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American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

American Born Chinese (2006)

by Gene Luen Yang

Other authors: Lark Pien (Colorist)

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English (230)  Japanese (1)  French (1)  All languages (232)
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Recommended by Kimberly Matthews AND Vanessa
  RhondaHoward | Jul 22, 2015 |
Beautiful illustrations. Covers bullying, assimilation, identity. ( )
  BdF | Jul 19, 2015 |
Gene Luen Yang’s graphic narrative combines elements of autobiography, Chinese mythology, and magical realism to create a tale of “othered” youth to which any young adult or adult who has ever struggled with the dilemma of assimilation should be able to relate.

Yang adds ample doses of snarky humor to his intricately woven narrative, which seems to develop along three distinct strands. The narrative opens with the tale of the Monkey King, a Chinese mythological figure who feels slighted by the more powerful gods and resolves to prove his power and might. Next we meet Jin, the American-born Chinese of the title. We follow Jin’s tale through middle school as he endeavors to identify as a member of “mainstream” American youth by avoiding fellow Asian students, adopting an “American” hairstyle, and dating a Caucasian girl in his class. The final narrative strand focuses on Danny, a white American teenager who is bedeviled by annual visits from his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee, who behaves in stereotypically boorish ways and alienates Danny from his peers.

Yang ultimately conjoins the three strands in a way that highlights the complexities of ethnic identity—and Identity in general—that confront American youth, especially those who are visibly “other.” Yang’s skill in highlighting this issue in metaphorically powerful ways is quite effective and should lead to some difficult but important questions from both young adult and adult readers. ( )
  jimrgill | Jul 14, 2015 |
Printz Award winner, 2007; good one to recommend to students seeking graphic novels - growth from manga ( )
  TeachrBkMom | Jul 4, 2015 |
  LeonaL | Jul 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 230 (next | show all)

School Library Journal Review
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 Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From: Reed Elsevier Inc. Copyright Reed Business Information

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gene Luen Yangprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pien, LarkColoristsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Original title
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Awards and honors
To Ma,
for her stories of the Monkey King

And Ba,
for his stories of Ah-Tong, the Taiwanese village boy
First words
One bright and starry night, the Gods the Goddesses, the demons, and the spirits gathered in heaven for a dinner party.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
A great mix of mythology and the second generation immigrant experience told with wit, insight and humour. The graphic novel format is spot-on for this book. The illustrations contribute powerfully to the text.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312384483, Paperback)

Indie graphic novelist Gene Yang's intelligent and emotionally challenging American Born Chinese is made up of three individual plotlines: the determined efforts of the Chinese folk hero Monkey King to shed his humble roots and be revered as a god; the struggles faced by Jin Wang, a lonely Asian American middle school student who would do anything to fit in with his white classmates; and the sitcom plight of Danny, an All-American teen so shamed by his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee (a purposefully painful ethnic stereotype) that he is forced to change schools. Each story works well on its own, but Yang engineers a clever convergence of these parallel tales into a powerful climax that destroys the hateful stereotype of Chin-Kee, while leaving both Jin Wang and the Monkey King satisfied and happy to be who they are.

Yang skillfully weaves these affecting, often humorous stories together to create a masterful commentary about race, identity, and self-acceptance that has earned him a spot as a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People. The artwork, rendered in a chromatically cool palette, is crisp and clear, with clean white space around center panels that sharply focuses the reader's attention in on Yang's achingly familiar characters. There isn't an adolescent alive who won't be able to relate to Jin's wish to be someone other than who he is, and his gradual realization that there is no better feeling than being comfortable in your own skin.--Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:45 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture. Presented in comic book format.

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