Presenting Laurence Yep

Overview

"Everyone needs someone, even if it's just to scratch their back." So says a young boy to a lonely dragon named Shimmer in Laurence Yep's Dragon of the Lost Sea (1983). These words seal a friendship that endures against great odds, and they announce the theme that makes Yep (b. 1948) one of today's most beloved young adult authors: the theme of the outsider seeking identity and connection in a strange, foreign world. Teenagers, Yep has said, are "outsiders in their own bodies," and through his science fiction, fantasy, and historical and
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Overview

"Everyone needs someone, even if it's just to scratch their back." So says a young boy to a lonely dragon named Shimmer in Laurence Yep's Dragon of the Lost Sea (1983). These words seal a friendship that endures against great odds, and they announce the theme that makes Yep (b. 1948) one of today's most beloved young adult authors: the theme of the outsider seeking identity and connection in a strange, foreign world. Teenagers, Yep has said, are "outsiders in their own bodies," and through his science fiction, fantasy, and historical and contemporary novels he offers young people strategies for growing up and fitting in. As Dianne Johnson-Feelings elegantly demonstrates in this unique study of all of this author's most important works, Yep's experiences as a Chinese American in San Francisco fill his stories with firsthand knowledge of what it's like to be an outsider. Johnson-Feelings reveals Yep's intentional parallels between aliens and immigrants, as well as the deep humanity behind his portraits of outsiders struggling to cross boundaries of ethnic stereotyping and social class. And she shows us how Yep's characters rise above these limitations by virtue of their moral strength, as in The Mark Twain Murders (1981) and The Tom Sawyer Fires (1984), two novels about a homeless boy in Civil War San Francisco. Throughout her readings, Johnson-Feelings offers quotations from her interviews with Yep and from his autobiography, and these brightly illuminate his motivation and inspiration - as well as his borrowings from Chinese mythology and his own family history.

Provides biographical information about this Chinese-American award-winning writer and presents literary criticism of some of his works for young adults.

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Editorial Reviews

Hazel Rochman
The theme of the outsider is at the heart of Yep's writing, according to English professor Johnson-Feelings. Part of Twayne's Young Adult Authors series, this biocritical study draws on Yep's autobiography, "The Lost Garden" (1991), and on interviews with Yep and his editors, and then combines the personal material with a detailed discussion of his work. Whether Johnson-Feelings is talking about Yep's picture books, folklore, science fiction, historical fiction, or contemporary realism, she writes with subtlety about Yep's identity as an English-speaking Chinese American artist. She shows that he draws on his ethnic tradition in all its diversity and that he universalizes what it's like to be an immigrant and an alien. Multiculturalism here is not a buzzword but a source of powerful storytelling. Notes and a bibliography are included, and there's an appendix of articles by Yep about his writing.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Chronology
1 A Garden of Dragons and the Lost Garden: Introducing Laurence Yep (Dragon of the Lost Sea, The Lost Garden) 1
2 Puzzle Pieces of History (Sweetwater, The Serpent's Children, Mountain Light, Dragon's Gate, Dragonwings) 16
3 The Other Outsiders (The Mark Twain Murders; The Tom Sawyer Fires; Kind Hearts and Gentle Monsters; Liar, Liar; Shadow Lord) 49
4 Children of the Owl: The Idea of Identity (Child of the Owl, Sea Glass, The Star Fisher) 64
5 Conclusion (The Shell Woman and the King, The Boy Who Swallowed Snakes, The Ghost Fox, The Curse of the Squirrel, The Man Who Tricked a Ghost, The Butterfly Boy, The Rainbow People, Tongues of Jade, American Dragons) 87
Notes and References 95
Appendix I: Awards and Honors Won by Laurence Yep 99
Appendix II: Articles by Laurence Yep ("Writing Dragonwings," "A Garden of Dragons," "The Green Cord," "A Cord to the Past") 101
Selected Bibliography 125
Index 135
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