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National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang is a writer of both graphic novels and comics. His first graphic novel “American Born Chinese” is about a teenager struggling with his identity – a theme that is common in much of Yang’s work, which emphasizes the importance of celebrating our diverse culture. It was the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award; it was also a winner of the 2007 Eisner Award. His next solo work, “Boxers & Saints,” is a two-volume project set during the Boxer Rebellion and a National Book Award finalist. His most recent work is the second in his Secret Coders series, “Secret Coders: Paths and Portals” (First Second), and combines adventure and mystery with logic puzzles and basic programming instruction. Yang has been drawing comics since the fifth grade and believes both graphic novels and comics can be used effectively as educational tools in the classroom. He teaches at Hamline University as part of the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.