Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Name is Jason. Mine Too. Our Story. Our Way. by Jason Reynolds & Jason Griffin

A book of poetry and art
created by two friends,
one black
the other white,
one an artist
the other a poet.
Bound together
by their brotherhood of friendship,
frequent nights of cereal for dinner,
struggles to make rent,
and big dreams.


I recently attended a book event at Literati Bookstore and had the privilege of listening to Jason Reynolds speak. He is currently on tour promoting his new novel When I Was the Greatest and if his reading a snippet of that novel weren't enough to convince me that I need to read that book RIGHT NOW, I also discovered this little-known gem after I went home and researched some of his previous work. What a wonderful premise for a book! 

My Name is Jason has an almost multi-genre feel to it even though it is mostly a book of poetry. Jason Griffin's art is raw and confessional and Reynolds's writing has an equally confessional style, which is further evidenced by some poems that are handwritten and even have words crossed out in
My name is Jason.
One of many confessional moments
places, adding to its rawness. This is like no book I've ever read before and in my opinion should be on the shelf of every high school and college library in America. It celebrates friendship and diversity, examines the price you pay for choosing a less-than-stable career path, encourages you to follow your dreams, and does all these things without being cliché. I have a feeling a great many teenagers and young adults would identify with this book. It's a shame this book wasn't marketed more, which is further proof that the #WeNeedDiverseBooks twitter campaign that was trending this week is very much needed. Publishers please, I'm begging you: start embracing and marketing books like this. It's time you understood that people WANT to see diversity in the books they buy because, as you can see from the following picture, we want to nurture more friendships like Jason and Jason. This beautiful picture is one of many that I recently saw on a BuzzFeed post called 18 Adorable Reasons We Need Diverse Books.

My Name is Jason. Mine Too. Our Story. Our Way. by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin
Published: April 21, 2009
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 96
Genre: Poetry
Audience: Young Adult
Disclosure: Library Copy

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