Bestselling YA writer Jason Reynolds is supposed to be on a country-wide tour as the Library of Congress’ recently appointed National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Now that the nation is on lockdown, he’s changing his approach: Reynolds will bring his storytelling to you virtually through videos and newsletters as part of his “GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story” program.
Reynolds, an Oxon Hill native who now lives in DC’s Kingman Park, is best known for stories that center the experiences of black young men in America. You might have already seen one of his novel‘s protagonists in a movie theater: Miles Morales, the black Puerto Rican hero of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Just last month, he published his first nonfiction work, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, with American University historian Ibram X. Kendi. Reynolds is committed to empowering young writers—particularly writers of color—to tell their own stories, which is part of the goal behind his new video series.
Starting April 14, Reynolds will post videos twice a week on the Library of Congress’s website (and social media) with writing prompts and creativity-boosting activities. Videos will be up on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 AM throughout April and May. In addition, Reynolds will be sending out a monthly newsletter for parents and teachers, which the Library describes as “a place where Jason Reynolds can talk directly to you and share his thoughts on relevant topics of the day.”
Reynolds is calling his video series “Write. Right. Rite.” In a teaser, he explains the name: The first “write” means to express yourself; the second “right” is about doing something that “feels real and true to you”; and the final “rite” refers to a ritual. Altogether, he describes it as an “express yourself the way you want to ritual.”