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Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 2006, his graphic novel, American Born Chinese — a memoir about growing up as an Asian American — became the first graphic novel to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award. He is the author of the Secret Coders series and has written for the hit comics Avatar: The Last Airbender and Superman. In 2016, Yang was named the 5th National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and selected as a MacArthur Fellow. Visit Gene Yang's official website.

The National Ambassador for Young People's Literature raises awareness of the importance of young people's literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people. The initiative is sponsored by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader.

 

Two National Ambassadors for Young People's Literature, Sitting and Chatting

February 9, 2017

American-born Chinese Gene Yang sits down with Chinese-born American Katherine Paterson to talk about the books that most influenced them as readers and writers. Paterson — the child of Christian missionaries — spent her early years in Huai'an and Shanghai. Her first language was Chinese, but the books that she remembers most vividly from her childhood were the works of British writers such as A.A. Milne and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Paterson also talks about her beloved book, Bridge to Terabithia, and how writing that story helped her make sense of death — and it’s had the same impact on young readers. Her advice to young writers? Read, read, read.

To learn even more about Katherine Paterson, watch our video interview and browse a selected list of Paterson's books.

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"The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't." — Mark Twain