American Born Chinese

By Gene Luen Yang

Original Publisher: First Second (Roaring Brook Press/Holtzbrinck)
Current Publisher: Squarefish (Macmillan)
Digital Publisher: First Second Books

Reading Level: Ages 12 & Up

Introductory note from YARN Editor Kerri Majors: 

When we were discussing how to pay tribute to American Born Chinese, we kept circling almost fearfully back to a visual tribute of some kind—fearfully because, well, this is Gene Luen Yang’s National Book Award-nominated, Michael L. Printz Award-winning graphic novel masterpiece. Who were we to do a visual tribute?

We decided that, despite our fears, it had to be done; we just felt that we had to use a combination of text and image to appropriately discuss this groundbreaking work. Our cartoon is not meant to compete with Yuen’s artistry. Rather, in our playful attempt at graphic writing, we hope to inspire other writer-artists to overcome their own fears, try new forms, and experiment without taking themselves too seriously. It’s not easy! In fact, as we drafted and redrafted, we discovered just how difficult it is to integrate text and image—which increased our respect for Yang all the more. We can’t wait to see where Gene Luen Yang takes us next.

I also want to give a special thanks to Toni McIntyre and Julia Wang for putting their visual talents to work on this project!

NOTE: American Born Chinese is shortened to ABC for space considerations in the cartoon.

YARN is an award-winning literary journal that publishes outstanding original short fiction, poetry, and essays for Young Adult readers, written by the writers you know and love, as well as fresh new voices...including teens.  yareview.net YARN was a recipient of a National Book Foundation Innovations in Reading Prize in 2011.


YPL Finalists That Year:

  • Martine Leavitt for Keturah and Lord Death
  • Patricia McCormick for Sold
  • Nancy Werlin for The Rules of Survival
  • Gene Luen Yang  for American Born Chinese

YPL Winner That Year:  M.T. Anderson for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party

Judges That Year: Margaret Bechard, Patricia McKissack, Linda Sue Park, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Jude Watson

The Year in Literature: Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins won the Newbery Medal. Looking for Alaska by John Green won the Printz Award.

More Information: American Born Chinese was the first graphic novel to be nominated for the National Book Award. In 2007, American Born Chinese became the first graphic novel to win the Printz Award.

Buy the Book: