Jason Reynolds, Back with a Newsletter!

Jason Reynolds, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, is back from summer break.

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 snow 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

Subscribe to the blog— it’s free!

National Book Festival: Thousands Spent the Holiday with a Good Book

The Library’s 2022 National Book Festival was the first in-person festival in three years, since COVID shut down much of public life in D.C, and thousands of readers and fans thronged the Convention Center in search of a good read. Celebrities such as Janelle Monae, Nick Offerman, Leslie Jordan and Megan Mullally were there to greet them. So were big names in fiction, non-fiction and children’s books, including Geraldine Brooks, Karen Joy Fowler and Mitch Albom.

Just in Time for the National Book Festival, it’s Leslie Jordan!

Leslie Jordan, the Emmy Award winning comic actor turned Instagram star turned author, brings his “How Y’all Doing?” to the National Book Festival. His short video riffs on being short, Southern and gay have charmed millions of viewers since he started posting them during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 67-year-old has more than 100 film and television credits, including turns on hit series such as “Will and Grace” and “American Horror Story.” He’s currently starring in “Call Me Kat” with Mayim Bialik.

Ada Limón, the Nation’s New Poet Laureate

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced that Ada Limon will serve as the nation’s 24th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2022-2023. She is the author of six poetry collections and is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

The Neil Simon Collection: Now Playing at the Library of Congress

The Library now has the papers and collected works of Neil Simon, the most commercially successful playwright in American history and one of the most honored. “Barefoot in the Park,” “The Odd Couple,” “The Sunshine Boys,” “Biloxi Blues,” “Plaza Suite,” “Lost in Yonkers.” By the time he died at age 91 in 2018, he his career included 28 Broadway plays, five musicals, 11 original screenplays and 14 film adaptations of his own work. The Library’s collection includes more than 180 titled works that Simon began, many of them completed but never published or produced.

Mississippi Author Jesmyn Ward: Winner of the 2022 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today that the 2022 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction will be awarded to Jesmyn Ward. The 45-year-old Mississippian is the two-time winner of the National Book Award for the novels “Salvage the Bones” and “Sing, Unburied, Sing” among other major literary awards.