Review of the Week

boxers&saintsYang, Gene Luen. Boxers.  Gene Luen Yang, Illus. Graphic novel. Boxers and Saints Series.  First Second, 2013. 328p. $18.99.  978-1-59643-359-5. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 7-12

Yang, Gene Luen. Saints. Gene Luen Yang, Illus. Graphic novel.  Boxers and Saints Series. First Second, 2013. 170p. $18.99.  978-1-59643-689-3. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 7-12

Series Review: Yang’s witty, deft art brings to life parallel stories of the Boxer Rebellion. In Boxers, Little Bao is radicalized following his abuse at the hands of Western missionaries; he joins and eventually leads a violent uprising against foreigners and Christians. Saints chronicles the conflict’s opposite side: a young ostracized girl is taken in by Christian missionaries. Motivated by individualist impulses, she pursues a life of service. The lives of the two main characters’ are poignantly interconnected, and the books are infinitely richer read together, with Boxers first. Historical facts are brilliantly integrated with Chinese and Christian mythology. As in his American Born Chinese (2006), Yang’s art contrives to be simple, yet sophisiticated, humorous, and profound. Extensive research informs this thoughtful and creative work which offers no easy answers to conflicts of cultural supremacy. Resources for further reading are included. A gift edition has both titles in a boxed set.

Melissa McAvoy, Live Oak School

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