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American Born Chinese
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About the Author

Gene Luen Yang writes, and sometimes draws, comic books and graphic novels. He was named a National Ambassador for Young People's Literature by the Library of Congress in 2016, and advocates for the importance of reading, especially reading diversely. His graphic novel American Born Chinese, a National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner, has been adapted into a streaming series. His two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints won the LA Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award Finalist. His nonfiction graphic novel, Dragon Hoops, received an Eisner award and a Printz honor. His other comics work includes Secret Coders (with Mike Holmes), The Shadow Hero (with Sonny Liew), and Superman Smashes the Klan and the Avatar: The Last Airbender series (both with Gurihiru). In 2016, he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

Reviews

A National Book Award finalist and ALA's Printz Award winner, this fable stars the mythological Monkey King, realistic youngster Jin Wang of Taiwanese parentage, and TV sitcom teen Danny. All three are dogged by an unwanted identity and humiliated by others' prejudice. The Monkey King trains to be a god but is unceremoniously bounced out of heaven and urged by "he who is" (the great god) to be what he is: a monkey. Jin tries to be accepted and romance a fellow student but gets picked on by classmates. Danny does well with friends until Chinese cousin Chin-Kee, a bitingly funny bundle of racist stereotypes, makes his annual visit and behaves so offensively that Danny must change schools. Finally, the three stories suddenly merge, to center on Jin coming to terms with his minority experience and moving beyond his own fear and hostility. Coalescence comes almost too quickly, but the trivision approach and treatment are unique and moving. The art is simple, colorful, and both attractive and effective. Some potty humor; recommended for teen and adult collections.-M.C. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

As alienated kids go, Jin Wang is fairly run-of-the-mill: he eats lunch by himself in a corner of the schoolyard, gets picked on by bullies and jocks and develops a sweat-inducing crush on a pretty classmate. And, oh, yes, his parents are from Taiwan. This much-anticipated, affecting story about growing up different is more than just the story of a Chinese-American childhood; it's a fable for every kid born into a body and a life they wished they could escape. The fable is filtered through some very specific cultural icons: the much-beloved Monkey King, a figure familiar to Chinese kids the world over, and a buck-toothed amalgamation of racist stereotypes named Chin-Kee. Jin's hopes and humiliations might be mirrored in Chin-Kee's destructive glee or the Monkey King's struggle to come to terms with himself, but each character's expressions and actions are always perfectly familiar. True to its origin as a Web comic, this story's clear, concise lines and expert coloring are deceptively simple yet expressive. Even when Yang slips in an occasional Chinese ideogram or myth, the sentiments he's depicting need no translation. Yang accomplishes the remarkable feat of practicing what he preaches with this book: accept who you are and you'll already have reached out to others. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Gr 7 Up-Graphic novels that focus on nonwhite characters are exceedingly rare in American comics. Enter American Born Chinese, a well-crafted work that aptly explores issues of self-image, cultural identity, transformation, and self-acceptance. In a series of three linked tales, the central characters are introduced: Jin Wang, a teen who meets with ridicule and social isolation when his family moves from San Francisco's Chinatown to an exclusively white suburb; Danny, a popular blond, blue-eyed high school jock whose social status is jeopardized when his goofy, embarrassing Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee, enrolls at his high school; and the Monkey King who, unsatisfied with his current sovereign, desperately longs to be elevated to the status of a god. Their stories converge into a satisfying coming-of-age novel that aptly blends traditional Chinese fables and legends with bathroom humor, action figures, and playground politics. Yang's crisp line drawings, linear panel arrangement, and muted colors provide a strong visual complement to the textual narrative. Like Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye and Laurence Yep's Dragonwings, this novel explores the impact of the American dream on those outside the dominant culture in a finely wrought story that is an effective combination of humor and drama.-Philip Charles Crawford, Essex High School, Essex Junction, VT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"The art blends the clean lines of anime with a bold American palette. Yang is equally adept at depicting a high school cafeteria and the Monkey King's fantastical realm."
--New York Times
". . . brilliantly written and designed, sophisticated and wise." -- The Miami Herald ". . . one of the most powerful and entertaining works of literature to be published this year . . ." -- San Francisco Chronicle "Yang's crisp line drawings, linear panel arrangement, and muted colors provide a strong visual complement to the textual narrative. Like Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye and Laurence Yep's Dragonwings, this novel explores the impact of the American dream on those outside the dominant culture in a finely wrought story that is an effective combination of humor and drama." --School Library Journal "The stories have a simple, engaging sweep to them, but their weighty subjects--shame, racism, and friendship--receive thoughtful, powerful examination." --Booklist "This much-anticipated, affecting store about growing up different is more than just the story of a Chinese-American childhood: it's a fable for every kid born into a body and a life they wished they could escape." --Publisher's Weekly "Compositions are tidy and the palette is softly muted, so that even the strongest colors in the action scenes never reach the intensity of a visual assault. Kids fighting an uphill battle to convince parents and teachers of the literary merit of graphic novels will do well to share this title." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "The artwork is clean and distinctive, with varying panel styles and inking that is visually appealing. The Cousin Chin-Kee story line is extremely hyperbolic and at times difficult to read, as it embraces the most extreme negative Chinese stereotypes, but it displays some of the difficulties in perception faced by young Chinese Americans. This graphic novel could be especially cathartic for teens and adults of Asian descent, but people of any ethnicity would find themselves reflected in the universal themes of self-acceptance, peer pressure, and racial tensions." --VOYA "A National Book Award finalist and ALA's Printz Award winner, this fable stars the mythological Monkey King, realistic youngster Jin Wang of Taiwanese parentage, and TV sitcom teen Danny... Finally, the three stories suddenly merge, to center on Jin coming to terms with his minority experience and moving beyond his own fear and hostility. Coalescence comes almost too quickly, but the trivision approach and treatment are unique and moving." --Library Journal

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