Author Sprints for Literacy

Dennis Yang signs hands at Prisk Elementary in Long Beach on Feb. 10, the first day of last year’s marathon to New York.

Laguna Beach resident Dennis Yang, who has written over 110 children stories under the pen name Papa Didos, finished a 3,281-mile cross-country journey last year where he gave away books to children along the way. He’s still on the road, this time making a local pit stop at the Laguna Beach Boys and Girls Club on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

“We are going to reverse the trend of falling test scores and expanding waistlines,” said Yang, 37, who established the Papa Didos Ideals Foundation in 2010 and has since given away thousands of children’s books across the country, and read to kids in schools, children’s hospitals, orphanages, and community centers. The name of the foundation and his pen name were what his adopted son called Yang before he could speak properly.

Yang’s organization champions kid’s literature and fit kids. The Papa Didos universe has 200 characters, which cross into each other’s stories. Three new books were released this week, he said.

On the foundation website, Yang describes growing up in several cultures and witnessing the value education and reading made. Fluent in four languages, Yang at 31 gave up screenwriting to dedicate his time to humanitarian efforts, his web site says.

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