Catawba County News

Group Discusses Writer Jason Reynolds

Group Discusses Writer Jason Reynolds

Published: February 11, 2021

How much do people generally know about black history? That question was raised in 2019 when the Catawba County Library hosted a movie series that touched on issues of race and looked at the lives of prominent African-Americans.

When attendees expressed interest in learning about black history beyond the brief coverage of well-known figures like Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr., the Catawba County Library launched a monthly Black History Discussion Group to meet the community’s desire to see Black History Month expanded beyond an annual February observation.

This month, the group will continue to widen its embrace of history when it gathers at 4 pm on Wednesday, February 17 for a live Zoom conversation about Jason Reynolds, a contemporary author and poet who writes for teens and middle-school-aged children. Reynolds’ works often give a voice to the experiences of black teens in a variety of contexts: family, school, athletics, violence, and self-discovery. They include As Brave As You, the four-novel Track series, Miles Morales: Spider-Man, and Long Way Down. Most recently, Reynolds has worked with Professor Ibram X. Kendi to adapt the award-winning adult non-fiction book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America for young adult audiences.

In 2020, supported by his contributions to youth literature, Reynolds was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress, an honor that allows the recipient frequent opportunities to talk to children nationwide about books and reading. The two-year appointment is sponsored by the Center for the Book and the Children's Book Council.

People who are interested in attending the Catawba County Library’s discussion are invited to watch two videos from Reynolds’ appearance at the 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival: and They’re also asked to register for the February 17 program by visiting or calling 828.465.8665. A link to the Zoom meeting will be sent via email.

In April, the Black History Discussion Group will talk about black poets in conjunction with National Poetry Month, and in May, the group will focus on lawyer and civil rights activist Thurgood Marshall, who became the US Supreme Court’s first African-American justice in 1967. The community is welcome to participate in both of these conversations as well.