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122 Reviews
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I want to get away, I want to fly away
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...
Published on May 13, 2004 by E. R. Bird

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dragonwings
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...
Published on April 7, 2000 by Greg Deal


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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I want to get away, I want to fly away, May 13, 2004
This review is from: Dragonwings (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. The Chinese are constantly set upon by the white majority, yet there are good Tang people and bad Tang people just as there are good whites and bad whites. The sentence that really drilled this home for me was one referring to a white female friend Moon Shadow and his father made the acquaintance of. Miss Whitlaw befriends our heroes, as well as the patriarch of their company, referred to mostly as "Uncle". The section I love reads, "I won't say that Miss Whitlaw and Uncle became the best of friends, but they came to like each other as much as two such difference people could". To me, this is an eloquent description of how two people from remarkably different backgrounds can become close without ever reaching the closeness that comes from being with someone like yourself.

So here's the real test of this book; Do kids actually like reading it? Published originally in 1975, I remember hearing about this story when I was in elementary school. And, admittedly, I never so much as picked it up. For those kids that do glance through it, or are assigned it in school, what is their reaction? Honestly, I thought the book began rather slowly. Yep is introducing his subject honestly and with tact and feeling, all of which make the beginning a small slog for the average child reader. Those kids that stick with it, however, will find fights, natural disasters, and attempted throat slittings galore. To my mind, Yep's "Child of the Owl" is a lot more kid friendly than the well-written but ultimately measured "Dragonwings". So if I were to give a child I knew a good, if more contemporary, book reflecting the experiences of Chinese-Americans, I'd probably offer them the former. None of this is to say that there aren't children out there that consider "Dragonwings" to be their favorite book ever. I just suspect they are a minority.

In the end, "Dragonwings" has won more awards and garnered more praise than I think Lawrence Yep could have ever hoped for. It is a fine noble creation and well deserves the attention it has received. Whether kids will ever willingly open its pages is open to debate, but it is definitely a fascinating look into the lives of a people that could well have remained unknown but for the superb prose and experienced writing of one of the finest American writers of our day and age.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dragonwings, April 7, 2000
By 
Greg Deal (Iowa City, Iowa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dragonwings (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
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a good book. I like it very much., April 4, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Dragonwings (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
4.0 out of 5 stars A adventure book, October 21, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Dragonwings (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Fourth Grade boy likes it...but it is long, April 10, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Dragonwings, March 17, 2002
By 
Chris (Cerritos, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dragonwings (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dragonwings, November 30, 2006
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Dragonwings (Paperback)
Wow,this is the best book I've ever read in years.This book starts off with a boy named Moonshadow,Moonshadows mom,and grandmother.They are in there farm allways workinging in the farm and not having any fun.

Moonshadow always wonders how the goldenmountains (America)looks like.When Moonshadow visits the goldenmountains and finds his dad there.The white demons (white people) are mean to the chinamen and all yhey care about is themselves.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not an action book, but it was well written., September 20, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Dragonwings (Paperback)
Dragonwings is a book that is about a Chinese man and his son,who migrate over to America. They have a dream to fly like the Wright Bothers. They migrated over to America from China leaving their loved ones there. They are faced with the struggle of discriminaton from the Americans. They had a lot of hardships that the Americans didn't have to deal with. I think that this should not have happened. The Chinese did a lot. The Chinese brought a lot of culture and ethnic diversity to this nation. The book is a bit boring, but at the end, it takes off and gets exciting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reader from Orlando, Florida, August 9, 2001
By 
This review is from: Dragonwings (Paperback)
This book kept me on the edge of my seat with its adventurous setting. When I started to read the book , I didn't really care for it, but when I got into the middle of it, i became very adventurous and exciting. If you want a good read, and love adventure, READ THIS BOOK!...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want a good Reading????, March 14, 2003
By A Customer
I just read this book. Its mostly about the hardships Moon Shadow and his father Windrider had to face in golden Mountain ( california).
I Believe it was very descriptive and yet had very simple themes. The themes in the story were mostly about friendship, your dreams, family and prejudice.
I think this is a great book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. ^_^
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Dragonwings
Dragonwings by Laurence Yep (Paperback - January 23, 2001)
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