Jason Reynolds: Grab the Mic December Newsletter

This newsletter is the latest in a series of guest posts from Jason Reynolds, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and was originally published on the Library of Congress blog.

This will be a short newsletter.

One thing I don’t recall ever being told by any adult in my life when I was a kid, was to rest. Other than the forced nap time in nursery school and kindergarten, rest always just seemed like something I crashed into after expending every ounce of energy. It was the thing that happened when the sugar wore off. But there was never a moment when someone sat me down and explained why rest is important. And because it was never taught to me in the same way the importance of vegetables and kindness were, here I stand older than I’ve ever been with absolutely no clue how to do it.

But I’m going to learn. And to start, I’m taking a month off from writing this newsletter. So there won’t be one in January because I’ll be … resting.

What I’d love is for some of you to try it with me, this resting thing. Maybe once a day, turn off your phones and computers, close the books I know you’re reading and just sit still. Let’s all try to do it for five minutes a day. Just let your mind and body do nothing for a moment. I’m, of course, going for the gold and going to try to do this for a few hours each day, but knowing all of you are shutting down for five minutes will make me feel less anxious, like we’re all in this thing together. A communal rest, stretching across cities and states. It’s a beautiful thing to imagine, all of us who are normally connected by movement and activity, by voice and touch, by computers and cell phones, now connected through calm.

Because we can be. Because we have to be. Because now that I’m older than I’ve ever been, I realize giving your mind and body a moment of ease is just as important — as healthy — as vegetables. As important as kindness. Or maybe the most important kindness — the kindness of self.

And if an adult has never told you this, if you’ve never known that the brain needs breathing time to continue to do brain stuff, or the body needs moments to heal itself from your constantly bumping it into everything around you, if you’ve never thought of resting as an important choice for you to make, well, that’s what you’ve got me for. I’m pretty much your restie bestie. Yep … that’s my new title: Jason Reynolds, the Inaugural National Restie Bestie, here to encourage you to learn to calm your own fire so you don’t burn up everything around you or burn out everything inside you.

This is what love sounds like.

Until February, Happy Holidays and rest easy.

Jason

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Research Guides: Literacy and Education for the Next Generation of Readers

This summer, Junior Fellow Mal Haselberger researched, developed, and published online research guides for all emeritus National Ambassadors for Young People’s Literature. In the process of creating the guides, she learned firsthand the importance of making details about the ambassadors’ work and outreach programs more accessible to the public.

“GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story” – Bringing the National Ambassador’s Ideas to Your School

Rebecca Newland, former Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress, discusses the platform (“GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story”) of the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jason Reynolds. She offers ideas on how teachers can extend Reynolds’ platform among students and the larger school community so everyone has an opportunity to tell their story.