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Gene sits down with award-winning YA author Jason Reynolds. They talk about the unusual story structure in All American Boys, the inspiration for the book, and how writing it emerged from a deep friendship (full of “uncomfortable, healthy conversations”) with his co-author, Brendan Kiely. With his book Ghost, Reynolds wanted to explore the whole concept of “running” — and what it means to run toward, or run away, from something.

Reynolds didn’t read his first book (Richard Wright’s Black Boy) until he was 17 years old. But he soaked up words and their power and beauty through rap lyrics, inspiring him to begin writing poetry. Reynolds also talks about the books and authors he wished he had read as a young teenager. There’s lots more to hear in this lively conversation between two writers — listen in!

Books by Jason Reynolds