The Dragon's Child: A Story of Angel Island

by Laurence Yep and Kathleen S. Yep

Noted author Laurence Yep has often drawn on the Chinese American immigration experience... read more

Noted author Laurence Yep has often drawn on the Chinese American immigration experience in his works of historical fiction for children. Here Yep collaborates with his niece, an assistant professor of Asian American studies and sociology, to illuminate the Angel Island experience through family history. The fictional story is based on the experiences of Laurence Yep’s father and grandfather on their journeys from China to the United States. Angel Island in San Francisco was considered the Ellis Island of the West and served as a processing and detention center for immigrants from 1910 to 1940. Anti-Chinese immigration laws required new and returning Chinese to pass an intense examination to confirm their identity before entering the country. Ten-year-old Gim Lew Yep, who is leaving his village in China for the first time to live and work with his father in San Francisco, is terrified of failing the interrogation that awaits him at Angel Island. His fear is compounded by his desperate desire to prove himself to his father. Tension escalates with each short chapter as the emotional and physical journey unfolds. A descriptive author’s note at the beginning and end of the book, plus photographs and a bibliography, will have greater appeal to adult readers, but the heart of this volume is an engaging historical work for children. (Ages 9–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2009

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