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Dragon Hoops

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  4,229 ratings  ·  1,074 reviews
In his latest graphic novel, New York Times bestselling author Gene Luen Yang turns the spotlight on his life, his family, and the high school where he teaches.

Gene understands stories—comic book stories, in particular. Big action. Bigger thrills. And the hero always wins.

But Gene doesn’t get sports. As a kid, his friends called him “Stick” and every basketball game he pla
Hardcover, 446 pages
Published March 17th 2020 by First Second
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Average rating 4.43  · 
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 ·  4,229 ratings  ·  1,074 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
A huge--450 page+--graphic memoir by acclaimed cartoonist and computer science teacher Gene Luen Yang that takes us for the first time inside his life as father, cartoonist and teacher at a small California school where the basketball team seems poised to make a run for a state championship. Not that this historically would have meant anything to cartoonist Yang, since he had no interest in sports, but his students and a slight curiosity about the sport leads him to research the history of baske ...more
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Yes, this book is about high school basketball. Yet, it is about so much more. It touches of race, religion, bias, and many other topics. Yang had no interest in basketball or any other sport when he began writing this. He was looking for a subject for his next project when he heard people talking about how good the basketball team was at the high school where he teaches. After meeting with his fellow teacher and head coach, he determined he wanted to focus on the Dragons' season even though he ...more
Part memoir, part biography, part history, part sports diary, Dragon Hoops is Gene Luen Yang’s story of several months charting the ups and downs of a high school basketball team.
I tend to seek out Yang’s work, and would have read this regardless of its subject matter. Thank goodness I also enjoy basketball, and was able to appreciate the action in each game. I particularly liked the player profiles, and the slightly dorky humour and big heart Yang brings to this book.
Printz Honor 2021
Basketball, basketball, basketball. History of basketball, sexism and racism in basketball, basketball in foreign cultures, one team's road to winning a state basketball championship. Some of this was interesting, but I thoroughly disliked the framing of it all, especially the author's insertion of his, frankly, trivial professional quandaries. No one cares about that. Well, I definitely don't care if Yang decides to write Superman comics or not. This story shouldn't have

“Basketball is part of Oakland’s history. It’s in Oakland’s blood.”

Image sourced from here

In 2014, Gene Luen Yang finds himself stuck. He’s in a creative rut. He’s out of stories.

But as it turns out, fascinating and important tales abound. One happens to be at the very school where Yang works as a comp-sci teacher: the story of the Bishop O’Dowd High School basketball team in Oakland, and their coach (and former player), Lou Richie.

Dragon Hoops chronicles the real-life events of t
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
It has taken me an age to get this finished, not because it was not to my taste, but because I kept being distracted by other shiny books and it kept being ignored. How terrible, because this book is very good. Interesting indeed, you'll learn the history of basketball. You'll learn about the history of China, about Ghandi and why he isn't universally loved. You'll learn so very much and you'll become invested in an underdog high school basketball team despite any misgivings you might have. Gene ...more
Scottsdale Public Library
Gene Luen Yang, the author of the Michael L. Printz Award-winning graphic novel American Born Chinese, is back with his magnum opus and a true masterpiece. Dragon Hoops tells the semi-autobiographical story of the author, a high school teacher in California, and the school’s basketball team, the Dragons. They have not won the California State Championships in decades and the Dragon’s coach feels that this will be their year to take home the trophy. Inspired, Yang follows them along their journey ...more
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cartoonist/math teacher/father of four Gene Yang has never liked sports, but he loves stories. He's never paid much attention to the basketball teams at O'Dowd, the private Catholic high school where he teaches, but when he starts hearing people call the men's varsity teams' aim for State Championship "the story of the season" his ears prick up. Yang begins talking to the team couch, Lou Richie, who is also an O'Dowd alumni. He begins attending games and practices and interviewing the players. H ...more
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD! For sure my favorite Gene Yang!

Such an interesting memoir with intriguing facts a out the history of basketball through the lenses of race, gender, religion and more.

I learned things! Including information that completely shifted my understanding of beloved icon (view spoiler)

Ahhh Gene Yang, why did you have to draw the East Bay so accurately - so much homesick
Susan Kennedy
This was a fantastic book. I told my husband as I was reading, “I am a total nerd!”. I do love a good graphic novel. This one is big and so enjoyable. I laughed, I cried and I cheered these kids, this team and the coaches on. The author is a fantastic cartoonist and writer. I was very impressed!

Now, I am not a huge sports fan and definitely not a huge basketball fan. It is not a sport that I ever really enjoyed watching or playing. I am short, so that doesn’t help I guess. I tend to like fast pa
Rod Brown
Jun 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Gene Luen Yang gives an outsider's look at basketball as he undertakes the effort to document in graphic novel format a possible championship season at the Catholic high school where he was teaching in 2013. But it's also a look at himself as the documentarian as his personal life intertwines in the subject and he finds themes and parallels between the two. Throw in frequent looks back at the history of basketball and you'll understand why this graphic novel is so darn thick.

I don't follow baske
I'm like Yang. I'm not into sports, nor do I watch sports. I'm a book person. I'm a comic book person. I do weight lift and kind of consider that my sport for the fact I'm competing with myself, but I don't watch it on TV, maybe just follow some bodybuilders.

What I liked about this is after reading the book, I feel like I have a little better understanding of basketball. I still have no idea how to play or the rules. I do understand the history of the game a little better and it's players.

This g
Ms. B
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
A basketball story that even non-basketball fans will enjoy!
A graphic novel story for teens who believe the last good graphic novel they read was Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants or Dog Man!
A sports story for high schoolers looking for that genre, or for those looking for something for their narrative nonfiction reading!
There's a lot to like in this latest graphic novel by the talented and two time NBA (National Book Award) nominee, Gene Luen Yang. It's the story of the Bishop O'Dowd Dr
4.5 stars

I love the unique way Gene Luen Yang makes you feel involved with the story. He, as always, gives you history lessons that feel like true insights; making the work just that more impactful.
Kate Buechler
This made me kinda want to watch basketball, which is just about the highest praise I could give it.
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
An extraordinary book. I just finished it and am a puddle of tears (and also not a sports-watcher or fan). This is a graphic novel about basketball—one real hs basketball team in Oakland—, but it's also about history, about race and culture, gender in athletics, high school kids/friends, the way adults have an impact on young people, the author's search for meaning through story, and, at its core, the courage to care deeply about something you love and the people you love too. The courage to ste ...more
Ms. Yingling
Dec 20, 2019 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Netgalley

This is best described as a graphic novel memoir of Mr. Yang's writing life combined with a history of the Bishop O'Dowd school basketball team. Unsure of what to write about next, Yang draws inspiration from the school where he teachers. While he didn't participate in basketball himself, he is drawn to the team, which does very well but has struggled to bring home a championship. The coach, Lou Richie, was a student at the school, so has deep ties to the community and
Abby Johnson
What a fantastic book!

Gene Yang never thought he'd write a basketball book. But when that's what all the kids at the high school where he teaches were talking about their basketball team, Yang investigated to see if there was a story there.

A super basketball team that had never won a state championship, despite playing in the championship game many years. Could this be their year? Yang intersperses the team's story with his own personal story of taking steps forward into the unknown. As he work
Robbi C
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, autographed
*I received a free e-arc of this title provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Listen. I enjoy watching basketball but would I pick up a book about basketball?....🤷‍♀️ Not usually.

But! This book is
1. A graphic novel and I ❤️ graphic novels!
2. It’s by Gene Luen Yang!

Yang, a nerd after my own heart, who had never imagined writing a book about basketball won me over quickly with a good balance of basketball and personal stories of the players, the coach, and their
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Gene Luen Yang tells the true story of the attempt of the basketball team at the high school where he works to win the state championship in this new graphic novel, Dragon Hoops. In the process, he also explores racism in sports, the history of basketball, and the individual struggles of those on the team. And he somehow manages to also intertwine the story of the basketball team with his own personal struggles to combine his work as a teacher with that of his work as a graphic artist and his de ...more
Finished this with tears streaming. I almost never watch actual sports, but give me a solid, if predicable, sports movie and I'm all there. With HOOP DREAMS, I never felt I was being led to the safe, predicable ending. Yang kept me invested in the whole team and the school all the way through. His pacing was fantastic and I loved the asides of basketball history. ...more
Aug 03, 2020 rated it liked it
I am a fan of Gene Luen Yang (who isn’t?) and seek out his books regardless of subject matter. I like how he tells a story in the graphic novel format and the themes he explores in all his books. Dragon Hoops is no different. The player characters were great, but I especially loved Yang himself as a character.

At times I thought the story was too slowed down with basketball history. The history was interesting, for sure, and it definitely added extra oomph to the context of the story, but I like
J Lopez
Wow, this book was really heavy - weight-wise; very thick pages.

I am not a sports fans so I didn't think I was going to enjoy this graphic novel. However, I was pleasantly surprise. I enjoyed Mr. Yang's personal story, the little history lessons and character backgrounds, as well as the overall message of the book -- we need to take risks, even it they are scary, and step out in faith to reach our destiny/calling/purpose. I'm so happy Mr. Yang-ster took the risk to leave his day job of teaching
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a truly brilliant graphic novel. It's large and packs a punch. I am not an avid basketball fan, but I learned so much about the sport through Yang's journey to understand it himself. He unpacks layers and layers of basketball history, strife, and all of the -isms surrounding the sport while also making the text accessible. It was a fascinating read. Another win for Gene Luen Yang! ...more
Edward Sullivan
Like Gene Yang, I have no interest in or understanding of sports but I still managed to find this graphic metafictional mix of memoir, history, illustrated journalism, and dramatic sports action compelling and entertaining. An amazing accomplishment.
Sports + heart = excellent
This book does important work about a sport that means so much to so many people. It honors the importance of Black athletes and Black folks while also pointing out the discriminatory practices/history embedded throughout the sport’s history. Additionally, it acknowledges how diverse the sport is, especially at the high school level (not so much college) - this book profiles an Indian player and a Chinese player while also being informational about those kids’ cultures, a super clever way to sne ...more
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
From the title I thought this book was going to be some kind of fantasy with dragons some how playing basketball. Ha ha, I was sure wrong! It's Yang's own true story about the basketball team at the high school he teaches and their journey to the state championship. It had a lot more depth than I was expecting: history of basketball, racism, sexism, etc. I was even holding my breath near the end of the book!

Content Warning: Some swearing, but with symbols over some of the letters.

2020 Popsugar
Robin Stevens
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful graphic novel about the process of creating a graphic novel as well as about the basketball team it follows. It deals with unexpected darkness very thoughtfully (this is not a book for younger readers!), and it's overall a wonderful read. (15+)

*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. Please do not use it in any marketing material, online or in print, without asking permission from me first. Thank you!*
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredible. Like watching the best documentary through a comic book lens. Yang hits a home run. Ok, I think I'm close to mixing my metaphors and I'm not the sports fan to read this, but I do recognize a fabulous story and this really is one. Yang combines memoir with great sports coverage, sprinkling in some inclusive history as well. Stellar. ...more
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ARTBA 2021: Dragon Hoops 3 14 Mar 24, 2021 09:52AM  

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Gene Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 1997, he received the Xeric Grant, a prestigious comics industry grant, for Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, his first comics work as an adult. He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan's Kingdom (with art by Derek Kirk Kim) and The Rosary Comic Book. American Born Chinese received National Book Award.


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