American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang, was on my list for the Dewey’s Books Challenge. Both my husband and I read it last weekend and really liked it. It’s an award-winning graphic novel published by one of my favorite publishing companies, First Second, which I’ve written about before on this blog, here and here.
This book has an interesting design. It is three seemingly unrelated stories that all come together at the end with a powerful impact. It is so well done, and deserves the numerous awards it has received.
From the Publisher:
“All Jin Wang wants is to fit in. When his family moves to a new neighborhood, he suddenly finds that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his school. Jocks and bullies pick on him constantly, and he has hardly any friends. Then, to make matters worse, he fall in love with an all-American girls.
Born to rule over all the monkeys in the world, the story of the Monkey King is one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables. Adored by his subjects, master of the arts of kun-fu, he is the most powerful monkey on earth. But the Monkey King doesn’t want to be a monkey. He wants to be hailed as a god…
Chin-Kee is the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, and he’s ruining his cousin Danny’s life. Danny’s a basketball player, a popular kid at school, but ever year Chin-Kee comes to visit, and every year Danny has to transfer to a new school to escape the shame. This year, though, things quickly go from bad to worse…”
The author, Gene Luen Yang, also teaches at a private high school in the San Francisco Bay Area. His web site, Humble Comics, has a section for educators about using comics and graphic novels in the classroom. Another section, called “Factoring with Mr. Yang,” shows the power of using comics in a math learning unit. Very interesting and creative teacher!
Unfortunately, Dewey’s web site, The Hidden Side of a Leaf, is offline again, so I couldn’t go back and reread what she had written about this book. It was very sad for all of us in the book blogging community to lose her last year…her reviews were always sparking my interest.