Marija's Reviews > Dragonwings

Dragonwings by Laurence Yep
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Jan 29, 11

bookshelves: asian-american-literature-rll528

Dragon Wings is a novel by Laurence Yep that was set at the turn of the 20th century. It is about a boy, Moon Shadow, who lives with his mother in China, while his father is in America working toward a better future for his family. His father, Windrider, decides to have his son (whom he has never seen) come and live with him in America. At this point, the story becomes about the struggle for Moon Shadow to accept this new world and culture, even though his "kind" are not kindly looked upon.

What made me really appreciate this book was the authentic perspective in which Yep tells this story. I was not aware at how Americans looked at Chinese people at this time. I didn't know about the hardships they faced and the constant threat that they felt from the Americans. Also, I never knew that the Chinese perceived Americans as being ignorant and basically misguided in their beliefs. I thought it was interesting that throughout the book, Americans were known as the "demons" to the Chinese. However, in the author's note, Yep does explain that the Chinese meaning of demons is different than what the western cultures takes it to mean. Yep's decision to use the word demon adds to the authenticity in which the book was written. The meaning of the dragon was also very different among the cultures.

I also liked how Yep shows the assimilation of the characters to their new home. At first, Moon Shadow is afraid of almost everything he encounters in America, yet by the end of the book, he is more comfortable and even has a "demoness" friend. The story also focuses on the father, Windrider, and how he had a desire to progress and assimilate in the America, even though his company of men did not agree. The ending of the book reminded me how immigrants to America truly believd that anything was possible in this country. It was a very inspiring and awakening story for me. It definitely gave me insight to a culture I am not very familiar with.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Leane (new) - added it

Leane This sounds like a great read! I'm excited to read it. Your explanation of Yep's decision to use authentic Chinese language ("demon") rather than what Americans would use was very interesting. I think he made a good choice too. Where do Moon Shadow and his father live once he comes to America? What grade level would you recommend this for?


Marija Moon shadow and his father live in the what would be the san Francisco area today. I would probably use this book for 7th grade and up because of the complexity of the content. I think the language would be a little too hard for younger students.


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