03 Mar / Dragonwings by Laurence Yep [in What Do I Read Next? Multicultural Literature]
Undoubtedly, this is the prolific Yep’s signature title, as well as one of his most award-winning, including a 1976 Newbery Honor. Eight-year-old Moon Shadow arrives in California to join his father, a man he has never met. Both work for “the Company,” a group of Chinese immigrants who operate a laundry. In the new country, father and son survive the great San Francisco earthquake, separation from family, and even robbery to achieve their dream to fly.
This novel is loosely based on the true story of Chinese immigrant, Fung Joe Guey, who built and flew a plane in 1909. Yep calls his work a “historical fantasy” rather than a “factual reconstruction.” Although he made the newspapers with his biplane, Fung remains a shadowy figure about whom little more is known than his aviation achievement.
Readers: Middle Grade