encourages young people to think about – and beyond – the moment they are living in, the power they possess and the impact reading can have on showing them the ways in which they can create the hope and change they want to see in the world.

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2014 National Book Award winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the NAACP Image Award, and Newbery and Sibert Honors. In 2015, Woodson was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. Woodson’s most recent adult novel, Red at the Bone, is a New York Times bestseller and was named a New York Times Book of the Year in 2019. She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children. Among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a three-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Book Award winner.

Her books include the National Book Award finalist, Another Brooklyn; Caldecott Honor book Coming on Home Soon; Newbery Honor winners Feathers, Show Way, After Tupac and D Foster, and Miracle’s Boys, which received the LA Times Book Prize and the Coretta Scott King Book Award. Woodson is also the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement for her contributions to young adult literature, the winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and a 2020 recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Award. In March 2018, Penguin Young Readers celebrated the 20th anniversary of Woodson’s If You Come Softly with a special edition of the beloved story of star-crossed love between an African American teenage boy and his Jewish classmate.

Woodson was preceded as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by Jon Scieszka (2008–9), Katherine Paterson (2010–11), Walter Dean Myers (2012–13), Kate DiCamillo (2014–15), and Gene Luen Yang (2016–17).

Selected Works at the Library of Congress