Author: Jason Reynolds and the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing

Thursday, 2/25/2021
5:00 - 5:45
Virtual Library

Online Services
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

Winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent, an 2017 NAACP Image Award and multiple other honors, author Jason Reynolds spent 2020 serving as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, sharing his transformative journey as a writer—and a reader—with youth during a year of previously unimaginable transformation. Join us for a landmark lecture and creative exploration of the theme of “transformation”—and prepare to be transformed.


Author of National Book Award finalist Ghost, the Newbery Honor Award-winning Long Way Down, the acclaimed graphic novel Miles Morales: Spider-man and numerous other titles for middle grade and young adult readers, Reynolds presents the 25th Effie Lee Morris Lecture. Reynolds, also the New York Times best-selling author of All American Boys and the Track series, collaborated with historian Ibram X. Kendi on Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism and You, a 2020 youth version of Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.


Jason Reynolds was born in Washington, DC, grew up in Oxon Hill, Maryland, and earned a degree in English from the University of Maryland. Although he started writing poems when he was nine years old, he has often said that he didn’t start out loving reading. It bored him. He was 17 ½ years old when he read the electrifying opening of Richard Wright’s Black Boy, and saw what words on the page could do.


Now, that’s what Reynolds tries to do for his readers: capture their attention, bring them directly into the story, gain their trust and give them doorways into new experiences. His stories and poems paint vivid word pictures, often using only a few familiar words. As he has said about introducing poetry to young people, “Perhaps they will know they need not fear a thing created to love them, and for them to love.”


The Effie Lee Morris Lecture series—produced in partnership among SFPL's Main Children's Center, SFPL's African American Center, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and the SF Human Rights Commission—is committed to highlighting the lived experiences of writers, readers and communities of color through the words and images produced by some of today’s most talented and engaging authors and illustrators of books for youth. Additionally, this lecture series is presented with the support of the Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco chapter, of which Effie Lee Morris was a founding member.


Connect with Jason Reynolds - Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook 

This event will only be available for viewing for a limited time, so plan to attend this special evening in real time. YouTube Live


Engage with your favorite writers and discover your next read through the Library's programs.

Discover new titles, share inspiring works and participate in challenges and contests. 

More Than a Month SFPL's Black History Month celebration recognizes important historical events, honors community and national leaders and fosters steps towards collective change. Programming features authors, poets and craft classes for all ages. More Than a Month begins in January in time for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday weekend, and runs all throughout February.

This program is sponsored by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Attending Programs

Questions about the program or problems registering? Contact For accommodations (such as ASL interpretation or captioning), call (415) 557-4557 or contact Requesting at least 72 hours in advance will help ensure availability.

Public Notice and Disclaimer

This program uses a third-party website link. By clicking on the third-party website link, you will leave SFPL's website and enter a website not operated by SFPL. This service may collect personally identifying information about you, such as name, username, email address, and password. This service will treat the information it collects about you pursuant to its own privacy policy. We encourage you to review the privacy policies of each third-party website or service that you visit or use, including those third parties with whom you interact through our Library services. For more information about these third-party links, please see the section of SFPL’s Privacy Policy describing Links to Other Sites.

The views and opinions expressed in programs presented by groups unaffiliated with SFPL do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SFPL or the City.