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Author and Illustrator Gene Luen Yang's "Awesome Shelf" of Books

From the time he could read and started loving books, Author and Illustrator Gene Luen Yang has kept an “awesome shelf” of books. As a kid, the shelf might have included non-fiction books, books about young adventurers and inventors, and comic books. As an adult, one author on his shelf writes about the tension between the East and West, which speaks to him particularly because of his Chinese-American heritage. A book he read in college, Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics inspired him to pursue writing and illustrating graphic novels; he was convinced the medium of comics/graphic novels could carry any story he wanted to tell.

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Gene Luen Yang

Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Nonfiction, Graphic Novels

Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang writes, and sometimes draws, comic books and graphic novels. 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 and a National Book Award finalist. His two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints  won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award finalist. His other works include Dragon Hoops , the Secret Coders series  (with Mike Holmes), The Shadow Hero  (with Sonny Liew), New Super-Man from DC Comics (with various artists), and the Avatar: The Last Airbender  series from Dark Horse Comics (with Gurihiru) and Superman Smashes the Klan (with Gurihiru).

In 2016, Yang was named the 5th National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and selected as a MacArthur Fellow.