Gene Luen Yang is the author of the graphic novel American Born Chinese. His story, intended for young reads and older readers alike, is one of the most talked-about graphic novels in recent years.
Gene Luen Yang was just appointed National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Over at BoingBoing, his entire acceptance speech is posted.
Here's a sample of it that I absolutely love:
When my editor Mark Siegel called me up in October to tell me that I would be appointed National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, I freaked out. I was really excited, but I also wondered, what exactly is an ambassador?
I knew ambassadors wore fancy suits and fancy medals, but what exactly do they do?
I had a few e-mail exchanges with my predecessor Kate DiCamillo and she was incredibly helpful. I also turned to that source of answers that all nerds turn to in times of need: comic books.
Comic books don’t have the answers to all of life’s questions, but they certainly have most of them. And the comic book answer to the question, “What is an ambassador?” is a lady that we all know and love:
The speech is an amazing look at what it's like to grow up being Chinese American, how his life as a teacher taught him to build walls and then break them down, and how reading taught him to get over his hatred of basketball.