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Parents' Guide to

American Born Chinese

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Teen confronts Asian myths, stereotypes in quest to fit in.

American Born Chinese Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 13+

Perfect for Teaching Satire

The book is an incredible resource for teaching satire. Don't listen to the reviews about the exaggerated stereotypical Chinese figure being offensive. It's written by an Asian-American author and is completely satirical, therefore creating the positive message of not identifying Chinese people by those stereotypes, specifically in media. Adults need some more ELA education if you think that the Chin-Kee is meant to be offensive. In addition, it's a great for teens, specifically in middle school, to relate to, especially ones that may feel outcasted because of the way they look or speak. I use it as a text in my 8th grade middle school class and they can handle the sexual innuendos and the word "hell" maturely if you ask them to. Highly recommended for teens and adults alike.
age 18+

Degrading Book

This book is not good for anybody. It depicts an ugly Chinese figure (the cousin) who doesn't represent the Chinese people's characters at all, but is supposed to be the "soul" or real identify of the boy. It doesn't send a good message to American born Chinese, and is very offensive

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (11 ):

This superb blending of art and story broke barriers and won awards, and will speak to any reader who's felt like an outsider and struggeled to fit in. In American Born Chinese, author-illustrator Gene Luen Yang uses a rather complex narrative structure that blends folklore and school drama. The first graphic novel to win the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, it was also the first to be a finalist for the National Book Award -- truly marking the coming of age and acceptance of the graphic novel as a branch of children's literature.

In addition to its literary complexity, the book promotes solid values of tolerance and self-acceptance. Readers should be savvy enough to understand why Yang introduces a character that embodies negative stereotypes of Chinese people (buck teeth, squinty eyes, bright yellow skin, and he can't pronounce his "r's" or "l's"). American Born Chinese is thoughtful, funny, heartbreaking, and rich in compassion.

Book Details

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