Jason Reynolds, Grab the Mic Newsletter: September 2022

A decorative banner of author Jason Reynolds, a man with dreadlocks leaning casually with his head against his hand and smiling at the camera, next to the words "Grab the Mic Newsletter". The smaller text "Jason Reynolds- National Ambassador for Young People's Literature" is above.

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

It’s been a long time and I apologize for my absence. But I’ve been writing and reading and thinking, and reading some more, and writing some more. Oh, and sweating. I’ve been doing so much sweating, thanks to the swelter of what has been the hottest summer ever. In the history of the whole world. I hope you spent most of your summer in the pool. Or in the A/C. Or in a snow cone machine. Or in a meat locker. Okay, maybe not in a meat locker, but definitely inside a snow cone machine. Like…your head…inside of it. That’s how I hope your summer has gone, because I love you.

Me? Like I said, I’ve been reading, writing, and sweating. And preparing. For what you ask? I can’t hear you from inside the snow cone machine. I’m kidding. I can’t hear you from inside the classroom because I know y’all are back in school, which I hope at least has air. Anyway, what am I preparing for? Tour! I’m getting ready for the final stretch of my ambassadorship, a victory lap, heading down south to spend some time with some of y’all who happen to live in the hottest places in the U.S.! And I couldn’t be more excited.

I can’t wait. It almost feels like the first day of school. When I was a kid, I would be so gassed up the night before that I could barely sleep. I’d have my outfit laid out, fresh shirt and pants, fly shoes, crisp haircut, all so that when I got on the school bus on that first day, everyone would notice how cool I looked, and more importantly, how I’d grown an inch taller. And that’s kind of what I’m hoping happens when I go on this last tour run. What I’m so anxious about. I want to walk into a school to see my homies, my folks, my crew, my squad, my people, and compare notes about how good we look and how much we’ve grown. And guess what we won’t be talking about? Reading and writing! Okay, maybe we’ll talk about reading and writing a little, but not as much as the teachers. And not as much as we’ll be talking about sweating. Not actual sweating (no sweat talk!) but about what we’re sweating right now. Which sneakers. What music. What TV shows. What flavor of Sno-Cone. And what victory lap should we (but really YOU) be preparing ourselves for now.

With that being said, Happy Back to School Time…Happy School Year…Happy First Quarter…what do we call this? Happy Try to Be Happy You’re Back in School and Summer’s Over but It Was Too Hot Anyway but at Least It Was Summer and Summer Is Always Summer Which Is to Say Summer Is Always Amazing Because There Are No Desks or Lockers or Strange Smells In The Cafeteria Time!

Or something like that.

Jason