Jason Reynolds is having a banner year so far. The DC children’s book author today received the UK’s prestigious CILIP Carnegie Medal award for his 2019 book, Look Both Ways. The honor, which was created in 1936 to memorialize the famous philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, recognizes “outstanding reading experiences” for children and YA readers.
Reynolds has recently gained attention on the New York Times bestseller lists, too—Look Both Ways was a top title, as well as Long Way Down and Stamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You, which he cowrote with Ibram X. Kendi. In the Carnegie-awarded work, Reynolds writes from the perspective of kids walking home from school, unraveling ten imaginative stories that span ten blocks. The Carnegie award is selected by a collection of children’s librarians across the United Kingdom.
Another local writer, Elizabeth Acevedo, was a finalist in this year’s round. In 2019, she became the first writer of color to ever receive the Carnegie medal for her novel in verse, The Poet X. (The awards were long criticized for recognizing primarily white authors and have slowly started to shift their process.) Previous Carnegie medal winners include beloved authors like Neil Gaiman (Coraline, Stardust) and Phillip Pullman (The Golden Compass series).