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American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese

Gene Luen Yang; Illustrated by the author

First Second

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Gene Luen Yang was the fifth the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and is a MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of what's popularly known as the MacArthur "Genius" Grant.

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

American Born Chinese is the winner of the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award, a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature, the winner of the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New, an Eisner Award nominee for Best Coloring, a 2007 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, and a New York Times bestseller.

This title has Common Core Connections

Amazon.com Best Graphic Novel of the Year, NYPL Books for the Teen Age, National Book Awards Finalist, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, Eisner Award Winner, Publisher's Weekly Comics Week Best Comic of the Year, CYBIL Award, Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book Award, Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, School Library Best Books of the Year, Reuben Award Winner, San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year, Booklist Editors' Choice, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, Harvey Award, Booklist Top 10 Graphic Novel for Youth, Michael L. Printz Award - Medal, Library Media Editor's Choice, YALSA-College Bound /Lifelong Learners, YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Praise for American Born Chinese

“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 sha… More…

“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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Reviews from Goodreads

Gene Luen Yang; Illustrated by the author

Gene Luen Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 1997, he received the Xeric Grant, a prestigious comics industry grant, for Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, his first comics work. He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan's Kingdom (with art by Derek Kirk Kim), The Rosary Comic Book, Prime Baby and Animal Crackers. American Born Chinese, his first graphic novel from First Second, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. He also won an Eisner for The Eternal Smile, a collaboration with Derek Kirk Kim. Yang lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he teaches high school.

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Gene Luen Yang

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