Jason Reynolds, the Library of Congress’ ambassador for young people’s literature, in conversation with Jeffrey Brown at PBS NewsHour, shared an engaging slate of novels for the whole family. For Reynolds, this list captures the empathy that he seeks through fiction, particularly timely in this moment as our country grapples with racial injustice. Reynolds is the author of 13 books for young people, including Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, an adaptation for young readers of Ibram Kendi’s National Book Award-winning history, Stamped From the Beginning. Below is his recommended list for all readers–teachers, students and parents alike–to broaden their capacity for empathy towards others.
- Black Imagination: Black Voices on Black Futures by Natasha Marin
A collection of notes and moments by Black people naming what it means to be Black and the beauty of blackness.
- Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America
Edited by Ibi Zoboi
An anthology of stories about being young and Black in America.
- Honey, I Love by Eloise Greenfield
A beautifully illustrated poem reminding us of the simple joys of loving and living.
- Dry by Neal Shusterman
Dry is about what happens when humans use up natural resources.
- Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky
Poems addressing what happens in a world where no one can hear.
- The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles
A whodunit magical fantasy.
- A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow
Two young women use the siren song to change their community.
- Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
A story of family, struggle and reconciliation.
Bonus Reading: Here are two additional enticing summer reading lists to engage the whole family in reading.
- Mermaids, Werewolves and Witches: 6 New YA Novels Welcome Summer
- Books, Films and Podcasts About Racism, Not a Panacea
Bonus Activities: These PBS LearningMedia videos, activities and interactive games help to build vocabulary and reading comprehension while bringing storybook characters to life.