Entering the World of GN (Graphic Novels)

118944[1] AMERICAN BORN CHINESE by Gene Luen Yang
…bravely into a new literary world! It was suggested that I start my discovery into the genre of Graphic Novels with this book. While I wouldn’t say I am totally enamored with the style in one sitting, I can add some new enlightenments to my knowledge base. I have argued for several years with classroom teachers to allow certain GN books to qualify as “reading”, without truly embracing the genre in my own reading. In order to stay true to my goal of staying current in Children’s and Young Adult literature I really must break into this world.
That being said, American Born Chinese was a good place to start. It is a stand alone novel, so it bypasses the stereotypical “comic book series” feeling. I must admit this story could not have been told in the same way in any other style. Although listed as children’s lit, I would not hand it to anyone under middle school. There is a lot of girlfriend/boyfriend reference that rings far more relevant for the older grades. The story is cleverly written in three distinct tales that wrap together in a surprising end. The theme itself has stayed with me in subtle ways for several days. I often judge the quality of either a book or movie by how much I think of it in the days following my completing it.
So in that regards, this one popped into my consciousness during quiet moments many times. Leaving me with a “…Umm!!” moment. The theme takes us into the world of 1st generation Americans specifically and being comfortable and true to ourselves in general. It was a poignant voice for Chinese Americans and although the immigrant voice has commonalities, each ethnicity has its unique roots and responses. But the lesson of finding our place in spite of societies’ pressure to conform is universal, especially for adolescents.

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