Return to Headlines

Outstanding Turn-Out For Young Adult Author Jason Reynolds

YA author

On the evening of Friday, April 26, 2019, the School District of University City welcomed New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds. Reynolds writes novels and poetry for young adult and middle-school audiences, including Ghost, a National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature.

The event was hosted in partnership with The Novel Neighbor and St. Louis Public Radio. Joining Reynolds on stage was Kameel Stanley, who most recently hosted the St. Louis Public Radio podcast We Live Here STL. More than 700 people attended the free and thought-provoking event.

“Jason brought an authentic presence to the audience,” said Superintendent Sharonica Hardin-Bartley. “He spoke about the power of knowing and believing in self, the importance of being true to what matters to you most, and most importantly, he was inspirational to other young people of color—while valuing all people. It was an amazing evening!”

Reynolds was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in neighboring Oxon Hill, Maryland. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in English. Like other kids his age, Reynolds found inspiration in rap music, which led him to start writing poetry at nine-years-old. He focused on poetry for the next two decades, only reading a novel cover-to-cover for the first time at age 17. He published several poetry collections before publishing his first novel, When I Was The Greatest, in 2014.

 Reynolds also has the unique ability to connect with middle school boy readers. On his website he writes:

 “Here's what I know: I know there are a lot — A LOT — of young people who hate reading. I know that many of these book haters are boys. I know that many of these book-hating boys, don't actually hate books, they hate boredom. If you are reading this, and you happen to be one of these boys, first of all, you're reading this so my master plan is already working (muahahahahahaha) and second of all, know that I feel you. I REALLY do. Because even though I'm a writer, I hate reading boring books too.”

 To learn more about Reynolds and his upcoming projects, be sure to visit: