News Briefs

Graphic novelist gives writing advice in seminar, City tradition provides financial support for special needs programs

Marie Biernacki and Kaitlin Yu

Graphic novelist gives writing advice in seminar

Gene Yang, author of “American Born Chinese,” was invited to come to Blue Valley April 12 to host a writing seminar with 30 students.

Yang received six awards for his novel, including the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.

The book focuses on three characters — a first-generation child of immigrants, The Monkey King and a white boy with a Chinese cousin. Its themes concentrate on racial stereotypes and identity struggle.

“I always [created] these Asian-American protagonists, but their cultural heritage never played a part in the story,” Yang said. “I wanted to do some story where that was the focus because that is such an important part of my own identity. It was just the desire to explore my own cultural heritage.”

In his seminar, Yang discussed his writing and drawing process.

Although junior Ivy Daugherty doesn’t know if she wants to be a writer in the future, she said the seminar was helpful.

“[The workshop was] awesome,” Daugherty said. “The author was really nice, and he explained some things about writing I never thought of before.”

Yang’s main advice to aspiring writers is to practice writing and to join a community.

“I’ve always enjoyed meeting young people who are interested in telling stories,” he said. “I hope that at least one kid is going to be like, ‘I’m going to make comics now.’”


City tradition provides financial support for special needs programs

The Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired (CCVI) will have their 29th annual Trolley Run on April 30.

The run is one of the largest timed four-mile runs in the United States. It will begin at 7:45 a.m. at 75th and Wornall and end at the Country Club Plaza.

The Trolley Run is home to several records, such as the men’s four-mile U.S.-best and the women’s four-mile course record.

It is the largest fundraiser for CCVI and allows them to provide funding for the different programs they offer for blind or visually impaired infants and preschoolers.

These programs consist of family education, specialized instruction and other various therapies.

After the run, at approximately 10:45 a.m., there will be an “After-Bash” celebration with entertainment and plenty to eat and drink.

You can register for the run at