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Dragonwings Paperback – January 23, 2001


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 870L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 25th edition (January 23, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064400859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064400855
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 9.5 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grades 4-7--Laurence Yep's Newbery Honor book (HarperCollins, 1975) offers insights into the lives of Chinese-Americans in early 20th century California. The story begins as eight-year-old Moon Shadow Lee journeys across the Pacific to join his proud and clever father at the family-owned laundry in San Francisco. The boy recounts their problems with prejudice, as well as the kindness of uncles and cousins. Father and son must leave the protection of the family to move out of Chinatown, but they find refuge with a generous and friendly landlady. Once they have successfully established a repair business, they turn their attention to making a flying machine. Though it's a modern invention, part of their motivation is the elder's belief in his own previous dragon existence. Yep draws heavily on his own heritage, but also includes figures such as Teddy Roosevelt and the Wright Brothers, and historic events such as the San Francisco Earthquake. The result is a heartwarming story set in a familiar time and place, but told from a new perspective. The quiet intensity of B. D. Wong's narration enriches the text as he creates memorable voices for a large cast of characters. Wafting, ethereal music signals the end of each side of the cassette, and the cover art is attractive. The only problem is the lightweight cardboard package, which is not sturdy enough for heavy circulation. That shouldn't deter libraries from purchasing this fine recording which will provide upper elementary and middle school listeners with lessons in history, and a gentle reminder of the value of a loving family and loyal friends.

Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library. Rocky Hill, CT

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Review

"A fine, sensitive novel . . . that conveys the Chinese American's cultural heritage." -- --BL

"A fine, sensitive novel written with grace in a way that conveys the Chinese American's cultural heritage." -- --Booklist

"A triumph." -- --The New York Times

More About the Author

Laurence Yep has been fascinated with tales of sibling rivalry from the day he was born. His older brother, Tom, chose his name Laurence - after a saint who died a particularly gruesome death. Laurence has been trying to get even ever since. Laurence Yep now lives in Pacific Grove, California, with his wife and is one of children's literature's most respected authors. His award-winning titles include Newbery Honor Books Dragonwings and Dragon's Gate.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
No one melds fact and myth into seamless storylines of historical fiction quite like Lawrence Yep. Like many of his tales, the remarkable, "Dragonwings", reflects on the Chinese experience in America. Says Yep in his author's note, "I have tried to make some of these dry historical facts become living experiences". The result is a book that certain kids will grow attached to and respect. Admittedly, it is not a book for all children, but for what it offers it is an impressive work.

The plot follows Moon Shadow, a boy sent from his native China to live with his father in the Land of the Gold Mountains a.k.a San Francisco in 1903. While there, Moon Shadow learns a great deal about the ways the white settlers (referred to in this text, without exception, as demons) reacted to the Chinese in California. Yep does not play down the characters' difficulties, but Moon Shadow and his father, Windrider, learn the ways in which they may live their lives acceptably. They befriend their white employers, survive the great San Francisco earthquake, and finally Windrider follows his dream of making a flying machine just as the Wright Brothers did. This portion of the book is based on the true story of a Chinese immigrant that on September 22, 1909 flew from the hills of Oakland, California. As Yep points out in his author's note, this book is a historical fantasy and not an actual factual construction. Nonetheless, Windrider's quest is such that you feel just as caught up in the excitement of the moment as he is when at last he is able to test his creation.

What is so impressive about Lawrence Yep's writing is how he accepts that there are no hard and fast rules about the ways in which people act and react.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Greg Deal on April 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was an excellent book written through the eyes of a Chinese boy who comes to America and lives among white people, adjusting to their ways and making new friends. Laurence Yep does a wonderful job of portraying the world through the eyes of and immigrant in a new place. He shows the hardships as well as the good times. After reading this book I looked at life a little bit differently. Moonshadow and his dad shared the same dream of flying. And Windrider his father is being tested in this life to become a dragon in the next and by flying he might be able to accomplish this. Windrider shares wonderful dreams woth Moonshadow about being a dragon. The story is filled with love, trust and dishonesty. This is a book I would reccommend to anyone. This book helped me in my personal life as well. Now i know what it's like to be in a new place, and I will help people in a similar situation out and not make fun of them becausce I know I wouldn't want to be treated that way myself.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
Laurence Yep's novel DRAGONWINGS was the book that our teacher assigned to read for ESL studend. Like most of my classmates, at first I did not like this book. I thought both its story and language were so strange. But later on, I felt that the story more and more interesting, the language better and better. This novel is unusual historical novel. It describes the Chinese immigrants' life at the early of this century in San Francisco. It introduces a lot of Chinese culture and tradition to its readers which remind me what experience in my motherland China. On the other hand, it also introduces a lot of American culture from a Chinese child. It is a great reading book for ESL. Especially for Chinese students. All in all, it is worthy to read, even again. I'll suggest my son who is in third grade to read this book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
Dragonwings a novel written by Lawrence Yep was not only a great novel but also an unusual history about the Chinese and how they survive in the early 1900's. This novel is about a young boy name Moon Shadow who live in China all his life. One day immigrated to America (the Golden Mountain). By starting his new life he has to learn a new launguage, a new way to deal with people, and importantly to learn about his father who he have never had contect with. Living in America was extremely hard for Moon Shadow, especially because he didn't know the language and at that time white people (white demon) did not like the Asian(tong), they think that the Chinese are taking away their jobs, but me on the other had did not think so. Everyday is like an adventure fighting to survive in this new land that we call America. Dragonwings is a very interesting book, it might not seem so at the begaining but at the end you'll understand why it is worth reading and why it is a newbery honor book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rachael on April 10, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I purchased this for my dyslexic fourth grade boy who needs to do a book report. It's a bit long, and takes some time to get into. There are a lot of little cool things in the begining but we are at the half way point and it's starting to roll more quickly now. We are enjoying it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chris on March 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
During the Tang period, a Chinese boy named Moon Shadow immigrates to America. He meets and lives with his father, Windrider, who is an absolute genius. Windrider is said to have encountered a dragon, who instructs him to pass several tasks in order to be reincarnated as a dragon. Inspired, both father and son build a flying machine, and, with some help from their Chinese company and two good, American friends, they fly the plane, thinking that this is one of the tasks needed to be fulfilled for the dragon. In the end, however, the flying machine breaks apart, but Windrider decides not to work on it ever again. Somehow, the whole experience seems to bring everyone together again. Even Moon Shadow raises enough money for his mother to join them in America.
I greatly enjoyed this book very much. The detailed description made it sound like I was in the book. It was easy to read, and I did not have much difficulty trying to figure out the main point of the story. I saw that the book had a well-thought-out plot, because it all fitted together nicely. The cover was quite interesting.
The part of the book I enjoyed reading was when Windrider flew his huge flying machine outside against the strong winds. The book described it so well, I thought I was flying myself! When Windrider finally crash-landed, I could not tell whether I really did experience it or not. Laurence Yep is quite an amazing writer. Overall, I know that this book will always be one that I would greatly enjoy reading once more.
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