Gene Luen Yang has been named the next National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress. Yang is the first writer who works primarily in graphic novels to be named ambassador.
“I’m thrilled and humbled to be appointed National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Reading breaks down the walls that divide us,” Yang said in a statement. Yang has made “reading without walls” the theme of his ambassadorship. Yang will be sworn in for a one-year term Thursday.
“By reading, we get to know people outside of our own communities. We gain knowledge others don’t expect us to have,” Yang continued. “We discover new and surprising passions. Reading is critical to our growth, both as individuals and as a society.”
Yang won the 2007 Printz Award for “American Born Chinese” and the L.A. Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature in 2014 for “Boxers & Saints,” a graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion.
In fall 2015, he launched the “Secret Coders” graphic novel series with Mike Holmes. The books, which will see their second installment this year, combines mystery and computer programming for middle-graders -- Yang’s day job is teaching programming to high school students.
The National Ambassador For Young People’s Literature program was launched in 2008 by the Library of Congress’ Center for the Book with the Children’s Book Council and the organization Every Child a Reader.
In his statement, Yang said: “The Children’s Book Council, Every Child a Reader, and Library of Congress all empower people by getting them to read. I’m honored to take up that mission myself and to carry on the amazing work of the ambassadors before me.”
The current amabssador, Kate DiCamillo, will be at the Thursday ceremony in Washington. Her term followed Walter Dean Myers, Kathering Pateson and Jon Scieszka.
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