Gene Luen Yang has racked up a lot of honors for his work—first graphic novel to be shortlisted for a National Book Award (for American Born Chinese), first cartoonist to be shortlisted TWICE (second time for Boxers and Saints), and he’s won an Eisner, a PRinzt Award and in general become one of th best among us. And now he’s the first graphics novelist to be named as the Library of Congress’s Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, as the Times reports.
Mr. Yang’s broad appeal propelled him to the top of the list of potential ambassadors, said Jon Colman, executive director of the Children’s Book Council, which established the program with its foundation, Every Child a Reader, and the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. Like previous ambassadors, including Kate DiCamillo, the author of “Because of Winn-Dixie” and “The Tale of Despereaux,” Mr. Yang will serve a two-year term and appear at events like the Children’s Choice Book Awards, where he will announce the winners in May.
He will also promote Reading Without Walls, a platform he developed with the book council and his publisher, First Second, that aims to excite young people about reading outside their comfort zones. “A huge part of being a kid is exploring the world,” he said. “Books are a bridge between them and what might be unfamiliar.”
Yang is one of the most gracious and professional cartoonists out there, and he’s a smart choice as ambassador for anything.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.