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The Dragon's Child Paperback – March 25, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Paperback: 133 pages
  • Publisher: HarperColl; 1 edition (March 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060276924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060276928
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,193,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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. Grades 3-6. --Hazel Rochman

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on August 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
In 1922, 10-year-old Gim Lew Yep lives in a small village in southern China. His family owns a rice farm, but it doesn't produce nearly enough money to support them. So Gim Lew's father and older brothers work in other parts of the world and send money home. Gim Lew barely knows his Chinese-American father; he has only met him once, which was the last time his father came home for a visit from San Francisco, two years ago. But then the family receives a letter announcing that his father is coming home again. Usually, he waits approximately seven years in between visits, so they suspect he has a big announcement to make. Gim Lew works extra hard on correcting his stuttering and using his right hand instead of his more natural left to please this man he doesn't know.

When Gim Lew's father finally arrives back home in China, the family hosts a huge celebration with a feast and gifts. But the celebratory feelings quickly die off when they learn the motivation behind his early return: He wants Gim Lew to come back to America with him to work. Everyone knew it would happen eventually, but they didn't think it would come to fruition until Gim Lew had grown older. But new immigration rules forming would make entrance to America even more difficult, so he wanted to get him in while he still could. Gim Lew bids farewell to his mother, sister and homeland, with doubts of ever seeing them again.

Gim Lew and his father board a ship bound for America. While packed tightly in the bowels of the ship, Gim Lew gets to know his father while they study for the exam that awaits them. Immigration officials intensely interrogate each returning Chinese American to confirm that he is indeed the same fellow who left. As a son, Gim Lew will undergo the same test.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jamey on December 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
"The Dragon's Child" by Laurence Yep is a historical story that's based on true things that happened to the author's grandfather when he was 9 years old. He went with his father to America on a ship and to get into America back then if you were Chinese you had to pass a test on this place called Angel Island. So the kid is really worried about getting ready to take the test.

Some good things about the book are how the boy and his father get to know each other and start to like each other even though the father has been away for the boy's whole life. Plus there is some really good historical stuff if you want to learn about history.

The bad thing about the book is that it isn't all that exciting even though it's kind of interesting. This would be a good book for teachers to make their students read to learn about history, but it might be too boring for most kids to want to read on their own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on March 2, 2013
Format: Library Binding
This is good for a unit on immigration to America. I especially liked the contrast of the father's status in the village vs. the perceived status of being a servant in America. I liked the glimpses of kindness of the father, and his similar boyhood struggles. I liked the emphasis on practicing in order to succeed, of developing confidence through repetition and practice. That's a great message.

However, I live with a family of boys, and not ONE of them liked this book. It's a shame, but it seems the book appeals more to adults than to kids.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just finished reading for homeschool. I wished that it would have had more about his growing up, but I think that is another book. It was wonderful to read, and how life for them was not as easy as those who came to Ellis Island. Even though my ancestors came from Europe, this book is for all.
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By Zany on August 14, 2014
Format: Paperback
Good book. Thank you for shipping quickly
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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.

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