National Ambassador for Young People's Literature | Gene Luen Yang

The position of National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature was created to raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.

The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is named by the Librarian of Congress for a two-year term, based on recommendations from a selection committee representing many segments of the book community. The selection criteria include the candidate’s contribution to young people’s literature and ability to relate to children.

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress; the Children's Book Council (CBC); and Every Child a Reader (ECAR), a 501 (c)(3) literacy organization dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children, are the sponsors of the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature initiative.

The National Ambassador program was established in 2008 with the naming of Jon Scieszka for the 2008-2009 term. In January 2010, Katherine Paterson became the second National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. The third Ambassador was Walter Dean Myers, who assumed the position in January 2012. The new National Ambassador is Kate DiCammilo, who will serve in 2014-2015.

Selection Criteria

  • Author or illustrator of fiction or nonfiction books
  • U.S. citizen, living in the United States
  • Excellent and facile communicator
  • Dynamic and engaging personality
  • Known ability to relate to children; communicates well and regularly with them
  • Someone who has made a substantial contribution to young people’s literature
  • Stature; someone who is revered by children and who has earned the respect and admiration of his or her peers

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Selection Committee 2014-15

  • Betsy Bird, Collection Development Manager of Evanston Public Library
  • Shelley M. Diaz, SLJ Senior Reviews Editor
  • Kate DiCamillo, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, 2014-15
  • Jonathan Hunt, Coordinator of Library Media Services at the San Diego County Office of Education
  • Kimberly L. Jones, Store Manager, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA
  • Deborah Taylor, Coordinator of School and Student Services, Enoch Pratt Free Library
  • Lisa Von Drasek, Curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections, University of Minnesota Libraries