Jacqueline Woodson is the New National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Exciting news about an incredible author! Jacqueline Woodson is the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature!

 

According to the Library of Congress, in this position her role will be to ” raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.” Ambassadors have a two-year term and past ambassadors include Gene Luen Yang, Kate DiCamillo, Walter Dean Myers, Katherine Paterson and Jon Scieszka.

The inauguration ceremony was held on January 9th and presided over by Librarian of Congress Carla Haden:

 

This is a great time to read a Jacqueline Woodson book, on your own or with the little ones in your life. She has many amazing titles, but here are two favorites of mine I’d recommend starting with.

Her picture book “Each Kindness” is so thought provoking and would be a great read aloud for elementary-age children.EachKindnessI’ve read this one to many classes and it sparks wonderful discussions about the way we treat each other and the impact our kind acts can have in the world.

Her incredible memoir “Brown Girl Dreaming” is technically middle-grade, but I would definitely recommend this one to adults and kids alike:

BrownGirlDreaming

This book in verse is a beautifully written account of what is was like to grow up in the 1960s and 1970s in South Carolina and New York–told in a series of poems.

One of the reasons I’m so excited about Woodson taking on this role is I’m hopeful the “We Need Diverse Books” movement makes even more progress while she is ambassador. It is so important that kids see themselves in the books they read and that they also are able to put themselves in others’ shoes. More on that to come in the next few posts!

As Woodson said during the inauguration, “I think that books can change us. They can help us begin to have the bigger conversations. They can help us see worlds and identities and ideas that we’d never thought about before…”

You can watch the Inauguration Ceremony here:

 

It’s a long video and there are a lot of introductions. If you skip ahead to 29 minutes you can see Woodson receive the medal. She is then interviewed by the Librarian of Congress, shares her remarks, and takes questions from children in the audience.

To learn more about Jacqueline Woodson and her books, you can check out her great author website.  The librarian in me loves that she gears sections of it toward what children really want to learn about an author during research: “What is your favorite color?”, “Why do you love writing so much?”, “What are/were some of your favorite books?”, and “What is your favorite food?”. She even has a lengthy list of fun facts about herself. I’ll definitely be sharing this with the kids in my life.

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