Gene Luen Yang named national ambassador for young readers

CCTV News

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Cartoonist, author, teacher and self-described nerd Gene Luen Yang, a Chinese-American writer, has received a distinguished literary honor both for his books and for inspiring young people to read.

CCTV America’s Malini Wilkes reports from Washington.

Gene Luen Yang named national ambassador for young readers

Gene Luen Yang named national ambassador for young readers

Cartoonist, author, teacher and self-described nerd Gene Luen Yang, a Chinese-American writer, has received a distinguished literary honor both for his books and for inspiring young people to read. CCTV America's Malini Wilkes reports from Washington.

Yang is a cartoonist and author of graphic novels for young people – books that he said reflect his own identity.

The U.S. Library of Congress has named Yang its National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. He received his inaugural medal from the Library’s acting director, David Mao – who is also Chinese American.

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“He’s very very energetic. He’s committed. He has a passion for teaching children,” Mao said.

Yang’s best-known book is titled “American Born Chinese”– a story about struggling to belong.

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“Almost every superhero has two different identities. Superman is both superman and Clark Kent. Batman is both batman and Bruce Wayne. And they have to live their lives in a way where they negotiate these two identities you know. And that was true of me as an immigrants kid,” Yang said.

“I had one name at home. I had another name at school. And when I went from home to school I was actually traveling from one set of cultural expectations to another set of cultural expectations.”

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Yang will spend the next two years traveling the U.S. to promote reading to young people.