The Dragon's Child: A Story of Angel Island

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9780060276935: The Dragon's Child: A Story of Angel Island

Did you want to go to America?
Pop: Sure. I didn't have a choice. My father said I had to go. So I went.

Were you sad when you left your village?
Pop: Maybe a little . . . well, maybe a lot.

Ten-year-old Gim Lew Yep knows that he must leave his home in China and travel to America with the father who is a stranger to him. Gim Lew doesn't want to leave behind everything that he's ever known. But he is even more scared of disappointing his father. He uses his left hand, rather than the "correct" right hand; he stutters; and most of all, he worries about not passing the strict immigration test administered at Angel Island.

The Dragon's Child is a touching portrait of a father and son and their unforgettable journey from China to the land of the Golden Mountain. It is based on actual conversations between two-time Newbery Honor author Laurence Yep and his father and on research on his family's immigration history by his niece, Dr. Kathleen S. Yep.

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About the Author:

Laurence Yep is the acclaimed author of more than sixty books for young people and a winner of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. His illustrious list of novels includes the Newbery Honor Books Dragonwings and Dragon's Gate; The Earth Dragon Awakes: The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, a Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee; and The Dragon's Child: A Story of Angel Island, which he cowrote with his niece, Dr. Kathleen S. Yep, and was named a New York Public Library's "One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing" and a Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book.

Mr. Yep grew up in San Francisco, where he was born. He attended Marquette University, graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and received his PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He lives in Pacific Grove, California, with his wife, the writer Joanne Ryder.



Dr. Kathleen S. Yep is an assistant professor of Asian American studies and sociology at Pitzer College, which is a member of the Claremont Colleges in Southern California. She received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. This is her first book for children. She lives in San Gabriel, California.

Review:

Dragon's Child is a great gem of a book. Gim Lew is the perfect protagonist for this story: young and unaware of what the world really looks like; he shows us our own culture through a foreigner's eyes. What he sees is both surprising and a little shocking: a "land of opportunity" that does everything in its power to deny those of Chinese descent. Once again, author Laurence Yep weaves an intriguing tale that is hard to put down until the very end. I found myself worrying for young Lew's fate on Angel Island, despite common sense telling me what would happen. A story like this--one full of hope and aspiration--is important to read in a world where different cultures are connecting all the time. Yep has written another keeper of a story. -- SARAH (FLORISSANT, MO) -- Reader Review from FirstLook

Historian Kathleen S. Yep teams with her uncle Laurence to craft a compelling tale based on transcripts of his father's 1922 immigration interview. The Yeps relate the harrowing experiences of ten-year-old Gim Lew, who, after crossing the Pacific with his father, is interned on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay, where he must submit to lengthy detailed interviews about his home, village and neighbors, in order to prove he is who he claims to be. To pass this detailed interrogation, he has conscientiously studied a family book containing specifics about his home: How many windows in your house? How many steps? How are the houses in your village arranged?, etc. To enter "The Golden Mountain," he must answer the questions perfectly, leaving no room for doubt by the immigration officers. The boy's frustration and anxiety rise from the page, as does this particularly xenophobic and unjust moment in U.S. history. Fiction based on facts and the authors' smooth narration vividly evoke the past and its inhabitants. (author's note, photos, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 8-12) -- Kirkus Review

Newbery Honor winner Laurence Yep is legendary for his Chinese American narratives; he breathes life and depth into stories many readers only experience in history books. In The Dragons Child, Yep teams up with his niece, Dr. Kathleen Yep, to tell the story of ten-year-old Gim Lew, who must leave China and move to America with his father. Will he pass the difficult tests administered by the officials of Angel Island? Will he find a new home and friends in America? The Dragons Child is partly autobiographical. Yep based the novel on conversations with his father and research relating to his family's immigration history conducted by his niece. Readers who have enjoyed Yep's previous novels will find this new work fascinating. The Dragons Child is a wonderful addition to the Yep canon, as well as to the field of children's literature. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D. -- Children's Literature

This is a beautifully written book. It would be an excellent resource for a World or American history Social Studies curriculum. Both children and adult fans of historical fiction will find this book a satisfying read. -- MAUREEN (AUSTIN, TX) -- Reader Review from FirstLook

Wow--what an amazing book! Laurence Yep wrote a wonderful, realistic story about a young boy's adventure of becoming an American. As I read, I was able to feel his anxiety and fear about his relationship with his father, his stuttering and his desire to be accepted. In a society where many children's families immigrated to the US, this book is a wonderful way to identify with an immigrant child, and feel like you are in his shoes. I would especially recommend this book for children interested in different cultures and societies. -- STEPHANIE (SOLON, OH) -- Reader Review from FirstLook

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