American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese Study Guide

Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel American Born Chinese comprises three apparently separate storylines: the first follows a monkey deity's desire to be all-powerful; the second follows Jin Wang, a child of Chinese immigrants, as he wrestles with his Asian minority identity; the third tells of a white teen who is troubled by the annual visits of his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee, who is a caricature of racist stereotypes. At the novel's climax, it is revealed that Chin-Kee is an incarnation of the Monkey King and Danny is the alter-ego Jin developed to escape his Chinese identity.

Written and drawn by Yang and colored by cartoonist Lark Pien, the book was first published by First Second in 2006. The graphic novel was a finalist for the National Book Award in the category of Young People's Literature, and won the Publishers Weekly Comics Best Comic of the Year, the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New, the Best Book Award from The Chinese American Librarians Association, the San Francisco Chronicle's Best Book of the Year, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Best Graphic Novel/Comic of the Year.

Critics have praised American Born Chinese for its depiction of the prejudice that exists towards Chinese people in America and the crises of identity that can arise for first-generation Americans struggling to fit in.