Last month, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group teamed up with graphic novelist and former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang to promote diversity in children’s books through the second annual Reading Without Walls program. During the month of April, readers, educators, librarians, and booksellers nationwide took up the challenge to expand their reading horizons by doing one (or all) of the following: read a book about a character who doesn’t look or live like you; read a book about a topic you don’t know much about; and read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun. We’ve gathered a selection of highlights from the celebration.
Yang spoke with students in Decatur, Ga., where he stopped on his national Reading Without Walls tour. The author created the RWW program in 2016 to encourage readers of all ages to pick up books outside of their comfort zone.
BookBar in Denver hosted an event inspired by the Secret Coders series.
(From l.): Mahogany Browne (Black Girl Magic), Princess Weekes of the Mary Sue, and Ilyasah Shabazz (Betty Before X) discussed diversity in literature at the Strand Book Store in New York City, in honor of the Reading Without Walls program.
First Second artists Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb (Making Scents and One Day a Dot) participated in an event at Water Street Bookstore in New Hampshire, where they taught readers about making graphic novels and comics.
Attendees at the Water Street event put their drawing and writing skills to the test by creating their own comics, one of the activities in the RWW activity kit.
Yang signed the RWW poster created by students and faculty in Decatur. More information and materials on the program are available online.