All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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A video interview with

Gene Yang

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Graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang wrestled with his identity growing up, but he’s made the Chinese-American experience one of the main subjects of his critically acclaimed work. One of the 2016 MacArthur Fellowship winners and the 2016 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Yang sits down with Jeffrey Brown from PBS NewsHour to discuss his childhood, his love of coding, and the feeling of being an outsider.

Bio

Gene Luen Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 2006, his graphic novel, American Born Chinese — a memoir about growing up as an Asian American — became the first graphic novel to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award. He is the author of the Secret Coders series and has written for the hit comics Avatar: The Last Airbender and Superman. In 2016, Yang was named the 5Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and selected as a MacArthur Fellow.

To learn more, visit Gene Yang's official website.

You might also want to watch Gene's video blog, Reading Without Walls, on Reading Rockets. Gene sits down with authors and illustrators (including some of his favorite graphic novel creators) that he meets as he travels the country in his role as ambassador.

Selected Books

from Gene Yang


American Born Chinese

Age Level: 9-12

Three storylines — contemporary and mythic — intersect in this tale of a boy who is not comfortable with his culture or himself. This fresh, sometimes surprising, revealing novel is told in image and text. This graphic novel was the first of its format to win the Printz Award for best work of Young Adult Literature.

Buy American Born Chinese


Level Up

Age Level: 14-16

Dennis Ouyang struggles with the burden of his dead father's orders that he study hard, go to med school, and become a gastroenterologist. When Dennis, inspired by four mysterious angels, gives up his passion—video games—and buckles down to his studies, he befriends three fellow second-generation students and begins to make a place in med school. But a crisis in confidence reveals the true nature of his guardian angels, and the real source of his father's dreams for his only son.

Buy Level Up


Boxers & Saints

Age Level: 14-16

In two volumes, Boxers & Saints tells two parallel stories. The first is of Little Bao, a Chinese peasant boy whose village is abused and plundered by Westerners claiming the role of missionaries. Little Bao, inspired by visions of the Chinese gods, joins a violent uprising against the Western interlopers. Against all odds, their grass-roots rebellion is successful. But in the second volume, Yang lays out the opposite side of the conflict. A girl whose village has no place for her is taken in by Christian missionaries and finds, for the first time, a home with them. As the Boxer Rebellion gains momentum, Vibiana must decide whether to abandon her Christian friends or to commit herself fully to Christianity.

Buy Boxers & Saints


Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise

Age Level: 9-12

Aang and friends must join together once again as the four nations’ tenuous peace is threatened in an impasse between Fire Lord Zuko and Earth King Kuei! As the world heads toward another devastating war, Aang’s friendship with Zuko throws him into the middle of the conflict.

Buy Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise