Natalie Sapkarov
                                                                            LIS 590 SM
—although not as uplifting as a traditional cultural fair, it does bring about the very real (though
depressing) history o...
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Germ File


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This file contains interdisciplinary uses for the graphic novel American Born Chinese.

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Germ File

  1. 1. Natalie Sapkarov LIS 590 SM June 21, 2007 Assignment #1: Germ File Entry Yang, Gene. American Born Chinese. New York: First Second, 2006. ISBN 1596431520, 240 p. Grades 6-12. (Printz Award Winner 2007) This graphic novel is told in three parts, three distinct stories with something in common. Jin is a young Chinese American boy, trying to emphasize the American in his life and hoping to win the heart of a blonde girl. From the ordinary, we shift to the Monkey King (of Chinese folklore), who cannot stand being a monkey and most of all would like to transcend his monkey-ness. The third story is about Danny, a middle school boy who is continually plagued by his cousin Chin-Kee’s visits from China. His embarrassment cannot be contained and Chin-Kee’s wildly stereotypical actions are exaggerated beyond belief. This is a story about overcoming prejudices, fitting in, making friends, and accepting who you are. Told in graphic novel format, the illustrations are full- color and vivid, allowing for a lively storytelling. LITERATURE: In a unit on folklore or a study of non-Western literature, students may select an adaptation of The Monkey King to read, and compare and contrast it to Yang’s portrayal of the character. This may be a written report, or even more compelling, a class discussion/debate, involving multiple versions of the same story. Questions to think about: How does Yang’s interpretation of the Monkey King compare to the original Chinese tale? What do each of these say about Chinese culture? How has time affected each adaptation? Why do you suppose Yang chose the specific details of The Monkey King that he did? After reading the folktale, what more have you learned about its place in American Born Chinese? Adaptations:  Jiang, Ji-Li. The Magical Monkey King: Mischief in Heaven. Shen’s Books, 2004. ISBN 1885008252. 124p.  Kherdian, David. Monkey, A Journey to the West. Shambhala, 2000. ISBN 1570625816. 244 p.  Wu, Ch’eng-en. Monkey: Folk Novel of China. Grove Press, 1994. ISBN 0802130860. 320 p. SOCIAL STUDIES: As issues of discrimination and prejudice are abundant in this novel, it would do well in the social studies curriculum, especially in a unit devoted to the history of racism, prejudice, and discrimination in America. Students could research a particular group (including but not limited to: Chinese Americans, African Americans, Japanese Americans, Jews, Muslims, women, the elderly, disabled persons, homosexual persons, etc.) to tie in with this novel (or the novel may just be read by those researching Chinese Americans). An expo or fair may be organized to showcase these findings
  2. 2. —although not as uplifting as a traditional cultural fair, it does bring about the very real (though depressing) history of our country. The overlying theme: Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat them. FINE ARTS: What a wonderful opportunity to talk about graphic novels (and create your own)! Discussion topics of the history of comic books, the popularity of them today, the different styles (including Japanese manga), and the ways in which they affect readers are all possible options. Students may also choose another graphic novel to read in order to compare artistic styles. Suggested graphic novels for teens can be found at these websites:  Comic Books for Young Adults  Graphic Novels and Comic Books: An Annotated List.  No Flying, No Tights  YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens Students may, of course, also create their own graphic novels, through direct instruction of the Art teacher and aide from the following resources:  Chinn, Mike. Create Your Own Graphic Novel: Using Digital Techniques. Barron’s, 2007.  --. Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel: Everything You Need to Know to Create Great Graphic Works. Barron’s, 2004.  Davila, Victor M. How to Draw Graphic Novels! Tangerine Press, 2004.  Eisner, Will. Graphic Storytelling. Poorhouse Press, 1996.  Gertler, Nat. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Creating a Graphic Novel. Alpha Books, 2004.