Reading Without Walls: A Nationwide Program Celebrating Reading and Diversity

Reading Without Walls

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang calls us all to read Without Walls, exploring books about characters who look or live differently than you, topics you haven’t discovered, or formats that you haven’t tried.

Gene Luen Yang, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a graphic novelist, former teacher, and father, is encouraging readers to think and read outside the box. As Ambassador, his platform is simple and profound: to encourage readers everywhere and every age to "Read Without Walls" — exploring books about characters who look or live differently than you, topics you haven’t discovered, or formats that you haven’t tried.


“Reading is a fantastic way to open your minds and hearts to new people, places, and ideas. I’ve met new friends, learned new facts, and become a better person.”

— Gene Luen Yang


Take the Reading Without Walls challenge!

It’s easy to participate in Reading Without Walls! Just find something new and different to read — and let the books open up the world around you.

What can YOU do to read without walls?

1. Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you or live like you.

2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about.

3. Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun ­ — a chapter book, a graphic novel, a book in verse, or an audio book.

Visit the Reading Without Walls website to learn more about the challenge (and don't forget to download the Activity Kit).

The Reading Without Walls Challenge first launched in April 2017. Every April, we'll encourage you to take the challenge in your communities, libraries, schools — everywhere that books and readers get connected. Follow the #ReadingWithoutWalls conversation on Twitter, and tell all your friends about the awesome new books you're reading!

Finding books

We have a library of more than 5,000 books on Reading Rockets. You can browse the library through our themed booklists, summer reading lists, and holiday buying guides.

You can also search for books through our new Book Finder tool.

To get you started, we've created a series of topical booklists that offer a wide range of genres and formats. Take a look!

About Gene

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.

Reading Rockets is proud to host Gene's Reading Without Walls video blog, where you'll get to listen in to his funny and insightful interviews with lots of cool authors and illustrators (Raina Telgemeier, Katherine Paterson, and Kate DiCamillo to name just a few).

Reading Rockets (2017)


You are welcome to print copies or republish materials for non-commercial use as long as credit is given to Reading Rockets and the author(s). For commercial use, please contact [email protected]

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"Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear." —

Judy Blume