On January 4, 2016, the Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader announced the appointment of Gene Luen Yang as the fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2016-2017. Founding director of the Center for the Book (CFB) at the Library of Congress, John Y. Cole, offered the following remarks on Yang's appointment:
We are thrilled that Gene Luen Yang has agreed to be the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Gene's message of inclusion and acceptance of all people is especially relevant today.
An inauguration ceremony, presided by acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao and attended by 2014-15 National Ambassador Kate DiCamillo and 2008-09 National Ambassador Jon Scieszka, took place on Thursday, January 7, 2016, at 11 a.m. in Room LJ-119 of the Library of Congress's Thomas Jefferson Building. [View recording of inaugural ceremony.]
For his two-year term as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Gene Luen Yang traveled across American to promote his platform, "READING WITHOUT WALLS," showing kids and teens that reading is a vital part of their lives and speaking to parents, teachers, librarians—everyone invested in young people's literacy—about how better to connect with kids and teens and help them love reading.
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.
The national ambassador is selected for his or her contributions to young people’s literature, the ability to relate to kids and teens and dedication to fostering children’s literacy in all forms. The selection, made by the Librarian of Congress, is based on recommendations from an independent committee comprising educators, librarians, booksellers and children’s literature experts.