Reviews for Dragon's Child : A Story of Angel Island

Booklist Reviews 2008 April #1
Yep's many fine books about the Chinese American experience include his Newbery Honor Dragonwings (1975). Now in a dramatic blend of fact and fiction, Laurence Yep and his niece draw on family stories, immigration records, and memories of Laurence's own conversations to tell his dad's story of coming to America at age 10 with his Chinese American dad. Each chapter begins with a simple question to his dad: Were you sad when you left your village? Were you nervous about America? The answers personalize the young immigrant's heart-wrenching leaving, the journey over, the racism, and climax of the rigorous interview at Angel Island, where Yep's father faces the threat of being refused entry to America. Tension builds and secrets are revealed as his father practices for the Test, tries not to act nervous, and hides his left-handedness and his stammer. With family photos, a historical note, and a long bibliography, this stirring narrative will spark readers' own search for roots. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
With Kathleen S. Yep. In 1922, a young boy leaves China for California, accompanied by his American-born Chinese father whom he scarcely knows. Upon arrival, the boy faces rigorous questioning by Angel Island officials. Yep used intriguing immigration transcripts to write this absorbing (if occasionally unpolished) fictionalized tale about his family. An extensive afterword supplies more information about Chinese immigration and Yep family history, including photographs. Websites. Bib. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 April #1
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) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 April #3

This short novel about a father and son's journey from rural China to San Francisco in 1922 will firmly grip the target audience. The nine-year-old narrator, who is modeled on Laurence Yep's (Dragonwings ) father, describes his shy reintroduction to his own father, a "Guest of the Golden Mountain" (someone who lives in America) who has returned to his family's village in China, this time to bring the narrator back to San Francisco with him. The narrator perceives his father as rich and successful, but he also sees that his father sticks out "like a flagpole" in his village. As the journey begins, the boy slowly learns hard truths: the father's impressive clothes have been rented, and he works as a houseboy ("The clan would have laughed at the notion," the son notes grimly). All the while the two prepare for immigration tests to be administered at Angel Island outside San Francisco, knowing that failure means deportation; only during this test do readers finally learn the boy's name. Yep's use of the boy's perspective enables the reader to experience a spectrum of emotions (curiosity, homesickness, fear) in tandem with learning historical facts--a trick that lends the book both authenticity and charm. B&w photos not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 June

Gr 3-6-- Based on conversations with his father and hundreds of pages of family interviews from the archives at Angel Island, Yep's story tells of his father's trip to America. In 1922, 10-year-old Gim Lew Yep is horrified to learn that he is to accompany his father when he returns and must prepare for the interview at Angel Island, an intensive examination about the minute details of his village and family in China. A nervous child, Gim always forgets to use his right hand instead of his left, and, worst of all, he stutters when he's anxious. Furthermore, he is heartsick over leaving his home and family. Told in Gim's very convincing voice, the tale captures the profound loss he feels at leaving his home as well as his determination to make his father proud of him. Though the book is easy to read, it is more complex than Li Keng Wong's Good Fortune: My Journey to Gold Mountain (Peachtree, 2006), another story for the same age group. Yep raises many issues about both Chinese immigration and the immigrant experience in general: Who am I? Where do I belong? How can I balance the duality of my life? Why do people treat others this way? The photograph of Gim Lew in his Western clothes shows a very real sadness and anxiety that are common to anyone leaving family and country behind as they journey to a new life, and Yep captures this beautifully in this brief fictionalized account.--Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, MA

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