Gene Yang has served for the past two years as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. As part of his work in promoting teen and children’s books, he began to speak about the benefits of reading outside the box.
In other words, he has encouraged readers everywhere to explore books about characters who look or live differently than themselves, to read about new topics, and to read in new formats. This national program invites us to celebrate both the diversity within our society and the diversity of reading possibilities.
So what can you do? Why not begin by making this a family-wide challenge? Part of the fun of reading comes from sharing the books with family members or friends. Encourage each other to do one of these things to “Read Without Walls”.
1. Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you or live like you.
2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about.
3. Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun — a chapter book, a graphic novel, a book in verse, or an audio book.
Not sure where to start? Here are some children’s books that would fit one of the categories for me.
For a different format book, I might choose a graphic novel like one of these.
Make 2018 a year for “Reading without Walls” and have fun sharing your reading selections with others. If you need help finding books to fit the categories, just ask at the desk; we love to give suggestions! You can also find more about the reading challenge (including book suggestions) on this web page.