I had the pleasure of meeting Jason Reynolds in person when he was a writer in residence at Lesley University. He was working on his latest book, Look Both Ways, at the time and he shared two short stories that were a Master Class in “show don’t tell.” At that time, he had titled this middle-grade book of short stories as Walkers to describe the latchkey children who walked to school, and what happened during that brief unsupervised time.
Jason was as genuine, warm, and generous as I remember from when I had contacted him regarding contributing a post to Multicultural Children’s Book Day years ago. In 2015, I was working for the first time in collaboration with The Children’s Book Council to create a series of blog posts to highlight diversity authors and illustrators. Jason Reynolds’ publisher had offered him up to interview via email for this post.
Things were hopping for Jason in 2015 with The Boy in the Black Suit and the email slipped through the cracks, but when Jason found it, he responded with an “oops, this email got lost but hey, do you want me still do it?” Yes. Yes, I did. And he turned around the interview in 24 hours (it felt like). And I always appreciated that he was so nice about doing this interview for us because Multicultural Children’s Book Day was in its infancy back then.
And now that Jason Reynolds is BIG TIME, he’s the same person that he was pre-fame. In fact, the nice folks at Lesley University also talked about this phenomenon and marveled at how accessible he is for students. He’s the real deal, folks.
p.s. Related stuff ….
And my book talk:
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.