As a long time fan of Jason Reynolds, it has been a sheer delight to watch his star rise over the past year. My first introduction to Jason was with his book My Name is Jason. Mine Too. It’s a book of images and poetic text co-authored by Jason Griffin in 2009. Since then he has written several of the most poignant books for kids and young adults this decade. His All American Boys (co-authored by Brendan Kiely)confronts race in relation to crime and law enforcement. The Ghost series centers on a boy whose father is in prison. He has won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens, National Book Award Honoree, Kirkus Award, Walter Dean Myers Award as well as being the recipient of numerous Coretta Scott King honors. He is intelligent, charming, charismatic and talented. This year he’s been interviewed by Gayle King and Trevor Noah. Here’s hoping that he becomes the household name that he deserves to be.
Glen Weldon came into my world via the podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour. The NPR podcast features a group of pop culture nerds talking about the things that they have been watching, reading and listening to. At the end of every episode, they do a segment called “What’s Making Us Happy This Week,” which I borrowed for the title of my blog today. Although I appreciate Linda’s perspective and Stephen’s angsty ideas, it is always Glen who makes me laugh, see an angle that I missed and encourages me to reach a bit further into new materials. His bliss when he’s excited about something cracks some joy from me on even the bleakest days.
If podcasts aren’t your thing, I urge you to check out his Twitter account which hosts an enviable balance of wit, bravado and tomfoolery.