Dec 012010

 American Born Chinese is an award-winning graphic novel by Gene Yuan Yang with three storylines: one about an ABC boy who moves from San Francisco to an area where he is virtually the only Asian; another about an American teenager tries to distance himself from a distant cousin who is a grotesque Asian caricature. The third story is a retelling of the legend of the Monkey King. Journey to the West is one of the four classic novels, so American Born Chinese is an interesting exposure to that. There are also bits of Chinese in the text, as you can see in both the downloadable wallpapers. Teachers can find a lesson plan for the book provided by the publisher. I found the book very clever, wonderfully drawn, and funny in a rather painful way. I would recommend it for ages 12 and up.

Oct 212010
Three Delivery

Three Delivery is an American cartoon for older children (rated Y7) set in an American Chinatown. It features three teenagers who have been taught kung fu by their adoptive grandmother so that they can re-assemble a magical cookbook and protect it from their grandmother’s former friend, now turned evil nemesis. The show does not overtly try to teach Chinese, but the characters do say the occasional word or phrase and you can pick up a bit by watching it. For example, an older brother frequently addresses his younger sister as 妹妹 mèimèi. There are also a good number of signs and things written with traditional characters. The plots also tend to involve items of cultural significance, such as terra-cotta warriors (兵马俑 / 兵馬俑 bīngmǎyǒng). The show has a nice website (unfortunately, Flash-based) that incorporates a lot of written Chinese; for example during the inevitable wait for the Flash to load, we get … [read more]