The Poetry Foundation has named Jacqueline Woodson as the new Young People's Poet Laureate, a title given every two years. Woodson will succeed current laureate Kenn Nesbitt. In a release, Poetry Foundation president Robert Polito said, "Jacqueline Woodson is an elegant, daring, and restlessly innovative writer.... Her gifts, adventurousness and generosity suggest she will be a terrific Young People's Poet Laureate."
Woodson's most recent work, Brown Girl Dreaming, was awarded the 2014 National Book Award for Young People's Literature as well as a Newbery Honor. Her previous works include From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun and Locomotion, among many other titles. Woodson has also been awarded a Coretta Scott King Author Honor and the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults.
Woodson recently addressed her own approach to storytelling in Brown Girl Dreaming in a recent New York Times op-ed: “As I interviewed relatives in both Ohio and Greenville, S.C., I began to piece together the story of my mother’s life, my grandparents’ lives and the lives of cousins, aunts and uncles. These stories, and the stories I had heard throughout my childhood, were told with the hope that I would carry on this family history and American history, so that those coming after me could walk through the world as armed as I am.”
The laureateship is comes with a $25,000 award, and aims to promote poetry to children, families, teachers, and librarians over its tenure, as well as advising the Poetry Foundation on projects that advance this mission. “Woodson’s lyrical, deeply empathetic work is enthralling to all readers, making her the ideal ambassador for young people’s literature,” Katherine Litwin, Poetry Foundation library director said in a release. “We couldn’t be more honored and excited to have her join us for the next two years in this important role.”