Jason Reynolds is shaking and shaping the landscape of Young Adult literature. He is talking about real life in a voice that is unlike one that most teens have read before. He is being noticed. He has won numerous awards (John Steptoe New Talent Award, finalist, National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, Walter Dean Myers Award, Coretta Scott King Award honor in 2016, 2017, and 2018, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Youth/Teen, Newbery Honor, Printz Honor Book, finalist and the Edgar Award Best Young Adult Work. He has been featured on numerous television shows including The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Author Imprint, CBS This Morning and Late Night with Seth Meyers.
This week Jason posted a link to a new film short about him called Dear, Dreamer. The film captures the rhythm and humanity of Jason intermixed with stark images of kids like the ones that he writes about. If you are unfamiliar with the author and his work, it’s time to change that. His is a name that you will hear again and again. His work is prolific, powerful, and poignant. It is aimed at young adults, but speaks to all of us about the sometimes harsh, sometimes funny, sometimes breathtaking realities of life in contemporary America. I believe that he is one of the most important living American writers and that his work will live on for generations to come, even as he pushes us to continually propel forward.
“I always say if my books are still being read forty years from now in schools if they’re being taught as the books introducing young people literacy in schools, I failed. Forty years from now, we ain’t figured out new books yet? Literary is living, it’s growing, it’s changing, it’s expanding it’s evolving. People are living and growing and expanding and changing and evolving. Books have to continue to do the exact same thing in order for us to see eye-to-eye with the young people who they are trying to engage with.”
– Jason Reynolds