National Ambassador for Young People's Literature | Jacqueline Woodson

The position of National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature was created to raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.

The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is named by the Librarian of Congress for a two-year term, based on recommendations from a selection committee representing many segments of the book community. The selection criteria include the candidate’s contribution to young people’s literature and ability to relate to children.

The Library of Congress, the Children's Book Council, and Every Child a Reader, a 501 (c)(3) literacy organization dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children, are the sponsors of the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature initiative.

The National Ambassador program was established in 2008 with the naming of Jon Scieszka. Learn more about current and former ambassadors in the ambassador and emeritus sections.

Selection Criteria

  • Author or illustrator of fiction or nonfiction books
  • U.S. citizen, living in the United States
  • Excellent and facile communicator
  • Dynamic and engaging personality
  • Known ability to relate to children; communicates well and regularly with them
  • Someone who has made a substantial contribution to young people’s literature
  • Stature; someone who is revered by children and who has earned the respect and admiration of his or her peers

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Selection Committee

The members of the 2018–19 selection committee for the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature are:

  • DeAndra Beard, CEO and founder of Beyond Borders Language Learning Center (Kokomo, Indiana).
  • Sarah Park Dahlen, associate professor in the Master of Library and Information Science Program at St. Catherine University (St. Paul, Minnesota).
  • Earl Dizon, bookseller at Green Bean Books, a children’s bookstore (Portland, Oregon).
  • Travis Jonker, elementary school librarian (Dorr, Michigan) and School Library Journal blogger.
  • Starr LaTronica, director of the Brooks Memorial Library (Brattleboro, Vermont).
  • Ellen Ruffin, curator of the de Grummond Collection, University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg, Mississippi).
  • Gene Luen Yang, Printz Award-winning author, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature 2016–17 (Berkeley, California).