Jacqueline Woodson: New National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Seira Wilson on January 04, 2018

Woodson_225.jpgThe new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature has been announced, and to our great delight it's none other than Jacqueline Woodson.  Woodson has written multiple award-winning books for kids and young adults, as well as her stunning 2016 National Book Award Finalist in adult fiction, Another Brooklyn.  Woodson's most recent book for young people, her memoir in verse Brown Girl Dreaming, won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, a Coretta Scott King Award, and a Newberry Honor.  We chose Brown Girl Dreaming as a best book of 2014, and are anxiously awaiting a look at Woodson's two new books coming out this fall: a middle grade novel, The Dream of America, and a picture book titled The Day You Begin.

Woodson takes over the National Ambassador position from Gene Luen Yang, who served from 2016-2017.  Each ambassador has a platform for their two year term, during which time they travel across the country speaking to kids and young adults.  For Woodson, her travel plans include not only school and library visits, but also juvenile detention centers and other under-served areas, including the rural South where kids are rarely visited by authors.  Her goal as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, as she told The New York Times, is to instill hope through books. 

“For young people who are very stressed about the future, who have this sense of disempowerment, who don’t know what’s coming next, my big quest is for them to remain hopeful,” she said. “When you come to literature, it does allow you an escape from the world if that’s what you need, but it also changes you. You’re different than when you started that book.”

Congratulations to Jacqueline Woodson for her well-deserved appointment to the role of National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.  I'm so excited for the thousands of young people who will get to meet Woodson in the coming months.  I have no doubt they will come away from it energized by her passion for writing books that inspire change, and her clear belief that everyone can make a difference.

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