Acclaimed author Jason Reynolds will set out on his second two-week virtual tour this spring as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. In the eight appearances scheduled for April, Reynolds will connect with students from 12 middle schools and high schools in underserved communities for 45 minutes each, discussing his role as Ambassador with an educator or other professional and conversing with two student “ambassadors.”
The participating schools were selected from more than 200 proposals: Noble Middle School in North Berwick, Me.; Castle Heights Elementary in Price, Utah; Jefferson Street Campus, Neosho High School, and Neosho Junior High School in Neosho, Mo.; George Washington Elementary and Keokuk Middle School in Keokuk, Ia.; Methow Valley School District in Winthrop, Wash.; Gordo High School and Pickens County High School in Gordo, Ala.; Coalinga Middle School in Coalinga, Calif.; and North Education Center School in New Hope, Minn.
In preparation for Reynolds’s upcoming visit, each school was given paperback copies of Reynolds’s National Book Award finalist Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, from the Library of Congress, with support from Dollar General Literacy Foundation.
Prior to embarking on his first virtual tour last December, Reynolds connected with young people via his Instagram live video series Brain Yoga, where participants are shown two images and challenged to imagine something new. In conjunction with the Library of Congress, he also debuted Write. Right. Rite. last April—a 30-part video series for kids offering prompts to express creativity, as well as a monthly newsletter for parents and educators focused on relevant topics.
Reynolds said of his second virtual tour, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout this last year, it’s the power of persistence. And the teachers of this lesson have been the same teachers who’ve taught me most things—the young people of this country. Their persistence during such a relentless time has been incredible, and there’s nothing I want to do more than to show up for them. I want to let them know how proud I am, and to encourage them—even in the midst of this plot twist—to continue to press on with their beautiful stories.”
Schools that are not participating in the tour can download Reynolds’s “GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story” Educator Guides to access classroom activities that encourage students to share and celebrate their personal stories.