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Every Child a Reader Announces the Launch of National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang’s “READING WITHOUT WALLS Challenge” Pilot Program

September 15, 2016


Beginning this fall, in preparation for the full roll-out of the Reading Without Walls Challenge for summer 2017, Every Child a Reader is testing the campaign at 25 schools and libraries from California to Maine who all requested an official event with the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang. Materials include a small poster and a student certificate, now also being made widely available to any schools, libraries, and bookstores interested in participating in this pilot program of the READING WITHOUT WALLS Challenge.

The READING WITHOUT WALLS Challenge encourages students to discover books outside their comfort zone. Readers of all ages can take up the challenge in one of three ways: by reading a book about a diverse character; by reading a book about an unfamiliar topic; or by trying a book in a new format. Bestselling graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang created the official READING WITHOUT WALLS Challenge as the fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, in keeping with his mission to promote diverse and inclusive stories.

The poster created by Yang shows two children sitting on steps of books and peering excitedly over a wall toward a vista of new opportunities and perspectives. The poster and certificate will be distributed to independent booksellers through the Indie Bound October Red Box. Librarians and educators may request copies from Every Child a Reader at no cost by writing to: Reading Without Walls Poster, Children’s Book Council, 54 W. 39th, 14th floor, NY, NY  10018. Please include a self-addressed mailing label. All materials are also downloadable at (The printed poster will be on durable paper stock.)

“The pilot program is designed to gather feedback about additional resources and materials needed to optimize the program and accompany a large poster for the national summer 2017 full roll-out. The pilot is also another step in building excitement about the power of reading diversely. We are so grateful to Gene for this great idea filled with his passion, his art, and his heart,” says Shaina Birkhead, Director of Programming at the Children’s Books Council and Every Child a Reader.

About Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade; he began making comics professionally over fifteen years ago. In 2006, his graphic novel American Born Chinese (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/First Second Books) became the first graphic novel to be a finalist 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. In 2013, Boxers & Saints (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/First Second Books), his two-volume graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion, was a National Book Award finalist and won the L.A. Times Book Prize. Gene has also won an Eisner for The Eternal Smile, a collaboration with Derek Kirk Kim. He is the author of the Secret Coders series (with artist Mike Holmes) and has written for the hit comics Avatar: The Last Airbender and Superman. Yang lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Learn more at

About the National Ambassador Program

The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Program was established in 2008 by the Children’s Book CouncilEvery Child a Reader, and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The program is administered by Every Child a Reader. Over the last eight years, the National Ambassador Program has reached millions of young readers and their caregivers in the United States. Visit for more information.

About Every Child a Reader

Every Child a Reader is a 501(c)3 charitable literacy organization dedicated to inspiring a lifelong love of reading in children and teens. Sponsored and staffed by the Children’s Book Council, Every Child a Reader creates and supports programs that strive to make the reading and enjoyment of children’s books an essential part of America’s educational and social aims. The cornerstone programs are as follows: Children’s Book Week, a nationwide celebration of reading and the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country; the Children’s Choice Book Awards, the only national book awards program where the winning titles are selected by kids and teens of all ages; and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Program, the country’s “Children’s Literature Laureate.”

About the Children’s Book Council

The Children’s Book Council is the nonprofit trade association for children’s book publishers in North America, and is the sponsor for Every Child a Reader programs. The CBC offers children’s publishers the opportunity to work together on issues of importance to the industry at large, including diversity, career development, literacy advocacy, and partnerships with other national organizations. Our members span the spectrum from large international houses to smaller independent presses. The CBC is proud to collaborate with other book-related associations on co-sponsored reading lists, educational programming, and literacy initiatives. Please visit for more information.


Media Contact:
Emma Kantor, Communications Coordinator
The Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader

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