Author of American Born Chinese
American Born Chinese is a graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang. Released in 2006 by First Second Books, it was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Awards in the category of Young People's Literature. It won the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award, the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New, the Comics Week Best Comic of the Year, the Best Book of the Year, the 2006/2007 Best Book Award from The Chinese American Librarians Association, and Amazon.com Best Graphic Novel/Comic of the Year. It also made the Top Ten Graphic Novel for Youth, the NPR Holiday Pick, and Top Ten Comic of the Year. It was colored by cartoonist Lark Pien, who received the 2007 Harvey Award for Best Colorist for her work on the book.
The story of American Born Chinese consists of three separate tales.
The first tale is based upon the legendary folk tale of Sun Wukong, or The Monkey King, a character from the classic Chinese novel .
The second tale is the story of a second-generation child of immigrants named Jin Wang, who has moved from San Francisco's Chinatown to a mostly white suburb. Jin Wang struggles to fit in within his new school, and within white American culture. His story links the other two narratives, and fits the form of an ethnic bildungsroman.
The third tale tells the story of a white American boy named Danny, whose Chinese cousin Chin-Kee (as in "Chinky") comes and visits every year. Chin-Kee displays many American racial stereotypes of the Chinese in terms of accent, dress, hairstyle, physical appearance, eating habits, academic performance, and hobbies. Danny is troubled by Chin-Kee's visits.
While the three tales are seemingly unrelated at first, it is later revealed in the book that Danny is actually Jin Wang, who "transformed" into an American boy after being prevented from pursuing the girl of his dreams for being Chinese. Eventually, Danny fights Chin-Kee, only to find out that Chin-Kee is really the Monkey King, who came to remind him of his true identity. Ultimately, Jin Wang gives up his "Danny" persona and embraces his Chinese identity.
The Monkey King: A monkey who has lived for thousands of years and mastered all the heavenly disciplines. He yearns to join the ranks of gods, and aftter being rejected, goes on a rampage. He managed to defeat many gods and goddesses, but was buried under a mountain by Tze-Yo-Tzuh for five hundred years. He was later released by Wong Lai-Tsao and accompanies him on his journey.
Tze-Yo-Tzuh: Tze-Yo-Tzuh is the creator of the universe and all of the deities.
Wong Lai-Tsao: Based upon Xuanzang from Journey to the West. Wong Lai-Tsao is a monk sent on a journey for Tze-Yo-Tzuh. He is promised the Monkey King as a disciple.
Jin Wang: Jin Wang is a Chinese American boy who wants to fit in with the white students at his new school in a suburb. He doesn't like talking too much at school, especially in front of Amelia, the girl he has a crush on. He is finally encouraged by his friend Wei-Chen, to ask her out. But this relationship doesn't remain long. Greg, Amelia's friend, asks Jin to break up with her because he doesn't think Jin is right for Amelia.
Amelia Harris: Amelia Harris is a white American girl who is the classmate of Jin and Wei-Chen. Jin has a crush on her.