Gene Luen Yang writes, and sometimes draws, comic books and graphic novels. As the Library of Congress’s fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, he advocates for the importance of reading, especially reading diversely. His graphic novel American Born Chinese, a National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner, has been adapted into a streaming series on Disney+. His two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints won the LA Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award finalist. His nonfiction graphic novel Dragon Hoops received an Eisner Award and a Printz honor. His other comics works include Secret Coders (with Mike Holmes), The Shadow Hero (with Sonny Liew), as well as Superman Smashes the Klan and the Avatar: The Last Airbender series (both with Gurihiru). In 2016, he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
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.
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“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