Let’s face it, 2006 was the year of FUN HOME and AMERICAN BORN CHINESE, both of them smashing through all genre barriers to announce…WIN! KUDO! Comics aren’t just for kids anymore. AMERICAN BORN CHINESE has racked up yet another prestigious first:

AMERICAN BORN CHINESE by Gene Luen Yang (First Second Books, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press; September 2006; $16.95; ISBN: 13-978-1-59643-152-0) is the first graphic novel to receive the prestigious Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature, announced today by the Young Adult Library Services Association at the American Library Association’s midwinter conference in Seattle.

In addition to the Printz Award, AMERICAN BORN CHINESE was nominated for a National Book Award for excellence in Young People’s Literature in 2006, and was the first graphic novel ever to be nominated in any category the award’s 57 year history. Other accolades include: Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2006; a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year; a Booklist Editor’s Choice Book; a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year; an NPR Holiday Pick, and Best Graphic Novel/Comic of the year by Amazon.com.

AMERICAN BORN CHINESE addresses issues of cultural stereotypes, racism, and what it means to be “American,” through the story of Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his new school. It is a universal story of acceptance, alienation, and friendship told as a post-modern fable.

Hailed Publishers Weekly, “This much-anticipated, affecting store about growing up different is more than just the story of a Chinese-American childhood: it’s a fable for every kid born into a body and a life they wished they could escape… Yang accomplishes the remarkable feat of practicing what he preaches with this book: accept who you are and you’ll already have reached out to others.”


  1. It’s really nice to see the awards continue to roll in for Gene Yang. Both Yang and First Second deserve it!

    I’m wondering what First Second’s next big breakout hit will be come this Spring….anyone have any guesses?

  2. Great work! I picked up a copy at the American Library Association midwinter conference shortly after it received the Printz award. It deserves to be read by a wide audience, not just young adults.

  3. As a librarian who has worked hard to get graphic novels and comics into libraries for more than two decades, I see American Born Chinese’s Printz Award as a validation of everything I have done. I’m not the only librarian who likes graphic novels and thinks they deserve a place in every library collection. This award indicates that indeed, now most librarians think the same way. I couldn’t access the webcast of the press conference, but I heard that the audience whooped and hollered for joy at the announcement. I was whooping and hollering at my computer when I read the news on a librarian’s blog – she posted as it was happening.

  4. The libraries up here in the Boston area have really been bulking up their graphic novel sections. And I’ve been surprised by the amount of diversity! From Krigstein to Tatsumi to Sfar to Project: Romantic by Adhouse.

    And I can only hope that I haven’t seen American Born Chinese on the shelves because it’s out in someone’s hands!

  5. Well, in the Boston area you’ve got one of the best young YA librarians who support graphic novels – Robin Brenner! She works in one of the suburbs. She’s one of a number of good librarians in the area who believe in acquiring books that people will read. And yes, that’s the wonderful thing about libraries that carry graphic novels – the librarians tend to believe in diversity of content. So you’ll see super hero comics, manga, serious literary graphic novels, all kinds. And check with your library – if it doesn’t have American Born Chinese yet, it will very soon!