Books

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

For adults and teens

With simple, perceptive drawings, this coming-of-age tale focuses on three characters to paint a picture of cultural identity and self-acceptance. Jin Wang has just started at a new school where he is the only Chinese American student and is met with ridicule and bullying. Danny is a popular jock whose reputation is threatened when his obnoxious cousin Chin-Kee, a walking, talking version of Chinese stereotypes, comes to town. And the Monkey King, a character from Chinese folklore that has done everything needed to join the ranks of the immortals but is thwarted by the gods due to his lack of status. Author Gene Luen Yang states, “I came up with three ideas and couldn’t decide which one was the best. American Born Chinese is me doing all three at once.”

Learn more about Gene Luen Yang.

Where to find it

Book Discussions American Born Chinese

Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Skokie Public Library

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Skokie Public Library

Tuesday, February 23, 2017
Morton Grove Public Library

Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Morton Grove Public Library

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Lincolnwood Public Library

Thursday, March 9, 2017
Niles Township Schools’ ELL Parent Center

Monday, March 13, 2017
Featured Event: An Evening with Gene Luen Yang
Holiday Inn Chicago North Shore

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Oakton Community College, Skokie Campus

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang

For adults and teens

In a 1930s Chinatown neighborhood, Hank Chu is a Chinese American teenager who would rather work in his parents’ grocery store than don a cape and fight villains, to his superhero-obsessed mother’s dismay. An encounter with a mythological tortoise shadow spirit leaves Hank with the ability to avoid bullets, and after a spike in crime in the neighborhood has a tragic impact on the Chu family, Hank faces a choice: to hang back in the shadows, or step forth and fight for justice. Weaving together classic superhero tropes and elements of Chinese mythology and history, The Shadow Hero revives the 1940s character of the Green Turtle, widely believed to be the first Asian American superhero, and gives him an origin story in the Golden Age comic style.

Learn more about Gene Luen Yang.

Where to find it

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

For grades 3 to 6

Minli, a desperately poor young Chinese girl, is inspired by her father’s storytelling to find the all-powerful Old Man of the Moon to change her family’s fortunes. She must navigate the journey to the Never-Ending Mountain, facing foes, befriending helpers and navigating dangerous situations on her way to achieve her quest. Interspersed in the story of Minli’s adventure are tales inspired by traditional Chinese folklore, color illustrations and the story of her worried and loving parents. Evocative and enchanting, readers feel like they’ve been transported to a fantasy world full of scary things, but also possibilities. This book won a Newbery honor and was chosen for Al Roker’s Today Show Kid’s Book Club.

Learn more about Grace Lin.

Where to find it

Book Discussions Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Morton Grove Public Library

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Lincolnwood Public Library

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Morton Grove Public Library

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Niles Public Library District

Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin

For kids

When a young Chinese American girl helps her mother with their garden, she is troubled by the fact that their garden is different than all their neighbors’ gardens. She and her mother use large shovels to dig deep holes, they need a hose rather than small watering cans, and their plant markers are handwritten in strange lettering. Worst of all, when neighboring gardens start to bloom with flowers in gorgeous colors, their garden is “all dark green and ugly.” When mom harvests their vegetables and turns them into delicious-smelling soup, all of the neighbors come and trade their lovely flowers for a bowl of “Ugly Vegetable Soup.” This debut picture book is beautifully illustrated by the author and teaches a gentle lesson about not judging based on appearances, the perils of trying to fit in and the joys of embracing one’s own culture.

Learn more about Grace Lin.

Where to find it