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The Doylestown Bookshop and Holicong Middle School are excited to welcome Gene Luen Yang, the National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature, to Holicong Middle School on Sunday, April 2 2017. You must register for the event below. Admission is free.
Doors open at 5:00pm
Event begins at 6:00pm
Initiated as a pilot program at the time Gene Luen Yang was appointed National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature, Reading Without Walls, a program to expand the range of books that children read, will launch and become an annual event beginning in April.
Reading Without Walls is designed to "celebrate reading and diversity" and encourage children to read books outside of their personal experience, books they might not have considered before. Structured as an educational challenge, the program encourages children to “read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you,” or to read “a book about a topic you don’t know much about,” or “a book in a format that they don’t normally read for fun, such as a chapter book, an audio book, a graphic novel, or a book in verse.” Once a challenge is completed children receive certificates and other rewards that mark their literary achievement.
In an interview with PW, Yang, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, who has had two graphic novels nominated for National Book Awards in Young People’s Literature, said that “[Reading Without Walls] started last January as an experimental pilot when I was appointed National Ambassador. Schools and libraries and bookstores put up displays and issued challenges. We want to make it easier for them.” Yang said the pilot program has led to the design of certificates of participation, posters, activity kits, puzzles, and other materials to promote the reading program.
“I announced Reading Without Walls program at the National Book Festival [last fall] with a speech on social media. People really ran with it and we’ve gotten a lot of feedback. Now we’re finalizing the program and supplying a lot of formal materials to teachers, retailers, and librarians that will help them get involved.”
Yang said that feedback from the pilot program has helped to expand the program to “reading in other languages. We’ll also have kits that encourage children to create their own poetry, novels and comics. We’re taking [the program] from reading without walls, to encouraging kids to make their own stories, outside of their walls.”
Gene began making comics and graphic novels in the fifth grade. In 2006, his book American Born Chinese became the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association's Printz Award. It also won an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album - New. In 2013, he released Boxers & Saints, a two volume graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion, which was nominated for a National Book Award and won the L.A. Times Book Prize. He has done a number of other comics, including Dark Horse Comics' continuation of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender and DC Comics' Superman. In addition to cartooning, he teaches creative writing through Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. For more information, please visit his website at geneyang.com.