I don’t think any of us could say we’re the same kid we once were, riding the school bus everyday, causing mischief with our friends in the school cafeteria. Change is the one thing that’s absolutely inevitable. It can be both a blessing and a curse. For this guy, growing up changed his life and set him on a road he never imagined for himself. It’s a reminder that we’ve all got something to give.
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Jason Reynolds was the kid who wasn’t exactly a star student. He didn’t keep up with reading assignments that were thrown at him every year. It wasn’t until he was seventeen that he read a full book. Now, as he speaks with seventh graders, he explains that it’s not his proudest moment. “The truth is my life was infinitely more difficult because I didn’t read any books… That’s my story,” Reynolds explains in a Washington Post article.
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Living in a small town in Maryland, Jason grew up amongst close family friends, stories of the local kids getting into trouble, and things you’d only hear on the streets of a small town. He was trying hard to gain a hold of Shakespeare and Moby Dick, but it wasn’t what Reynolds recognized in his own life. So that’s exactly what he began to do: write books based on a familiar idea and something that someone from a place like his town could relate to, like the popular Ghost, which tells the story of a young track runner escaping violence.
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After some obstacles and minor troubles along the way, he has nine published books. His latest book, and third out this year (whoa), called Long Way Down is about a young man trying to deal with his brother who died in a shooting. Reynolds has received countless awards like the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and several Coretta Scott King Book Award honors. This guy is basically unstoppable and it makes me feel unstoppable too.
Reynolds has a way of teaching us that we’ve all got something inside that we’re meant to share with others. He just gets us and the kids he writes for. “All I want kids to know is that I see them for who they are,” Reynolds explains with love and integrity. Sometimes it takes time to see the chances life gives us.
Feature Image Via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel