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American Born Chinese: Book summary and reviews of American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

American Born Chinese

by Gene Luen Yang

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang X
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
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About this book

Book Summary

American Born Chinese is an amazing ride, all the way up to the astonishing climax.

A tour-de-force by New York Times bestselling graphic novelist Gene Yang, American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he's the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny's life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable.

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Book Awards

  • award image Michael Printz Award, 2007

Reviews

Media Reviews

"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

"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

This information about American Born Chinese was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang is the author of American Born Chinese, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award, the Eisner Award and a finalist for the National Book Award. He teaches high school in San Francisco, California. Derek Kirk Kim is the author of Same Difference and Other Stories, the winner of the trifecta of comics awards – the Eisner, the Ignatz, and the Harvey. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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