The first tale is based upon the legendary folk tale of Sun Wukong, or The Monkey King, a character from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West.
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.
All of them have their own problems, and they are having trouble solving them. Even though they cannot help themselves alone, their lives are overlapped with each other. While the story goes on, they start to figuring out the solutions to their lives.