16 March 2008

Read This Book

American Born Chinese
Gene Luen Yang

Right. So I just posted about how little I felt I could really say about ABC. Well, then, I am forsworn. Or something. Anyway, here's something I can say.

This is why you should read American Born Chinese, and why it should be taught in schools:
  • First off, it's just a good story. It's well-written and interesting, and in a student context would be an excellent example of "this is one person's writing style which works."
  • It uses an unorthodox (for Western culture) story structure which is interesting to the casual reader and would lead very well in a classroom setting into a discussion of plot structure and how it can vary creatively.
  • It's a good, easy-to-read example of a comic as literature. I think it'd be an excellent way to introduce graphic novels as a literary form--not too complicated or weird, but still an interesting story told in such a manner that the combination of art and words is really necessary.
  • It's got a good message. I always like a be-yourself story that isn't heavy handed.
  • As I said in my earlier post, it'd be a great intro to a study of Eastern myths and legends.
  • It's a good set-up for, school-wise, an in-class discussion of racism and the implications of such.
So there. Six reasons why American Born Chinese is something worth reading. I think I'm going to print up a sheet of these now and start mailing it to schools around the country.

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