Yang, Gene Luen 1973(?)- (Gene Yang)
Yang, Gene Luen 1973(?)- (Gene Yang)
Born c. 1973; married; has children.
Educator. Teaches high school in Oakland, CA; Humble Comics, Fremont, CA, publisher, 1996—.
Xeric grant, 1997, for Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks; Michael L. Printz award, American Library Association, 2007, for American Born Chinese.
(And illustrator) The Rosary Comic Book, colored by Lark Pien, Pauline Books & Media (Boston, MA), 2003.
Loyola Chin and the San Peligran Order, AmazeInk (San Jose, CA), 2004.
(And illustrator) American Born Chinese, colored by Lark Pien, First Second (New York, NY), 2006.
Also author of Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, Slave Labor Graphics; The Motherless One; and Duncan's Kingdom, illustrated by Derek Kirk Kim, Image Comics.
Gene Luen Yang is an educator and a graphic novelist. He teaches computer science classes at a Roman Catholic high school in Oakland, California. In a Booklist interview, Yang explained his initial interest in comics: "I bought my first comic in the fifth grade, and I started drawing them shortly thereafter with a friend. Then in seventh grade, we both got interested in girls, and comics became really uncool. So I stopped drawing them, and I also stopped reading them. In high school, I took a comics class, and I started getting really heavily into them again."
In 2006 Yang wrote and illustrated American Born Chinese, which was colored by Lark Pien. The graphic novel contains three stories. The first introduces Jin Wang, a teen who adjusts to life in a white area of town after moving from San Francisco's Chinatown. The second story involves Danny, a popular teen-aged jock who worries that his nerdy cousin, Chin-Kee, will ruin his reputation when he enrolls at the same high school. The third story is more mythical, with the Monkey King trying to attain the status of a god. Each character is unhappy with who they are and must learn to accept themselves before they can truly be happy.
Sarah Meador, writing on the Curled Up with a Good Book Web site, called American Born Chinese "one of the major critical successes of the comic book world in 2006." Meador noted that the author's "artwork has the clean lines of a woodblock print and the bright colors of a Saturday morning cartoon" and found the imagery "clean and easy to follow." Booklist contributor Jesse Karp commented that "the stories have a simple, engaging sweep to them." Karp added that "their weighty subjects … receive thoughtful, powerful examination." A contributor to the Midwest Book Review called the style "vivid." The same contributor was impressed by the way the separate stories united "in a surprising climax, in this candidly told, utterly absorbing modern American fable." A contributor to Publishers Weekly remarked that the author "accomplishes the remarkable feat of practicing what he preaches with this book." The same contributor found that the "expert coloring" and the "clear, concise lines" were "deceptively simple" as well as "expressive." Philip Charles Crawford, writing in School Library Journal, called the work both "rare" and "well-crafted," adding that the drawings and colorings were "a strong visual complement" to the text of the book. Crawford concluded that the book is "a finely wrought story that is an effective combination of humor and drama." In a Kliatt review, George Galuschak mentioned that the character of "Chin-Kee is so full of fun that a laugh track follows him around." Galuschak stated: "This is one of the best graphic novels I've read this year." A second reviewer writing in School Library Journal observed that the author "deftly sidesteps" the sappiness of discussing racial prejudice and self-acceptance in this "heartfelt tale."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 2006, Jesse Karp, review of American Born Chinese, p. 114; March 1, 2007, Gillian Engberg, author interview, p. 75.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November, 2006, Elizabeth Bush, review of American Born Chinese, p. 152.
Current Events, a Weekly Reader Publication, February 5, 2007, "Beyond Words," p. 6.
English Journal, September, 2007, James J. Blasingame, review of American Born Chinese, p. 99.
Horn Book Magazine, March 1, 2007, "Michael L. Printz Award," p. 220.
Kliatt, November, 2006, George Galuschak, review of American Born Chinese, p. 32.
Library Media Connection, January, 2007, Rosemary Knapp, review of American Born Chinese, p. 65.
MELUS, fall, 2007, Binbin Fu, review of American Born Chinese.
Midwest Book Review, March, 2007, review of American Born Chinese.
Publishers Weekly, June 12, 2006, review of American Born Chinese, p. 36.
School Library Journal, September, 2006, Philip Charles Crawford, review of American Born Chinese, p. 240; October, 2006, review of American Born Chinese, p. 66.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2007, "Teen Reviews of the 2007 Printz Award Winner," p. 92.
Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (February 5, 2008), Sarah Meador, review of American Born Chinese.
First Second Books Web site,http://www.firstsecondbooks.com/ (February 5, 2008), author profile.
Gene Luen Yang Home Page,http://www.humblecomics.com (February 5, 2008), author biography.
Marion Public Library Web site,http://www.marion.lib.in.us/ (February 5, 2008), author profile.