Yuyi’s book, Dreamers, was selected to be the 2020 Nashville Reads selection. The Nashville Reads program “was founded in 2012 as a collaboration between the Mayor’s Office, Nashville Public Library, Nashville Public Library Foundation, Parnassus Books, Humanities Tennessee, and BookPage.” Previous recipients of the Nashville Reads selection include former Congressman John Lewis’ March: Book of One, Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
The selection of Dreamers broke with precedent; it was the first children’s book that had received this honor. In Nashville Read’s proposal for Yuyi’s selection, they explained, “we feel strongly about choosing Dreamers because we believe our city is better because of all who live here, andvwe dream of becoming something we haven’t even yet imagined. The idea expressed in Dreamers, ‘[that] we are resilience… we are hope… we are Dreamers, soñadores of the world,’ resonated so strongly with the committee, particularly during this moment in our country’s crisis of humanity, that we knew it was the perfect next city-wide read selection.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Yuyi was set to visit Nashville in May of 2020 and speak at Lipscomb University and the Nashville Public Library. But in the wake of the pandemic, Yuyi’s involement with Nashville Reads had to be reimagined. Instead of in-person events, Yuyi instead participated in several virtual events over the course of several months.
In November of 2020, Yuyi participated in the Nashville Public Library’s Literary Award Weekend Public Lecture. This Public Lecture differed from the NPL’s previous Public Lectures; instead of honoring a renowned author as was typically done, the 2020 Public Lecture told the stories of Nashville families, “whose lives have been transformed by Nashville Public Library. From a bilingual family instilling a love of reading in their toddler to a senior citizen who is online for the first time connecting to resources and loved ones.” It was only fitting, given the themes of Dreamers, that Yuyi would be the one to introduce these families in the public lecture.