In exciting news, the Library of Congress, the Children's Book Council, and the Every Child a Reader foundation recently named Gene Luen Yang as the next Ambassador for Young People's Literature. He follows in the footsteps of great authors like Jon Scieszka, Katherine Patterson, Walter Dean Myers, and Kate DiCamillo. However, unlike these writers, Yang is a writer of graphic novels. His work is complex and often touches on issues of identity (among other compelling themes). In his acceptance speech, he discussed what it means to be an "ambassador" and ways in which books, themselves, are ambassadors. He said:
Books can be ambassadors for you, too. Books can help you understand people from other cultures, religions, even ways of living. Books can help you understand topics that you find intimidated. Books can even be ambassadors for other kinds of books.
He went on to suggest that readers open themselves up to the possibilities contained within books that they may not have ever considered reading. His motto for his term as ambassador is "Read without walls," meaning:
Let me end by encouraging you to read without walls. Find a book with someone on the cover who doesn't look like you or live like you. Find a book about a topic that you don't know much about. Find a book that's in a format you've never tried before: a graphic novel, a words-only novel, or a novel in verse. Read without walls and see what happens. I bet it'll be something amazing.
To something amazing,