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Check It Out: Jason Reynolds


This is Jenn Delperdang, with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out.

Today, I’m recommending books written by author Jason Reynolds. Why? Because Jason Reynolds was just selected as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2020-2021 by the Library of Congress, based on his contributions to young people’s literature, his ability to relate to kids and teens, and his dedication to fostering children’s literacy in all forms. As an ambassador, Reynolds plans to focus on outreach to rural areas and marginalized communities, recognizing their relative lack of access to library resources and opportunity. His project, called “Grab the Mic: Tell Your Story”, will move in a new direction of listening to students and empowering them to share their own thoughts and experiences.

Reynolds often speaks about his own journey from reluctant reader to award-winning author. On his website, he says he doesn’t want to write boring books. His latest book, Look both Ways: a tale told in ten blocks is not a boring book. It is a collection of 10 short stories, told in parallel, following different middle-graders home from school. Each character is believable and relatable, and each story is uniquely memorable. If Reynolds has a ‘signature style’, it is that his stories are filled with culturally diverse characters, emotional authenticity, empathy, and humor. Look Both Ways reminded me of the profound moments young people experience, and how these experiences can connect us all.

Check Out Look Both Ways and other books by Jason Reynolds at the Sioux City Public Library. For even more book recommendations, subscribe to our podcast, The First Fifty Pages, available on iTunes, The Play Store, and Stitcher.

Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers.