Alumnus Gene Luen Yang first graphic novelist to be named national ambassador for young people's literature
Cal State East Bay alumnus Gene Luen Yang (MS ’03, Education), a Printz Award winner and two-time National Book Award finalist, is the first graphic novelist to be named national ambassador for young people’s literature.
The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader will inaugurate the Cal State East Bay alumnus on Thursday, Jan. 7 in Washington, D.C.
The literary ambassador program was established by the three organizations in 2008 to highlight the importance of young people’s literature to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people. Yang will travel the country during a two-year term on his platform, “Reading Without Walls,” which encourages kids and teens to make reading a central part of their lives. Yang will also speak to parents, teachers and librarians about how to help children foster a lifelong love of reading.
Yang said he’s thrilled and humbled by this opportunity.
“Reading breaks down the walls that divide us,” Yang said. “By reading, we get to know people outside of our own communities. We gain knowledge others don’t expect us to have. We discover new and surprising passions.”
Born in Alameda and raised in the South Bay, Yang graduated from Cal State East Bay’s online master’s in education program in 2003. He taught computer science at Oakland's Bishop O’Dowd High School until last year, when he decided to dedicate more time to his writing and drawing. He continues to reside in the East Bay and is now working on “Superman” for DC Comics as well as his own young adult book series.