Happy Birthday, Jason Reynolds!
Jason Reynolds was born on this day in 1983. That means he’s turning…37! Happy 37th birthday, Jason Reynolds.
Jason writes books, and thank goodness “not boring ones”! All of Jason’s books are on my reading and re-reading list. I believe Reynolds will go down as one of the most important American writers for young people in our time.
Reynolds’ books have been challenged, in some cases, for their “negativity toward police”. It’s an eyebrow-raising objection in a year characterized by national protest against the violent death of George Floyd by police. While many police are considered heroes, I question the origins of policing and institutions of criminal justice more broadly. In the American south, early police forces were created to preserve the slavery system. On Jason’s birthday (December 6) in 1865 Congress ratified the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolished slavery in the United States. Still today, injustices persist.
On a cheerier note, December 6th is also St. Nicholas Day – named after a person known for being kind and generous to children. Ultimately, it’s clear that’s what Jason is — if you follow his twitter or the earned media in his wake, you’ll find that he is reaching out to and empowering kids in SO. MANY. WAYS. For this past Giving Tuesday, he bought up all the inventory of his books in D.C. area indie bookstores and made those books free (to the people he’s most hoping they reach).
Jason grew up near Washington D.C. and graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in English. When he was in school, he was “the guy writing and reciting poetry all over campus”. After graduation, he packed his bags for Brooklyn.
Now he practices writing “the same way a professional ball player calls himself an athlete,” so that he can make books for boys out there that hate reading (boring books). On January 16, 2020 he was inducted as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature at a ceremony hosted by the Library of Congress and Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden.
So if you find yourself in need of a good book, pick up one of Jason’s and leave a reply to let us know what you’re planning to read or what you thought about it. Let 2021 be the year of the GREAT REYNOLDS’ READATHON!
Happy birthday @JasonReynolds83. Thank you for your work. You are changing so many lives for the better.
Samantha Mairson is a children’s librarian at the Rye Free Reading Room in New York. She is a staunch intellectual freedom fighter. Previously she worked for EveryLibrary, the first national political action committee for libraries. Samantha is a graduate of the Syracuse University MLIS program with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Information Security Management, and the University of Connecticut where she studied Digital Media Design and Spanish. She once walked from North Carolina to Connecticut, and dreams of building a tiny home. She currently resides in New York City with her husband, sister-in-law, newborn baby, and the family dog, Rocky!