It’s a double dip for Gene Luen Yang today, as his two volume Boxers and Saints—an intertwined graphic novel telling the story of the China’s Boxer Rebellion from the POVs of two different teenagers—has made the list of finalists for the National Book Awards, which will be presented on November 20. Yang was nominated—as he was for American Born Chinese—in the Young People’s Literature category. Here are the finalists:
Young People’s Literature
Kathi Appelt, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
Cynthia Kadohata, The Thing About Luck
Tom McNeal, Far Far Away
Meg Rosoff, Picture Me Gone
Gene Luen Yang, Boxers & Saints
The entire list of nominees is here.
American Born CHinese wa sthe first ever graphic novel to get a NAB nomination. Yang is now two-for-two.
Although the description of the book—a history of the Boxer Rebellion—sounds like a typical kids book, Boxers and Saints is anything BUT. (Here’s a review from Sunday’s NY Times.) from It follows two young Chinese teenagers, Little Bao, who avenges cruelties against his village by joining a gang of martial arts-uses rebels, who seem to use magic. Where reality begins and ends is part of the framework of Yang’s story, especially with the story of Four Girl, another neglected kid who turns to Christianity to save her from a drab existence. It’s a stunning interconnected narrative that has no easy answers.
Earlier in the day we talked about Yang’s NEXT book, The Shadow Hero, which will be drawn by Sonny Liew.
The nominees were announced on Morning Joe, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.