American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang artistically discusses the dangers of stereotyping a person from outside your own culture. Believing negative stereotypes only reinforces racism. Rules are then fabricated within different sects of people: White people should only date whites and Asians should date only Asians. At least it seems that it should be this way with the characters in this book.
The graphic novel is broken into three parts: A myth about a monkey King, the life of a Chinese Boy attending a school that has mostly Whites, and a Sitcom styled story about a racially stereotyped Chinese Boy visiting his American cousin who does not look like his related. Each story offers a wide range of humor but also questions why people feel that they need to fit or reject into certain group of beings. Ingeniously, these stories are very much intertwined and nicely wrap up this graphic novel by Yang.
The portrayal of racism by Yang is the most relatable work for any adolescent to read. Many of the scenes present racism and stereotyping in its ignorant and most innocent form. There are not acts of violence but simple conversations with an undercurrent of racial tones.
The characters are very inviting since they express feelings that most adolescents have: self-doubt, bullying, and social acceptance. They also have humorous quirks and intangibly funny nuances that make their individuality stand out even with all the stereotyping.
Creatively speaking, the graphics are engaging for a younger audience because it always focuses around the characters emotion. The comics also have a timelessness quality to it for young readers because the pictures are filled with so many ideas that there is always something new to pick up on reading it a second or third time. American Born Chinese is fine book to have an adolescent read who is apprehensive or intimidated by larger texts and works.