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Author: Yang, Gene
Illustrator: Yang, Gene Luen
Publisher: First Second
Year Published: 2013
ISBN: 978-1596436893
Grades: Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12, Grade 8, Grade 9


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This review is a combined review for both Boxers and Saints. Yang (American Born Chinese) employs parallel storylines in the two companion books to represent two opposing Chinese experiences during the Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the 20th century. In Boxers, Little Boa and his older brothers live in an impoverished rural village and embark on a crusade to save their village and China from Christian missionaries who are thought to be the cause of their countries woes. Calling on the powers of ancient Chinese gods, Little Boa recruits an army of Boxers–commoners trained in kung fu–who fight to free China from the foreign invaders. Little Boa finds himself leading the peasant army and begins questioning the cost of winning. In the companion book, Saints, readers are introduced to Four-girl. A fourth child who is unwanted by her family, and not even given a proper name. When she is converted to Catholicism by the very same priest who bullies LIttle Boa’s village, Four-girl, now named Vibiana, leaves home to find fulfillment in service to the church. Readers are providing with opposing points of view, both of them sympathetic and powerful. These books are being hailed by School Library Journal, Booklist and Publishers Weekly for a reason. Yang’s thought provoking story telling about an actual historical period is engaging and provides readers with a look at two opposing perspectives. Highly recommended.

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