I meant to read AMERICAN BORN CHINESE when it was a finalist for the National Book Award, really I did. But I was finishing up the QP books at the time and this one just never made it to the top of the pile. So, I packed it today for the flight to Dallas and ended up finishing it in the airport before I boarded the plane (never fear, I have three more books to read still). I have read some of the comments about the BBYA discussion and others who question this book as the Printz. I will not be one of those, however. This book is masterful. Set aside the graphic novel form/format/genre and you still have a masterful weaving of three tales that intersect perfectly. History, mythology, culture and so much more are made accessible by this novel. I am so anxious to take this into a classroom and see how kids react.
The first of three stories tells of the Monkey King whose head gets swollen with his own talent, so much so that he thinks himself greater than his creator. Jin Wang wants simply to fit into his new school in teh second story introduced to readers. However, he is made fun of despite the fact that he is an American born Chinese. Finally, a third story features the worst stereotype of all, Chin-Kee, who embarrasses his cousin Danny. How will these three stories come together? Easily with the skills of the author.
If you have not yet had the pleasure of this graphic novel and now Printz Medalist, set aside 30 minutes to read it through once and then some time just to go back and see the nuances of the illustrations.