Asian-American comic author and artist Gene Luen Yang has put his name among the best graphic novel creators with his brilliant book American Born Chinese. Originally published in 2006 by First Second Books, the graphic novel delivers a parallel story of three main characters: Sun Wukong the Monkey King, an immigrant teen Jin Wang, and an American white boy Danny who has a Chinese cousin. Through these three characters, Yang portrays the issue of racialism and stereotypical views and the struggle and transformation to one undertakes in search of his/her identity.
Review of Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese Graphic Novel
A tour-de-force by New York Times bestselling graphic novelist Gene Yang, American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny’s life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable. American Born Chinese is an amazing ride, all the way up to the astonishing climax.
American Born Chinese is the winner of the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award, 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, a 2007 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, and a New York Times bestseller. Gene Luen Yang was the fifth the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and is a MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of what’s popularly known as the MacArthur “Genius” Grant.