Since the election, I have seen fellow YA authors coming together in new ways. I’ve witnessed the beginnings of some programs and social media publicity drives that could really engage young voters. But I just heard about a truly inspired initiative that I had to share right away.

Gene Luen Yang is a gifted graphic novel writer who I met a few years back. He is smart, kind and is currently the National Ambassador for Children’s Literature. He has had a brilliant idea for a way to help us all expand our empathy and has teamed up with Macmillan to present:

Reading Without Walls

Reading Without Walls is a month-long, nation-wide program to promote diversity in reading. It’s taking place this month. Gene is challenging us all to:

  • Read a book about a character who doesn’t look or live like you.
  • Read a book in a format you don’t typically read — graphic novels, poetry, audiobooks, plays.
  • Read a book about a new subject you don’t know much about.

Isn’t this a great idea? Let’s do it together, my dear newsletter comrades!

Let’s all take Gene’s challenge, and spread the word among our friends—especially young friends. I’m going to sweeten the pot by adding a PRIZE:

I will give a personalized, autographed set of paperbacks of the Monument 14 trilogy to one person, selected at random who completes this challenge.


  1. Do one – and one – of the Reading Without Walls challenges listed above in the next 3 weeks.
  2. Email me and tell me what you read by April 30th.
  3. That’s it!

I will compile all the books/plays/graphic novels/what-have-yous into a list for my May newsletter and I’ll announce a winner then, too.

I, for one, am going to read Gene’s American Born Chinese, which I have been meaning to read forever!

You can find more resources to support Reading Without Walls here: