Tuesday, November 20, 2007

American Born Chinese by Gene Luch Yang

American Born Chinese by Gene Luch Yang

I originally chose this story for two reasons- first because it was the winner of the coveted Printz Award for Young Adult Literature, and second, it was a graphic novel. Because of reason number two many people were aghast that it won the Printz award and much controversy ensued as a result. So…I thought it might make for interesting discussion. Graphic novels have become the mostly widely circulated books in our collection and I was embarrassed to admit that I had not read any of them…so I thought this would be a good book to with which to start our blog.

I have to admit; at first I found the book to be a bit disconcerting…I found the three stories to be distracting…I kept waiting for the connection…I knew it had to be coming! I wasn’t disappointed. I felt the way the author pulled everything together was very ingenious; the way the stories blended together was great. I thought the messages about racism and stereotypes were excellent. Many of the reviews I read talked about how the message of accepting yourself as you are transcended the Chinese culture, that it was a message that all readers could benefit from. I’m not sure I’m sold on that thought. I wondered how many non-Asian readers would appreciate the story? If they would have the patience to see how the author was planning to pull everything together? Perhaps the exaggerated Chinese stereotype of Danny’s cousin would do the trick?

Overall, I liked the simple illustrations…I thought they were clean and sharp but effective in helping to tell the story. How did I like my foray into the world of Graphic Novels? I can definitely see the appeal to students, especially for reluctant readers. But I think I prefer an old fashioned novel. But I am happy to purchase them for our students.

Anxious to see what you all thought of the format, and the story.

Next book: Sold by Patrica McCormick