Review: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

. . American Born Chinese consists of three tandem narratives. A second generation immigrant and the only Chinese-American student at his new school in a predominantly white area, Jin Wang just wants to be a typical American boy. The immortal Monkey King is a proud kung fu master who is trying to become more than just a monkey. And all-American Danny is embarrassed by his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee, who puts every Chinese stereotype into loud, off-putting action. As I read along, I wondered what, if anything, these storylines had to do with each other. Were they merely different perspectives on common themes, since all three addressed issues such as racism and intolerance? When the connections between these three narratives were revealed: wow!…

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Review: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis is an autobiographical graphic novel set during the author's childhood in Iran, with the Islamic Revolution and the war between Iran and Iraq as the book's central events. Before reading this memoir, I knew little about Iran beyond what I've heard on the news over the years. What a shame! This is an ancient, rich culture with a complicated history, with people vastly different than their government. The book has a powerful beginning. Satrapi remembers the way things were before the revolution: secular schools, parties, pop music, regular clothing. She brings us into her world as the people of Iran experience quick, drastic changes in law and culture. She especially shows how confusing and difficult it was for children…

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