American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

1596431520.01._SX140_SY225_SCLZZZZZZZ_ American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

First Second, New York, 2006

This is a beautifully rendered and well written book that braids together three story lines.  The book open with a tale about the Monkey King, a famous Chinese trickster character, who crashes a party in heaven and wrecks havoc. Then we are introduced to Jin Wang, who has moved from San Fransisco to suburbia and entered a very white elementary school.  Finally we meet Danny and his cousin Chin-Kee, a perfect representative of the stereotypical Chinese “coolie”.  Gene Yang does a wonderful job leading the reader in different directions until the final surprising resolution.  This may be a bit confusing for some but it pays off in the end.

These stories are funny, poignant and combine to create a tale of race, identity, exclusion and self acceptance .  This book has been awarded several prizes including the Printz Prize in 2007 and a National Book Award nomination.  Like Laika, American Born Chinese  would be a great introduction to the graphic novel genre.

Gene Yang has a great web site here.

Yang’s publisher First Second  also has a great site here.

Other reviews:


Book Addiction

Stuff As Dreams Are Made On




Filed under Graphic Novel Challenge, Graphic Novels, Review

7 responses to “American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

  1. I keep saying I need to do something with this genre! I’ll put this one down as a possibility!

  2. I read this and I liked it, but I was also keenly aware of the male perspective. That’s not a bad thing but it is different. Am I making sense?

    I wonder, too, if students really get Chen is making fun of stereotypes.

    This is one of my first graphic novels and I’ve since read others. I do enjoy this genre and look forward to reading more. Persepolis is very good.

    • susan – I am aware of the male perspective and it does make a difference. I’ve read Persepolis (and also seen the movie which is stunning)as well as Skim and Fun Home. Can you suggest other graphic novels by women?

  3. I loved this book. I’m glad you did too!

  4. I so loved this book! Loved the honesty and spunk.

  5. This was my first experience with a graphic novel and I did enjoy it, but I didn’t love it.

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