Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

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 selection, made by the Librarian of Congress, is based on recommendations from an independent committee comprising educators, librarians, booksellers and children’s literature experts.

The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is an initiative of the Library of Congress, in partnership with Every Child a Reader and the Children's Book Council, with generous support from Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

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

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
  • Dedication to fostering children’s literacy as a whole, beyond their own body of work

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Selection Committee

The members of the 2020–21 selection committee for the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature are:

  • Emma Kantor, associate children’s book editor at Publishers Weekly
  • Philip Nel, university distinguished professor of English and director of the Graduate Program in Children's Literature at Kansas State University
  • Cristina Nosti, director, events and marketing at Books & Books
  • Karli Pederson, children’s librarian and acquisitions and serials manager at Milwaukee Public Library
  • Laura Pegram, founding editor in chief and publisher of Kweli Journal
  • Eva Volin, supervising children's librarian at Alameda Free Library, Alameda, California
  • Jacqueline Woodson, 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, bestselling and award-winning author