According to his publisher, Simon & Schuster, “Jason Reynolds is crazy. About stories.”

Having heard him speak recently, I’d say he’s crazy about sharing characters that eat his food, talk like him, like his music, and experience the pressures of real life in American cities. Kids who have never read books on their own pick up his books enthusiastically.

His complex characters learn humility, grow through intimate friendships, and find value in expressing gratitude. They all have important stories to tell. Those stories are never boring.

Those stories can be painfully topical. All American Boys (with coauthor Brendan Kiely) is a young adult novel that examines a specific instance of police brutality from the perspectives of two high school classmates. Its language and plot are not sugarcoated.

I recommend begin reading—and discussing—his books with your child, aged 10 and up. Start with Ghost about a 7th grade runner who is running away from more than another competitor on the track. You together may discover a lot about yourselves.

For more about the author and his many, many prize-winning books and series, visit http://www.jasonwritesbooks.com. (Oh, yeah, there is also his Marvel comic series beginning with Jason Morales Spiderman, released this summer: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32793053-miles-morales.)

But don’t wait to read this author with your child. Read him for yourself!

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