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Author and Illustrator Gene Luen Yang on His Graphic Novel "American Born Chinese"

Author and Illustrator Gene Luen Yang did pull heavily from his own experiences growing up between Chinese and American cultures when writing his graphic novel American Born Chinese. When he talks at schools and libraries, he finds that kids who feel like outsiders—whether because they are the children of immigrants, balancing two cultures, or kids dealing with issues around LGBTQ—connect deeply to his book. And through the more subtle use of words and the more visceral, reaction-making use of comic illustrations, he could better communicate the emotional reality of feeling alone, of not fitting in.

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Gene Luen Yang

Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Nonfiction, Graphic Novels

Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang writes, and sometimes draws, comic books and graphic novels. American Born Chinese  — a memoir about growing up as an Asian American — became the first graphic novel to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award and a National Book Award finalist. His two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints  won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award finalist. His other works include Dragon Hoops , the Secret Coders series  (with Mike Holmes), The Shadow Hero  (with Sonny Liew), New Super-Man from DC Comics (with various artists), and the Avatar: The Last Airbender  series from Dark Horse Comics (with Gurihiru) and Superman Smashes the Klan (with Gurihiru).

In 2016, Yang was named the 5th National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and selected as a MacArthur Fellow.