Authors You Should Know: Jason Reynolds

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Jason Reynolds is the author of When I Was the Greatest and The Boy in the Black Suit.  Reynolds, who was heavily influenced by the legendary Walter Dean Myers,  writes about the teens whose stories are too often missing from our shelves. Those teens, and others who just want a good read, will appreciate the authenticity of Reynolds’  characters, voice, and setting as well as his impressive ability to get his point across without hitting readers over the head with a lesson.

Readers who enjoy the work of Coe Booth, Torrey Maldonado, Sharon Draper, Paul Volponi, and Walter Dean Myers will likely enjoy books by Jason Reynolds.

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When I Was the Greatest

Ali is a boxer-in-training who mostly stays out of trouble, thanks in large part to his strict, hard-working mother and adorable little sister. His Bed-Stuy neighborhood, described as “good folks, with a little edge to them”, is low on guys for him to hang around with until Noodles and his brother Needles move in.  Needles has Tourette’s Syndrome but has some success controlling his outbursts after Ali’s mother teaches him to knit, hence his nickname.  When the boys get into a very exclusive, very adult party they quickly find themselves in over their heads with lasting impact for themselves and their families.

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The Boy in the Black Suit

After his mother dies and his father turns to alcohol to cope Matt Miller is over all the high school drama. His search for a job lands him a gig at Mr. Ray’s funeral home, a big improvement over the Cluck Bucket. Mr. Ray lets Mattie sit in on the funeral services and watching other people grieve at least makes Matty feel less alone. It’s at one of these funerals that Matt meets Lovey, a girl who has been through a lot but seems so strong. Lovey understands what Matt is going through and helps him move on.

Learn More:

 Jason Reynolds Author Page at Simon & Schuster

Jason Reynolds Twitter

Jason Reynolds on The Brown Bookshelf

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