The Children’s Book Council, Every Child
a Reader, and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress announced yesterday that
two-time National Book Award finalist Gene Luen Yang will serve as the National Ambassador for Young
People’s Literature for the 2016-2017 term. Established in 2008, the program’s mission is to raise awareness of the importance of young people’s literature, and how great writing can positively impact a child’s life.
During his tenure, Yang will travel to schools and libraries nationwide promoting “Reading Without Walls,” a program aimed at showing kids, teens, and adults
that reading is vital nourishment, and how to achieve a lifelong love of reading.
Previous ambassadors include authors Jon Scieszka (2008–2009), Katherine Paterson (2010–2011),
Walter Dean Myers (2012–2013), and Kate DiCamillo (2014–2015). (NPR ran a great interview with Yang yesterday–listen here.)
Yang is setting the bar ever higher for new waves of graphic novelists: his graphic novel American Born Chinese was the first-ever to be nominated for the National Book Award, and Yang is the first graphic novelist to be named National Ambassador
for Young People’s Literature.
The inauguration ceremony will be held on Thursday, January 7 at 11
a.m. in room LJ-119 of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building,
10 First St. S.E., Washington D.C. The event is open to the public.