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The Library of Congress has named acclaimed cartoonist Gene Luen Yang as its national ambassador for young people’s literature. It marks the first time a graphic novelist has been selected since the position was established in 2008.
A two-time National Book Award finalist, he is perhaps best known for his graphic novels American Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints, and for his work on Dark Horse’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. Yang, who’s won a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and two Eisner Awards, began writing DC Comics’ Superman in June.
According to the Library of Congress website, the national ambassador for young people’s literature “raises national 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.”
“One of the things I’m supposed to do as ambassador is promote great books,” Yang told The Washington Post, “and because I’m from the world of graphic novels … I have to give them a little bit of an extra push.”
Yang will be inaugurated as the new ambassador at an even held Thursday in Washington, D.C. Previous appointees to the two-year position were Jon Scieszka, Katherine Paterson, Walter Dean Myers and Kate DiCamillo.