On Being a Literary Ambassador to Children

Jacuqeline Woodson, the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. (Photo by Jason Speakman via Brooklyn Daily)

Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson will travel the nation over the next two years as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a position to which she was recently named by the Library of Congress, writes Julianne McShane in Brooklyn Daily.

Bushwick-born Woodson won the National Book Award in 2014 for her memoir, “Brown Girl Dreaming,”  and was a finalist for that award for her 2016 book, “Another Brooklyn.” She’s also a two-time winner of the Coretta Scott King award, which honors African-American authors who write about the Black experience for a youth audience.

In her role as literary ambassador, Woodson will travel to schools and libraries — as well as less-expected venues, such as prisons and juvenile-detention centers — to converse with young bookworms from all backgrounds about how books have changed them in an effort to forge connections between readers, she said.

“I would love to go to prisons, I would love to go to juvenile-detention centers, group homes, any place where people have not had the same kinds of opportunities to gather and talk about literature and feel safe,” she said.

The author told Brooklyn Daily about the message she will convey to young people.

“Reading gives us hope. When we read about the people who came before us and fictional characters who overcome the odds, it gives us this sense of what we can do ourselves,” said Woodson, who lives in Park Slope. “When we have hope and information, we can create change.”

Go to Brooklyn Daily to read what Woodson hopes to accomplish in the position over the next two years, as well as her views about Brooklyn and the neighborhood of Crown Heights in particular – the setting for her forthcoming novel, “The Dream of America.”

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