Award-winning author Jason Reynolds has a simple message for young adults.
"At the end of the day, I'm no different. I'm not exceptional in any way. If there is a difference, the only difference between myself and them is that I was able to own my story and turn it into a vehicle to make space for my life and the lives of others,” Reynolds said.
He shared that message during a talk and question and answer session with students at Dutton-Brady School on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Reynolds is currently the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.
The visit is one of three he's making to schools in Montana as part of the first in-person leg of his "GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story" tour to promote literacy and have meaningful conversations with young adults.
Dutton-Brady School English teacher Lisette Hofer applied last fall to bring Reynolds to the school, not thinking the school would actually be selected.
"He just wants to talk to the kids, wants to get to know their environment, and I thought that was awesome. What kind of person wants to come in and just meet these kids for who they are? He wants to know their stories,” said Hofer.
Along with Jason's visit to the school, the school also gets the temporary use of a Short Story Cube.
It allows students to write stories and have them printed out. Jason will get a copy of each of the stories and the stories will also be entered into the Library of Congress.
"Jason was so gracious and sent us a couple copies of all of his books, so I'm really hoping to use those books in the classroom next year as independent reads or as partner reads or as small group literature circle reads,” said Hofer.
Along with his message, Reynolds offered this advice for young people.
"At the end of the day, your voice is the most valuable voice that ever existed in the world because it belongs to you. there's no need to pretend or be like anybody else. Just do your thing and your thing will make space,” said Reynolds.
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