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American Born Chinese

By Gene Luen Yang

Publisher: First Second

Format: Softcover, full color, $12.95

Dewey: 741.5 YAN or FIC YAN

Subjects: Comics and comic books, etc.

ISBN: 978-1-59643-152-2

Reviewed by: Library Journal

A National Book Award finalist and ALA's Printz Award winner, this fable stars the mythological Monkey King, realistic  youngster Jin Wang of Taiwanese parentage, and TV sitcom teen  Danny. All three are dogged by an unwanted identity and humiliated by others' prejudice. The Monkey King trains to be a god but is unceremoniously bounced out of heaven and urged by "he who is" (the great god) to be what he is: a monkey. Jin tries to be accepted and romance a fellow student but gets picked on by classmates. Danny does well with friends until Chinese cousin Chin-Kee, a bitingly funny bundle of racist stereotypes, makes his annual visit and behaves so offensively that Danny must change schools. Finally, the three stories suddenly merge, to center on Jin coming to terms with his minority experience and moving beyond his own fear and hostility. Coalescence comes almost too quickly, but the trivision approach and treatment are unique and moving. The art is simple, colorful, and both attractive and effective. Some potty humor; recommended for teen and adult collections.

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