Monday, April 23, 2012

Mandy's Book of the Week (4/23)

Hello all!  Today I present you with a graphic novel.  I don't think I've ever highlighted one of these before, so I'm happy to have found one so awesome!

I'm not a visual learner, so graphic novels, in and of themselves, haven't ever had too strong of a draw for me.  This one, however, is great.

American Born Chinese is essentially three stories wrapped in to one.  First you have the old Chinese tale of the Monkey King.  Then, the story of Danny and his cousin Chin Kee.  And last, the story of Jin Wang, a boy whose parents immigrated from China and who really just wants to fit in.

I'm not going to get much into the tale of the Monkey King because I'd give too much away.  Just know that there is a monkey who rules over a mountain but that's not enough for him: he wants to be a god.

Danny is a white boy with a Chinese cousin.  This Chinese cousin, Chin Kee, comes to visit him every year and he is THE WORST.  He is basically every stereotype about the Chinese all rolled up in to one person.  Every year that he comes to visit, something so embarrassing happens that Danny is forced to transfer schools.

Jin Wang spends his first 9 years living in Chinatown, so he grows up with his parents' customs and other kids who look like him.  When he's 9, he moves to a suburb and is one of the only non-white kids at his school.  His whole world changes and he experiences racism for the first time.  He befriends a boy who has recently moved from Taiwan, but there is more to this boy than Jin knows.

At the end of the book, these three stories are linked together through some truly masterful storytelling.

Between the story, which is amazing, and the artwork, which is also incredible, you'd be hard pressed to find a better graphic novel in our collection.  Enjoy!