The Reading Without Walls Challenge


One of the many things we’ve learned during this historic and unpredictable election year is that many of us in this country don’t really talk to people who are different from us, or spend time in places that are totally different from where we live. Here’s one thing we can do about that…

In 2016, Gene Luen Yang was appointed the fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress. Mr. Yang is an accomplished and beloved author and illustrator of graphic novels, including American Born Chinese and Boxers and Saints (you can find these and more in the Hill Top library).

What does it mean to be an ambassador? Basically, this means that you get a national platform to inspire kids and talk about books and reading. Each Ambassador gets to choose a “platform” for their two years of service. Mr. Yang’s platform is “Reading Without Walls.” He’s challenging young people to step outside their comfort zone and explore their world through books. Here’s how:

  1. Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you or live like you.
  2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about.
  3. Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun. This might be a chapter book, a graphic novel, a book in verse, a picture book, or a hybrid book.

If you really want to go for the gold star, read a book that fits all three criteria!


When you finish, take a photo of you and the book (or just the book if you’re shy) and post it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ReadingWithoutWalls. You’ll inspire others to do the same!

I’m really excited about this challenge, and am inviting everyone at Hill Top to participate. Between now and the end of the fall semester, I invite you to choose a book from the school library (or find one on your own) that meets one or more of these criteria. Please let me know if you want to participate, and what book (or books) you decide to read. Everyone who participates will get a prize, with a special prize for gold star winners, When the challenge is over, we’ll have a party with donuts to celebrate!


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