American Born Chinese

Yang, Gene Luen. American Born Chinese. Color by Lark Pien. New York: First Second, 2006. Print. ISBN 13: 9781596432086. Hardback. $25.00.

Annotation: Throughout this expertly rendered graphic novel, three seemingly unrelated stories twist themselves into one epic tale of cultural and personal acceptance.

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Jin is the new kid in school. He’s also the only Chinese American student in his school. Even though he was born and raised in San Francisco, Jin has to deal with bullying and stereotypes due to his Chinese heritage. He finally makes a real friend when Wei-Chen moves into town. However, as Jin grows up he has trouble accepting his culture and Wei-Chen’s friendship because they don’t seem to fit into his attempts at an all-American image.

Danny is at his wit’s end. Every year since eighth grade, his cousin Chin-Kee comes to visit and ruin Danny’s life – and this year is no different. Finally settled and happy, Danny can only watch as Chin-Kee embodies every negative Chinese stereotype and subsequently sends Danny’s rising popularity crashing down in flames.

The Monkey King has visions of glory. Although he is tasked with governing all of the monkeys in the world, the Monkey King has much bigger plans – he wants to be a god. But when he goes too far in his attempts to obtain power and honor, the Monkey King must pay dearly for his ambition.

What happens when Jin’s disdain for his Chinese heritage becomes too much? Will Danny be able to get out of the shadow of Chin-Kee’s visit? Can the Monkey King ever redeem himself – and more importantly – does he really want to? After all, “It’s easy to become anything you wish…as long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.” These three tales ultimately twist together in an unexpected way in this wonderfully illustrated graphic novel.

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American Born Chinese is the winner of the Michael L. Printz Award (2007) and the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Graphic Novel-New (2007).

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Let author Gene Yang tell you about his book American Born Chinese:

YOUR OPTIONS: American Born Chinese is available in print and eBook formats.

Anastasia Vito © 2014

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