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Gene Luen Yang on Becoming a Reluctant Basketball Fan

Author and Illustrator Gene Luen Yang loathed sports growing up, especially those that involved a ball, like basketball. His head seemed to be a magnet to any basketball; he wanted no part of the sport. All that changed when he read Kathleen Yep’s Outside the Paint about 1940s basketball in Chinatown. He connected with the characters of American-Chinese heritage, and soon found himself reading more about basketball. His dislike of the sport transformed … he even wrote his first non-fiction graphic novel about a high school basketball team in Dragon Hoops.

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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.