73 pages 2 hours read

Gene Luen Yang

American Born Chinese

Fiction | Graphic Novel/Book | Middle Grade | Published in 2006

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American Born Chinese

  • Genre: Fiction; middle-grade graphic novel
  • Originally Published: 2006
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile GN530L; grades 5-8
  • Structure/Length: 9 sections; approx. 240 pages
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: Jin Wang, a Chinese American middle-schooler, faces racism and struggles to accept his full identity, eventually lashing out at his best friend Wei-Chen Sun. The lives of Jin, Wei-Chen, and the Monkey King intertwine from the 16th century until present-day, when Jin’s realizations allow him to move forward and heal.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Racism; stereotypes; sexual innuendos. Please note:  The novel covered in this Teaching Unit contains racist and offensive language, which the author utilizes to educate readers on the harm inflicted by racist stereotypes. In a similar educational vein, Yang’s “Chin-Kee” character in the novel (mentioned in questions and prompts in this Unit) is an intentional portrayal of a hyperbolic stereotype representing racist points of view.

Gene Luen Yang, Author

  • Bio: Born in 1973 in California; began making comics in 5th grade; earned a degree from University of California, Berkeley; worked as a computer engineer; served as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature; received MacArthur Fellows Genius Grant in 2016; received Eisner Awards for Superman Smashes the Klan (2021) and Dragon Hoops (2021); has written for Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics; teaches creative writing 
  • Other Works: The Rosary Comic Book (2003); Level Up (2011); Boxers and Saints (2013)
  • Awards: Printz Award (2007); Eisner Award (2007); first graphic novel to be finalist for National Book Award, Young People’s Literature                   

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By Gene Luen Yang