American Born Chinese

By: 

Gene Yang

Number of Pages: 

240

Minimum grade level: 

7th

Characters

  • Jin Wang - the only Chinese-American student at his new school
  • Danny - the popular basketball player at school
  • Chin-Kee - Danny's embarrassing cousin
  • Monkey King - character of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables

Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. Are you familiar with graphic novels? Have you read one before? How does this one compare to something you might have read or what your previous impressions of graphic novels were?
  2. Why was the graphic novel format a good choice by the author? Did the pictures add to or tell more of the story to the reader?
  3. Each story is told a little differently. Chin-Kee's is told through a TV program, the Monkey King is a more traditional tale. Why do you think the author did this? Did it work?
  4. Have you or someone you know transformed him or herself in a similar to the transformations of characters?
  5. How do the characters' feeling about themselves influence how they think they are perceived or how they are treated? Do their attitudes toward themselves make them feel better or worse?
  6. Would it be hard for you to move to a new country and try to fit in? How does Jin try to fit in?
  7. What is a stereotype? What characters follow a stereotype and what are some examples from the book of that stereotype?
  8. What lesson does the Monkey King learn that he passed on to Jin?

Activities

(From First Second) Students research social issues using comic books from various eras.

(From Kennedy Center) Write an autobiographical outline or talk to a family member and create a short biographical essay and then create your own storyboard for the story.

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.