Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Appreciations, Kate! Hello Gene! by J.G. Annino

In many U.S. states & other places where this
blog reaches, it is cold and wet.
Any gray blahs of winter can be banished by
a warm welcome for the new National Young
People’s Literature Ambassador affiliated
with the Library of Congress.

On January 7, 2016 the successor to Ambassador
Kate DiCamillo visited room L-119 in the
Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of
Congress to accept the honor.   
Widely popular author/comics illustrator Gene Luen Yang met widely popular author
Kate DiCamillo, who praised him in this statement from the Library of Congress -

“Gene Yang is a talented writer. He is a brilliant artist. 
His stories are thought-provoking, genre-bending, utterly original 
examinations of the human heart. In short, Gene Yang is a 
renaissance man. I am so honored to pass the torch of this sacred 
task to Gene. No one is better suited for bringing us all together.” 

So, appreciations outgoing laureate, KATE DICAMILLO.
Here is a lovely visit with her conducted for
The Horn Book in November 2015. We are glad you will
have more time to imagine, create, & write more books. And, did everyone
here at Group Blog have a chance to read her August, 2015 release? Go!

GENE LUEN YANG is familiar with kids+reading+schools, as he
has enlivened many hours in the classroom for students
as a Bay Area computer science, math and art teacher.
He now is an educator, not only as the U.S. Young
People's Literature Ambassador for the next two years, but
also but with Hamline University’s Children’s and 

He says his focus is the intersection of stories and
illustration. Although he is famous for award-winning graphic novels,
he says he is interested in what makes most readers of this blog
pay attention - picture books. 
Although I couldn't find that he has published a picture book, I'm hoping
that the youngest readers will be gifted with his first children's picture
book not too far away.

Gene re-invented the Pat-A-Cake child’s
rhyme for his contribution in NURSERY RHYME COMICS &
he is one of the cut-ups who contributed to COMICS SQUAD.

In addition to our welcome today, Gene has been applauded 
in many articles posted online & here are only two.

One of his many honors is that he earned Young
People's Literature category finalist status, in the National Book Awards
in the same year that his AMERICAN BORN CHINESE graphic
novel (not autobiographical as
many people assume) of three stories,
won the coveted ALA teen book honor,
the Michael L. Printz Award (named for a Topeka, Kansas librarian
and active children's literature specialist, who
in his short life, discovered author Chris Crutcher.)

I hope during his two years, Gene Luen Yang is able to visit a school, bookstore, library
or book conference near you - and me :) Thank you for taking on this important job, Gene!
While waiting for him to visit, you can listen to this podcast.

                                      official photo of Gene Luen Yang, from First Second Books


  1. Wonderful pick for the new Ambassador!

  2. Thanks for all of the terrific links, Jan. Time to check Gene out!

  3. I enjoyed listening to a National Public Radio broadcast about him. Hope to meet him some day.
    Will miss Kate but she will have so much more time to write, now.

  4. Thank you for this summary of the transition from Kate to Gene! I've not read his comics yet...

    1. Tina, It's a big change genrewise & I think Kate's endorsement says it all. Truly a fabulous next Ambassador. Appreciations for your comments, always.

  5. Interesting. I'm not familiar with his work, and I don't think my son has read any of his graphic novels. Will have to check him out! Thanks for the heads up!

    1. Hey Jilanne! How is your junior artist/reader doing with projects
      in the New Year. And, delighted to see his author/mom here.

      I think it speaks volumes that Gene was involved with the creative group assembled for the COMICS SQUAD. We are going to love what
      he does with young readers. He's there for them & they will love him.

  6. He and his work sound delightful. Good to have a little more info about him.

    1. Thank you & glad to hear this Sherri. I feel young readers will appreciate his 2 years in the job. Actually, I feel we all will!

  7. He and his work sound delightful. Good to have a little more info about him.