Gene Luen Yang is 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
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 subjectsshame, racism, and friendshipreceive 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