I enjoyed American Born Chinese, a graphic novel written and illustrated by Gene Yang.

This was extraordinarily well done with three intertwining stories. Jin Wang has moved to America into a neighborhood full of racial prejudice. Danny has been trying to disguise his heritage. The famous mythological tale of the Monkey King declaring war on all the other gods in the pantheon.

I really liked the straightforward, bright art work and the “Zing!” signaling a moment of courage really amused me.

Jin Wang thinks he’ll be accepted by his European American classmates, especially when he starts dating the lovely Amelia. Danny is tormented by his cousin Chin-Kee, a racist caricature, who has come to visit and mortify Danny. And it’s impossible not to root for the recalcitrant Monkey King in his quest to best all who mock him.

All the questions raised as the stories develop are neatly answered by the end of the book. Despite their serious themes, the stories are lively, especially Yang’s retelling of the Monkey King myth.

It won a Printz award (for young adult literature) in 2007.

The Comics Journal’s interview with Gene Yang.

Gene Yang’s blog.

Gene Yang answers questions about American Born Chinese.


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