Jason Reynolds’ and Ibram X. Kendi’s 2020 summer reads

Chris Schluep on June 26, 2020

2020 Summer reads: Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi are talented, best-selling writers who have each had books on our Best of the Year lists, so when we saw that they were coming out with a "remix" of Kendi's National Book Award-winning book, and that it would be geared toward younger readers, we began eagerly awaiting the March publication of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning.

Kendi is also the author of How to Be an Antiracist, which has become a big best-seller and is arguably a must-read during our current times. Reynolds, a best-selling writer and multiple award-winner in his own right, was recently named by the Library of Congress as the national ambassador for young people's literature—so the two of them together seemed like the perfect fit.

When we asked Reynolds and Kendi to recommend books for our readers, it was well before the murder of George Floyd and the times that we find ourselves in today. And yet, their reasons for picking these books are even more resonant in light of it.

See Jason Reynolds' and Ibram X. Kendi's picks below:

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson

Picked by Jason Reynolds, who says: "This is a story about a girl, Ryan Hart, who moves through her complicated world with an optimism that the entire world could use right now."

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

Picked by Jason Reynolds, who says: "A super fresh take on the funny found in friendship, and the fumbles of first love."

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston

Picked by Ibram X. Kendi, who says: "This newly released short story collection, which includes some 'lost' tales, promises to bring laughter, sadness, introspection, fascination, fear, dreams—everything wondrous stories by wondrous storytellers delivers to life."

The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde by Audre Lorde

Picked by Ibram X. Kendi, who says: "With everything that is going to hit us, I think this summer we are going to need poetry, not just any poetry, but Lorde’s lyrics."

Lists + Reviews

Best Books Literature + Fiction Nonfiction Kids + Young Adult Mystery, Thriller + Suspense Science Fiction + Fantasy Comics + Graphic Novels Romance Eating + Drinking


Interviews Guest Essays Celebrity Picks

News + Features

News Features Awards Podcast


Omnivoracious, The Amazon Book Review

Feeds Facebook Twitter YouTube