American Born Chinese

( 72 )

Overview

Jin Wang starts at a new school where he’s the only Chinese-American student. When a boy from Taiwan joins his class, Jin doesn’t want to be associated with an FOB like him. Jin just wants to be an all-American boy, because he’s in love with an all-American girl. Danny is an all-American boy: great at basketball, popular with the girls. But his obnoxious Chinese cousin Chin-Kee’s annual visit is such a disaster that it ruins Danny’s reputation at school, leaving him with no choice but to transfer somewhere he can...

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Overview

Jin Wang starts at a new school where he’s the only Chinese-American student. When a boy from Taiwan joins his class, Jin doesn’t want to be associated with an FOB like him. Jin just wants to be an all-American boy, because he’s in love with an all-American girl. Danny is an all-American boy: great at basketball, popular with the girls. But his obnoxious Chinese cousin Chin-Kee’s annual visit is such a disaster that it ruins Danny’s reputation at school, leaving him with no choice but to transfer somewhere he can start all over again. The Monkey King has lived for thousands of years and mastered the arts of kung fu and the heavenly disciplines. He’s ready to join the ranks of the immortal gods in heaven. But there’s no place in heaven for a monkey. Each of these characters cannot help himself alone, but how can they possibly help each other? They’re going to have to find a way—if they want fix the disasters their lives have become.

 

American Born Chinese is 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 and a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Winner of the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Gene Luen Yang has created that rare article: a youthful tale with something new to say about American youth.”—New York Times Book Review

“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, Starred Review

“. . . 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 . . .”—The San Francisco Chronicle

 

“Yang accomplishes the remarkable feat of practicing what he preaches with this book: accept who you are and you'll already have reached out to others.”—Publishers Weekly

“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

“Each of the characters is flawed but familiar, and, in a clever postmodern twist, all share a deep, unforeseen connection. Yang helps the humor shine by using his art to exaggerate or oppose the words, creating a synthesis that marks an accomplished graphic storyteller. The stories have a simple, engaging sweep to them, but their weighty subjects––shame, racism, and friendship––receive thoughtful, powerful examination.”—Booklist

 

“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.”—Voice of Youth Advocates

Library Journal
06/01/2014
Jin Wang is the only Asian American boy in his new school; Danny is a young man deeply embarrassed by his visiting Chinese cousin, portrayed deliberately by the author as an ethnic cliché; and the Monkey King, a figure from Chinese lore, is desperate to be treated like a god. This humorous, insightful story relates how three characters overcome hurdles to find satisfaction within themselves. A wonderful take on the coming-of-age genre and the challenges of assimilation. (LJ 3/15/07)
Publishers Weekly
As alienated kids go, Jin Wang is fairly run-of-the-mill: he eats lunch by himself in a corner of the schoolyard, gets picked on by bullies and jocks and develops a sweat-inducing crush on a pretty classmate. And, oh, yes, his parents are from Taiwan. This much-anticipated, affecting story 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. The fable is filtered through some very specific cultural icons: the much-beloved Monkey King, a figure familiar to Chinese kids the world over, and a buck-toothed amalgamation of racist stereotypes named Chin-Kee. Jin's hopes and humiliations might be mirrored in Chin-Kee's destructive glee or the Monkey King's struggle to come to terms with himself, but each character's expressions and actions are always perfectly familiar. True to its origin as a Web comic, this story's clear, concise lines and expert coloring are deceptively simple yet expressive. Even when Yang slips in an occasional Chinese ideogram or myth, the sentiments he's depicting need no translation. Yang accomplishes the remarkable feat of practicing what he preaches with this book: accept who you are and you'll already have reached out to others. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - George Galuschak
American Born Chinese is a graphic novel that tells the story of two protagonists. The Monkey King is a figure from Chinese folklore. Angry at not being admitted to a Heavenly Dinner Party because he isn't wearing shoes, the Monkey King masters the twelve disciplines of Kung Fu and sets about proving that he is a god to his fellow deities. He does this by beating up anyone who calls him a monkey. Danny, an Asian boy drawn with white features, wants to be like the rest of the kids in his high school. Unfortunately, the arrival of his cousin from China, Chin-Kee, dashes his hopes. Chin-Kee is every cliche about Chinese people (pronounce his name phonetically) rolled into one fun-filled package. Chin-Kee is so full of fun that a laugh track follows him around, but Danny, who has transferred out of two high schools already because of Chin-Kee's past antics, isn't laughing. There is also a third storyline featuring Jin Wang (Danny in junior high) and his best friend, Wei-Chen Sun. This is one of the best graphic novels I've read this year. It reminds me of Derek Kirk Kim's excellent Same Difference & Other Stories, which is also worth purchasing. The three storylines are interrelated, and all have the same theme: accept who you are. Be warned that the character of Chin-Kee will arouse strong feelings: some may find him offensive while others may think he's funny. American Born Chinese contains racial stereotypes, comic book violence, and one urinating monkey (from the back). It is highly recommended for all graphic novel collections.
VOYA - Sherrie Williams
Three seemingly unrelated stories blend into a memorable tale of growing up Chinese American. The book begins with the ancient fable of the Monkey King, the proud leader of the monkeys. He is punished for entering the god's dinner party by being buried under a mountain for five hundred years. Second is the story of Jin Wang, the son of immigrants struggling to retain his Chinese identity while longing to be more Americanized. The final story is that of Cousin Chin-Kee, an amalgamation of the worst Chinese stereotypes. Chin-Kee yearly visits his all-American cousin Danny, causing so much embarrassment that Danny must change schools. The final chapter unifies the three tales into one version of what it means to be American-born Chinese. This graphic novel first appeared as a long running Web comic on the Moderntales website, where it enjoyed an enthusiastic following. 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. This book is recommended for libraries serving teens and adults, particularly those enjoying graphic novels.
School Library Journal
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 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312384487
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 12/23/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 29,245
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Gene Luen Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 1997, he received the Xeric Grant, a prestigious comics industry grant, for Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, his first comics work. He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan’s Kingdom (with art by Derek Kirk Kim), The Rosary Comic Book, Prime Baby and Animal CrackersAmerican Born Chinese, his first graphic novel from First Second, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. He also won an Eisner for The Eternal Smile, a collaboration with Derek Kirk Kim. Yang lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he teaches high school. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 72 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(38)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    American Born Chinese: Not the Best Book

    Three characters, three stories, one graphic novel. Each and everyone of them wants to fit in. The first character is Jin-Wang, who is an American-Chinese elementary and middle school student. He is a pretty realistic character, but I find her an unimpressive, strange person. He does some unusual things, such as using soap as deodorant, and the general story is a bit awkward, since it focuses on the bad parts of his life. Then there's my favorite character, the Monkey King of the Flower Fruit Mountain. He wishes to be a god, but he isn't allowed to since he was a monkey, even though he had mastered the twelve arts of Kung-fu. He is a very funny character, and his story is quite interesting. I like him, except for the fact that the author shows him as a denying character, when he begs and fights to become a god. But he's still a classic cartoon character. The last character is Danny, who is an american high-schooler, but is also someone who seems to be very sad and complaining. Every year, his cousin Chin-kee visits him from China. He ruins everything for Danny, with his teachers and his friends. I personally don't like him, since he is too emotional about what Chin-kee does (although I hated Chin-kee because of how he treated other characters). Overall, this graphic novel is a bit immature, and I wasn't extremely impressed by it. It sort of gave me a bad image of graphic novels, so I'm not planning on reading another one soon (but maybe I'm stereotyping graphic novels). Oh well, it was still a fun break from the rest of my books.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2007

    More than expected

    This graphic novel is much more than it may seem- simply just a graphic novel. While on the surface it is an interesting tale about a boy that doesn't fit in, underneath the surface there lies a whole world of myth and legend, individuality, cultural and self acceptance. An absolute must read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2011

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to read , GREAT GRAPHIC NOVEL

    The book starts out as a mythological story then envelops into a new era , bringing in the other characters of the book, showing how the main characters all have something in common. This books shows that being yourself is always something to consider, but if you dont read the book you will not understand what I am trying to say. GREAT BOOK and GREAT MEANING.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2010

    not worth the money.

    i read this book with high school book club recently and did not like it at all. it is not organized well and the characters were not belivable. dont waste your money

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    American Born Chinese consists of three tandem narratives. A sec

    American Born Chinese consists of three tandem narratives. A second generation immigrant and the only Chinese-American student at his new school in a predominantly white area, Jin Wang just wants to be a typical American boy. The immortal Monkey King is a proud kung fu master who is trying to become more than just a monkey. And all-American Danny is embarrassed by his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee, who puts every Chinese stereotype into loud, off-putting action.

    As I read along, I wondered what, if anything, these storylines had to do with each other. Were they merely different perspectives on common themes, since all three addressed issues such as racism and intolerance? When the connections between these three narratives were revealed: wow! I was stunned. An entirely new and profound layer of understanding opened up for me.

    I loved the artwork and the message of this one. Though aimed at grades 7 and up, it's a great selection for adults as well. It's an incredibly fast read, so it would be a nice pick for a read-a-thon.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2014

    Didn't want to end!

    Great story, art, characters etc! Didn't want to end!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2013

    This book was utterly amazing, being a color graphic novel was e

    This book was utterly amazing, being a color graphic novel was exceptional. While I was reading it I couldn't help but laugh, when I found myself finished with it I was pretty upset.
    The characters are all very well thought out and I love all of them. So please read this book if you're looking for not only a funny read but a quick one too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2013

    Can't download this!!!!!!!!!

    What the jell!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Anyomus

    G.L.Y .youve done it agian.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    I love this book!!

    It had so much action and different stuff and more stuff. It goes from this to that, back this, back to that, then it combines all together in the end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    Retarded

    G

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    Funny must buy

    Must buy racist but hillarous

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2012

    Hello

    How is everyone?

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    To there is a magical monkey

    U sond just like my bff bailey she would put a smiley face just like that and also her favorite word is pie.....awwwww pie!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2012

    Yang brought me back to all the awkwardness of growing up Asian

    Yang brought me back to all the awkwardness of growing up Asian in America: being ashamed of my allegedly odd-smelling, funny-looking lunches; crushes on blond-haired, blue-eyed “All-American” boys; and trying to speak a new language while struggling with debilitating shyness. Yang also reminded me of the Chinese fables I learned through watching random CCTV (mainland China broadcaster) Journey to the West episodes dubbed in Vietnamese. I never really related to the mischievous and egocentric Monkey King, but Yang captures him wonderfully in both words and images. I love the two-paneled scene where the Monkey King changes into his giant form as the Dragon King sits on a throne laughing at him. In the second panel, the Monkey King steps on the Dragon King, “STOMP!” and the text box reads: “The Dragon King was convinced.” The entire book is filled with these visual and verbal nuggets of the painful and ridiculous: Jin Wang’s misadventures in dating, the Monkey King’s comeuppance and “test of virtue,” and cousin Chin-Kee’s mortifying antics.

    Yang is a master at creating real characters and situations within a graphic genre featuring limited text (some pages are completely text-free) and hilarious caricatures of what it means to be Chinese. Ultimately, American Born Chinese is a story about self-acceptance and true friendship. I’d recommend it to anyone who can relate to Jin Wang and Danny’s experiences, or anyone interested in a good laugh, a great story, and very entertaining art.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Its lame

    LAMEST book EVER

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2011

    Recommend

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone in the teen age group. It is a very good book, based on how every teen want's to either be somebody else or change who they are. And in the end they always find out that their true personality will always be golden.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2011

    Best book ever!!!!

    This book is about finding the truth in people (in a funny way) and that no matter who or what you are you are loved and you mean something to people. P.S. I'm 11 years old.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2011

    It is awesome

    Really really good highly recommended

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    That book is very funny and the drawings are fantastic!

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews

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