EastBay Today

Posted July 14, 2017

Alumnus and Graphic Novelist Gene Luen Yang Makes NPR’s Top 100 List

American Born Chinese was selected from a pot of 7,000 titles

"American Born Chinese" was released in 2006 and includes a compilation of three stories.

He's one of the minds behind contemporary iterations of DC Comics' "Superman." He's a recent recipient of a MacArthur "Genius Grant." He was named the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature by the Library of Congress in 2016. And Cal State East Bay Alumnus Gene Luen Yang's (M.S. '03) groundbreaking 2006 novel seems well on its way to being considered a  critical contribution to the annals of comic book history. 

Yang's award-winning book "American Born Chinese" has been named to NPR's Top 100 Best Comics and Graphic Novels list. The distinction, in contrast to Yang's literary honors such as the Michael L. Printz award or the Eisner Award (sometimes referred to as the Oscar of comics), is for being voted by NPR readers as "loved," which is perhaps a truer hallmark of the novel's enduring qualities — and more important to the author as well. 

"One of the most gratifying responses that I get to the book is children of immigrants coming up to me and saying that [the book] resonated with [them]," Yang told Cal State East Bay students during a 2016 visit to campus. "That even though we have two different cultural backgrounds that they felt a lot of those same emotional realities. That's more than a compliment." 

Watch more of Yang's talk, including his thoughts on "Superman" (who he calls the prototypical immigrant), below. 

Alumnus and award-winning graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang (M.S. '03) visited Cal State East Bay in 2016 to discuss his books and advocacy work for reading.
Garvin Tso

For more information on Gene Luen Yang, his projects and recent works visit geneyang.com.