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Author Gene Luen Yang Visiting Duluth

January 11, 2018

UMD and the Duluth Public Library are welcoming author Gene Luen Yang on Monday, January 22.

Gene Yang

Yang is speaking to Lincoln Park Middle School’s sixth graders from 9:40 to 10:30 a.m. He’ll be available for interviews before his Lincoln Park Speaking engagement, from 9 - 9:30 a.m.

The author of American Born Chinese, the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award, is scheduled to speak at UMD later that evening. He’s presenting “We Need Diverse Books,”on January 22 from 6 - 8 p.m. in the Kirby Ballroom, 1120 Kirby Drive, with a book signing to follow. The event is free and open to the public.

“Gene is a dynamic and exciting speaker, an award-winning author, an advocate for diverse representation in literature, basically a literary rockstar,” exudes Kayleen Jones, a Kathryn A. Martin Librarian.

The Duluth Public Library’s Jocelyn Baker says Yang’s visit coincides with the genre’s popularity, “Graphic novels have become increasingly popular among young people and adults, and Gene Yang has been a part of that. We’re thrilled to have him here.”

Reading Without Walls

Yang’s visit is part of Duluth’s participation in Reading Without Walls, a nationwide program celebrating  reading and diversity. Readers are encouraged to explore books about characters who are different from them and read about topics and in genres they don’t know much about.

"Gene was our dream speaker for this program, and we’re so excited to welcome him to Duluth,” says Jones. “As the 2016-17 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, he is the voice and face of Reading Without Walls. Gene is the ideal speaker to help us celebrate the diversity of books and the diversity of our community of readers."

​​UMD initiated its Reading Without Walls involvement at the start of the 2017-18 school year and is partnering with the Duluth Public Library for several events.

"We’re excited about this program because we know that reading about other people’s experiences is a powerful way to develop empathy and compassion,” says Kathryn A. Martin Library librarian Kim Pittman. “It also provides an opportunity to partner with the Duluth Public Library in order to truly make this a community program. By choosing and sharing books with each other, we hope that this program helps build a local community of readers."

Examples of UMD students, staff, and faculty members’ Reading Without Walls experiences.

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