Castro Valley Library

Reading Without Walls: Challenge Yourself by crselig2014
Monday, May 8, 2017, 12:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In April, Gene Luen Yang, a best-selling author and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, launched Reading Without Walls Month, which will become an annual event.

The aim is to encourage young people to explore the world through books and celebrate diversity in children’s books. The key ways Reading Without Walls does this is by challenging young people to do one of three things:

  • Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like them or live like them.
  • Read a book about a topic they don’t know much about.
  • Read a book in a format they don’t normally read for fun, such as a chapter book, an audiobook, a graphic novel or a book in verse.

“We want to use Reading Without Walls as a way of getting kids to read outside of their comfort zone,” Yang comments, emphasizing that most people have a comfort zone whether they realize it or not. This is a long-lasting problem, not something new–even though it seems very topical. Books are a solution to comfort zones and can lead readers to open up to people they might not have otherwise. “One of the primary functions of books is to build empathy between people,” he says. “And empathy is good for you.” He emphasizes, too, that his challenge applies to adults as well as young readers.

Yang notes that early on books helped him get out of his comfort zone, and lately he’s noticed another comfort zone. “I’ve been reading the news that’s fed to me,” Yang explains. “Some algorithm figures out what makes me feel good and makes it so that I have to actively find news outside my comfort zone.”

Se we here at the Castro Valley Library want to challenge all of our patrons from all age groups to read outside of your comfort zones and explore literature from a diverse group of authors. Please let us know if you’d like some book recommendations. We’re here to help.

This post is adapted from the Shelf Awareness newsletter dated March 16, 2017.

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