Banned Books Week has just announced Jason Reynolds as the inaugural Honorary Chair for this year’s Banned Books Week. Reynolds, an award-winning and bestselling author, will be headlining the event, which will take place September 26 – October 2, 2021.
Reynolds is no stranger to censorship and the fight for access to books. This year two of his books, All American Boys and Stamped, were included on the American Library Association’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020. In addition to being an award-winning novelist receiving a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, an NAACP Image Award, and several Coretta Scott King Award honors, Reynolds has written in the comics realm. In 2017, Reynolds wrote the novel Miles Morales: Spider-Man.
In the Banned Books Week announcement Reynolds commented on this year’s theme, “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” In his words, it is a theme that is “so simple, yet so powerful.” He elaborated that books “can connect us culturally, it can connect gender to gender, it can connect person to person, social-economic statuses…” Reynolds also weighed in on the ways censorship can be harmful,
Any time we eliminate or wall off certain narratives, we are not getting a whole picture of the world in which we live. And navigating the world in a way that is closed-off, closed-minded, is poisonous. It means that we limit our vocabulary, which complicates how we communicate with one another. We have to celebrate stories and ensure that all books have a space on the shelves and the opportunity to live in the psyches of our children, as they grow into the human beings who will inherit this wonderful place.
You can watch the full announcement video with Jason Reynolds below.
ABOUT JASON REYNOLDS
Jason Reynolds is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, a two-time National Book Award finalist, a Kirkus Award winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. He’s also the 2020–2021 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. His many books include Stamped, When I Was the Greatest, The Boy in the Black Suit, All American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely), As Brave as You, For Every One, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), Look Both Ways, and Long Way Down, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Honor. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com
ABOUT THE BANNED BOOKS WEEK COALITION
The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship.