Tuesday, March 17, 2015

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds may be one of the coolest authors ever. He has an awesome blog and tumblr that he updates regularly, he was the 2015 winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award for When I Was The Greatest, and was recently featured on Beyonce's blog! Now if Queen B thinks he is awesome, then he must be.

What I loved about this novel was that even though it featured the elements you would "expect" in an urban novel - violence, drinking and drugs, gangs, and so on - that's not at all what the book was about. Instead, Reynolds’ tells a gentler story that focuses on the power of friendship, the importance of family, and loyalty. The topic of family stood out to me the most because family plays a role in everyones lives, especially teens, but often is ignored ignored in young adult literature for the sake of plot and romance. I also really liked how Reynolds included strong adults in this book who served as role models and mentors. What I particularly liked was how these adults have all made mistakes and not only do they own up to them, but they talk about how much they’ve learned from their past. It shows how every mistake is a learning experience and how there is always room to grow in every situation.

I am so excited that Jason Reynolds will be attending TBF and I hope that I will be able to attend his talk!

1 comment:

  1. STOP IT THAT HE WAS FEATURED ON BEYONCES BLOG! You're right, if Queen B thinks he's great then he must be my new favorite author.
    I really like how you talked about the idea of strong adults that serve as role models and mentors. While I'm reading these novels for class I am constantly reminded of the reasons of why I want to become a teacher, and this is one of these reasons. There are different types of strong in this world. Strong could be doing whatever means necessary to be able to feed your family. Strong could be sticking up for your friends and family against someone else. I'm constantly thinking about what our definition of "strong adult" is as an educator. It's important to be a positive role model for your students and serve as another strong adult in their life, but in a different way!