Jacqueline Woodson Is Named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Carla Hayden, the 14th Librarian of Congress, said she knew Ms. Woodson would be a natural fit because she had seen her interact with young readers at Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, where Ms. Hayden was chief executive.

“She respected young adults and cared about what they said,” Ms. Hayden said in a statement to The Times.

Ms. Woodson, who is publishing a new middle grade novel and a picture book this year, said she was persuaded to take on the position after talking to Gene Luen Yang, a graphic novelist who was the ambassador for Young People’s Literature from 2016 to 2017. “He had to talk me into saying yes,” Ms. Woodson said.

Before Mr. Yang, the position was held by Jon Scieszka, Katherine Paterson, Walter Dean Myers and Kate DiCamillo.

An inauguration ceremony is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Jan. 9, at the Library of Congress.

Ms. Woodson said that as she travels the country and speaks to children and teenagers in coming months, she plans to emphasize how books can drive change and instill hope in young readers.

“For young people who are very stressed about the future, who have this sense of disempowerment, who don’t know what’s coming next, my big quest is for them to remain hopeful,” she said. “When you come to literature, it does allow you an escape from the world if that’s what you need, but it also changes you. You’re different than when you started that book.”

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