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Reasons to Add Jason Reynolds to Your “Favorite Authors” List

June 3, 2020
Jess Harold
Riveted Editorial Board

We all have our favorite authors, but every reader knows that there’s infinite space in our hearts and on our bookshelves for more writers with life-changing stories to tell.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce you Jason Reynolds.

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You might have heard his name before. He is the bestselling and award-winning author of Long Way Down, When I Was the Greatest, The Boy in the Black Suit, For Every One, Look Both Ways,  the Track series, and All-American Boys, which he wrote with Brendan Kiely. And these are just some of his books!

Reasons to Add Jason Reynolds to Your “Favorite Authors” List

1. He is an eloquent speaker AND writer

Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely recently joined Hoda and Jenna to talk about how parents can talk to their kids about race relations in America and why it’s important to continue these conversations. You can watch here.

Here is a profile of him in People magazine.

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Learn about his writing journey in this in-depth Washington Post interview.

Or watch this Facebook Live broadcast in which Jason gets to talk to one of his favorite artists Facetime-to-Facetime! (You have to watch to find out who it is, we don’t want to spoil it for you.)

Check out Jason’s brilliant interview with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show.

2. Your favorite authors love him, too!

Like John Green…

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…and Marie Lu…

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…and Matt de la Pena…

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….and Angie Thomas…

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…and Tomi Adyemi…

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…and Gayle Forman…

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…and a bunch more!

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3. He’s the Epitome of Cool

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If only we could all be so effortlessly awesome in a black tee.

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And kids love him (this is particularly cool as children are GREAT judges of character)!

4. He stays woke (and wants you to be, too!)

One theme you’ll notice in reading many of Jason Reynolds’s stories is the social hardships his characters face on top of the plot-related trials. Like many authors, he believes it is imperative for young people to see their authentic selves in the books that they read. His work, like that of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Sharon Draper, encourages young readers to participate in social engagement.

Reynolds’ novel with Brendan Kiely, All-American Boys, explores the way police brutality can affect people who might live in the same community, but experience the world in vastly different ways. Check out the video below to hear what they have to say about the importance of this book:

5. He writes award-winning books

He has more than ten novels published, and many of them have received starred reviews and awards. He has earned so many different awards for his work, including the Coretta Scott King Award, the John Steptoe Award for New Talent, and was a finalist for the National Book Award.

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Long Way Down received so many awards there almost isn’t room on the cover for them all: Coretta Scott King Book Honor, Newberry Honor, Printz Honor, Odyssey Honor, and the Walter Dean Myers Award.

6. His roots are in poetry

Writing narratives is relatively new for Jason, but he’s been a poet from a young age. He refers to black poets and rappers in, like Yasiin Bey/Mos Def, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Ralph Ellison. Check out his poetry blog. And get ready, because his first YA told in verse, Long Way Down, is SO GOOD!

7. He writes for every one

Jason has written books for both the Middle Grade and Young Adult age ranges, but they’re impactful stories that appeal to everyone. And his book, For Every One, will INSPIRE you.

If you’ve never read Jason’s work before, then you may not know what I mean when I say his messages and writing style transcend typical age ranges. Everyone everyone everyone who fits into the YA category and above will love both his YA and Middle Grade books. Jason’s writing captures you in such a way that turning to the next chapter is an obligation. They’ll change you life.

9. He’s the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

You can watch this interview here. Jason will serve as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature in 2020 and 2021.

8. He was one of People Magazine‘s 2017 Sexiest People

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He is People Magazine‘s 2017 sexiest author. I think that kind of speaks for itself…

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