by Gene Luen Yang

illustrated by Lark Pien

Summary

School Library Journal:

/* Starred Review */ 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 –Philip Charles Crawford (Reviewed September 1, 2006) (School Library Journal, vol 52, issue 9, p240)

Awards:

  • Booklist Editors’ Choice – Books for Youth – Older Readers Category: 2006
  • Eisner Awards: Best Graphic Album – New
  • Michael L. Printz Award
  • School Library Journal Best Books: 2006
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults: 2007
  • YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens: 2007
  • YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: I’m New Here Myself (2013)

Topics

10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, Identity, Teen