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Saints by Gene Luen Yang
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Personal response: This is the first book I have read by Yang, although 'Boxers' is a companion book to 'Saints', and is probably meant to be read first. Although 'Boxers' probably establishes more of the history of the time period, 'Saints' can be read and enjoyed on its own. I thought the format for this graphic novel really worked well. The illustrations worked in harmony with the text and helped move the narrative forward. Reading this book made me want to learn more about this time in China's history.

Curricular connections: would be an excellent book to pair with a nonfiction text for students studying the Boxer Rebellion. It is also interesting in its interpretation of Joan of Arc, and would be a worthwhile read for a student studying this historical figure. ( )
  linnea_simon | Apr 3, 2016 |
Saints looks at China's Boxer Rebellion from the perspective of a Christian Chinese girl who was converted by foreign missionaries. Four Girl, whose name sounds like the Chinese word for “death”, was never given a real name by the head of her family. Her conversion to Christianity came with a new name chosen from the names of Christian female saints. She has visions of Joan of Arc, who has not yet been canonized as a saint. When the Christians begin to be persecuted by groups like the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fist, Four Girl (now Vibiana) believes she has been chosen to save others. This volume shows the Christian and western/European misunderstandings and false rumors that are suggested as motivations for the conflict. It also fills in the background for characters and events that are shown only in passing in the companion volume, Boxers. The two volumes should be read together for the complete story. ( )
  cbl_tn | Feb 21, 2016 |
I truly do not know how to give this a rating, despite the fact that I obviously have. How can I use a word like "good," when everything inside is so horrifying? And when I can feel elements of sympathy for all the different viewpoints represented, but there are none that aren't also responsible for committing terrible atrocities? I feel like the best word I can use is "skillful," which it absolutely is. Together with Boxers, Yang brings an amazing intimacy and perspective to a comprehensively tragic part of history.
  mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
The companion to "Boxers." Four-Girl's grandfather calls her out as the Devil after she accidentally beheads a Tu Di Gong statue. Already considered an outcast in her own family, Four-Girl gravitates to Christianity for "devil training," and runs away with Father Bey when he is reassigned. Even after baptism, Four-Girl (now Vibiana) still feels rudderless and relies on visions of Joan of Arc to guide her path. Eventually, Vibiana meets Bao from "Boxers" and her destiny is sealed. I am still wrapping my mind around Vibiana's story and what it means; it's not nearly as clear-cut as "Boxers" was. But a good story gets you thinking... ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Vibiana's story is a sad but interesting one. She does not come to the church in the most traditional way or for remotely the right reasons and a lot of the time her behavior is not what you would call Christian. Her conversations with Joan though are incredibly interesting, and I like that Vibiana keeps her crazy ways. I like that you get both Vibiana's story and Joan's. The choice to keep everything sepia toned but Joan was a smart one and really makes Joan stand out. I like that you get the full part of Vibiana's death and the true end of Boa's story. ( )
  Rosa.Mill | Nov 21, 2015 |
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Dedicated to the San Jose Chinese Catholic Community
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I am my mother's fourth daughter, born on the fourth day of the fourth month, and the only one of her children to survive past a year.
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Vibiana, an unwanted fourth child, finds her name and identity in Christianity, but with the Boxer Rebellion in full swing and Chinese Christians facing death, she must decide whether her loyalties lie with her religion or her country.

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