Thursday, March 29, 2007

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

I will admit that I don't read a lot of graphic novels, but I had to read this one since it won all kinds of awards this year, including the Printz Award and it was a National Book Award Finalist. I was surprised at how easy this was to read, because I have not found manga or some other kinds of comics easy to follow. The art is simple and expressive and perfectly matches the tone of the stories. I say stories because the book is made up of three story lines—one about a monkey king that doesn't want to be a monkey, one about an immigrant boy who has trouble fitting in at his school in the U.S., and one about an American boy with a Chinese cousin who embodies every stereotype imaginable and humiliates him year after year. Anyway, the stories come together at the end, and ultimately it's a story of how to take what life gives you and make something of it. It will be appreciated by anyone who struggles to be true to themselves.

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