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Dragon Road by Laurence Yep
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Golden Mountain Chronicles: 1939
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
During the Great Depression in 1939, Cal and Barney are best friends living in Chinatown. Unable to find jobs because people refuse to hire Chinese, they occasionally can make money playing basketball on the streets. They are recruited to play for a traveling team, the Dragons, and they barnstorm across America playing anyone and everyone along the way. But as an all-Chinese team, they experience a wide swath of prejudice and racism, as well as a rattletrap car that falls apart regularly, bad weather, poorly maintained highways, and tensions within the team as Cal must choose to either be loyal to the team or to try to make his own way as a basketball star. The story was inspired by the real Depression-era traveling team, the Hong Wah Kues. Excellent writing, especially for the basketball games! Perfect for sports fans, this would also work well with Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry for both the examples of prejudice and the time period. Laurence Yep is a fantastic writer, and he has another winner here. 6th grade and up. ( )
  KarenBall | Sep 23, 2011 |
I wanted this book to be good, mostly because of its historical grounding and Chinese-American characters. But I could not even finish the book. Anyone attempting to read it should have a high tolerance for play-by-play descriptions of basketball games and egocentric young male narrators. ( )
  cnesbitt | Oct 6, 2009 |
Another brilliant book in the Golden Mountain Chronicles. It is written by Laurence Yep with his tremendous narrative velocity. Dragon Blood is almost impossible to put down. A beautifully written book that takes you into the Chinese- American culture during the great depression. Dragon Road will burn itslef into your memory line by line. It is lyrical and startling, brillant.
Laurence Yep writes with the precission and insight. For a boy in middle school, I think this would be perfect for a fall book report. ( )
  chstress | Aug 1, 2008 |
When I was a child, Laurence Yep was a hero to my family. Roughly the same age as my mother, he grew up in San Francisco’s Chinatown the same years that she did, and she was proud that he was such a successful, prolific Chinese-American writer. His books were always around in our house, and often as I read the books Mom would be able to chime in with similar stories from our family’s past. It was fascinating. I have a huge respect for the man.

And yet, I have not read his Golden Mountain Chronicles. I think I started Dragonwings when I was in elementary school, but for some reason the book did not appeal. Years went by and I forgot the series existed, until recently I was sent a copy of Dragon Roadto review. It’s the latest addition to the series, and it’s a good one. Set at the tail-end of the Depression in San Francisco’s Chinatown, it’s a story of the struggles of Chinese-Americans… basketball?

Long before Yao Ming became a household name, a team of professional Chinese-American basketball players traveled across America playing anyone willing to take them on. Yep takes inspiration from this team and creates the Dragons, a team of young men desperate to make money in a world that won’t hire Chinese for “real” jobs as long as there are unemployed white men. Calvin “Flash” Chin and his friend Barney are the newest recruits to the team; Barney wants to travel and see the country while Cal just wants to earn enough money to support his alcoholic father. But while affable Barney has no trouble easing into the group, Cal’s temper and talent lead him to clash with the team’s star player and coach Topper over and over again. Even worse, the team’s manager Jack Coughlan is using Cal to drive a wedge between Topper and the rest of the team. Cal has always distanced himself from others and thinks he can play Jack’s mind-games, but when his loyalties are tested will he be true to his teammates, his manager, or himself?

For a boy in middle school, I think this would be perfect summer reading. There’s plenty of action, and the story never drags. Personally, I don’t know a thing about basketball and during Yep’s descriptions of game play I was reduced to skimming. But the dynamics between the characters, and the struggles to be both Chinese and American, are heartfelt and resonated with me. If you missed this author in your childhood, pick up one of his books next time you’re at the library or the bookstore. You won’t regret it – I promise! ( )
  makaiju | Jul 28, 2008 |
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Teens (grades 6+)
YE 65.4
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060275200, Hardcover)

Best friends Cal and Barney are down and out in Chinatown. In the America of 1939, they are trapped by invisible barriers created by racial prejudice. With no jobs and no real homes, it's only their wizardry with a basketball that's let them survive this long.

That same skill suddenly flings a door open to fame and fortune when a professional basketball team, the Dragons, invites them to join the team. Soon they're barnstorming across America and taking on all comers—from local amateurs to other professional teams like the Harlem Globetrotters.

On that long, difficult road, they must battle rowdy teams and their even rougher fans on makeshift courts. Cal, aka Flash, and the team must also overcome terrible weather, crumbling highways, and their own disintegrating car. As the tour starts to fall apart, the tension between Cal and the team's jealous captain comes to a head. Suddenly Cal must choose between loyalty to his teammates and the pursuit of his own celebrity.

Inspired by the pioneering professional Chinese American basketball team the Hong Wah Kues, Newbery Honor author Laurence Yep re-creates a colorful era of barnstorming basketball and leads readers through the heartache and glory of the dragon road.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In 1939, unable to find regular jobs because of the Great Depression, long-time friends Cal Chin and Barney Young tour the country as members of a Chinese American basketball team.

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