The Transformations by Noah

Throughout the book, the main characters, Monkey King (a fearless warrior who is a deity to flower fruit mountain and is master at Kung-Fu.) and Jin( A boy born in San Francisco who is ashamed of his Chinese heritage. So he does everything he can to be an all American boy so he can “fit in” with his friends from school.) But they learn that finding who they really are is more important than what they want to be in life. Here are ways that these 3 characters have changed.

Jin was ashamed of his Chinese heritage and figured out throughout his elementary years he wouldn’t make many friends. So Jin decided to perm his hair. The reason why he permed his hair is so he can be like a popular boy in his grade named Greg. It would also make him look like more of an American boy. But Jin later learns by the Monkey King that he should be proud of who he really is and needs to accept himself for who he is.

The Monkey King went to a dinner party, but he wouldn’t get let in because he was a monkey. So over time, he studies the ways of Kung-Fu and learns to shape shift into anything he wants. He uses that power to help others. But he learns his lesson by Tze Yo Tzuh. He realizes that he needs to use his powers for good. He transforms into the character Ckin-Kee in order to help Jin find who he really is.

All in all, these characters have to go through a lot throughout the story. The way they change can really impact the reader. It teaches the lesson of who you are is the best form of you. Because it’s what makes you, you.

Find Yourself by Graham

In the book, American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. Tells us about three different characters who are born Chinese. This book talks a lot about what it is like to be Chinese in a different country, but also teaches us many lessons. “To find your true identity…within the will of Tze-Yo-Tzah … is the highest of all freedoms.” To find your true identity, you must practice and believe in yourself. In this case, in order to find true identity, you must train with Tze-Yo-Tzah before you become a hero. In American Born Chinese, the Monkey King trained on his own, and did not train to be the best with the help of Tze-Yo-Tzah. The Monkey King showed up in front of Tze-Yo-Tzah, and thought he was the master. The Monkey King thought that since he trained on his own for Forty days, that he would be the “Great Sage.” But instead he acted very foolish in front of Tze-Yo-Tzah, and was buried under rocks for 500 years.

 Wei-Chen’s transformer symbolizes in this book, because that was how he and Jin became friends. In the book, growing up is a big topic. When the Monkey King was younger he wanted to be hero when he grew up known as “The Great Sage”.  Jin wanted to be a Transformer when he grew up. Danny wanted to be a basketball player when he grew up. This idea of “Transforming” will soon change yourself in life. This happens a lot throughout this book. Jin eventually has a crush on a girl, and tries to be a jock. He eventually turns back to his old self after doing crazy things. Monkey King wanted to be a hero. He was very foolish in the beginning, but after being under rock for 500 years. He saved Wong-Lai-Tsao, and lived up to that dream of being a hero. The whole point of transforming is talking about how you are when you are little, and then changing as you get older. This topic plays a big role in American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.

What Does It Mean to Forfeit Your Soul? by Nathan

The author of the book American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang, wrote an intellectually thought provoking quotes I have ever read. American Born Chinese is a graphic novel with three stories within it. The first story is about the Monkey King. It takes place in Chinese mythology. He is a mighty ruler who had mastered the four disciplines of kung- fu. He cannot get into a dinner party because he is not a human. He then shape shits into a human form and he shows everyone he is a human. The second story is the story of Jin. He moves to a predominately white neighborhood form China Town, California. He tries to fit in and face the stereotypes that come with being bicultural. The third story is the story of Chin Kee. He is the cousin and a white boy Danny. Chin Kee is meant to be the exact stereotype of a Chinese person. He wears old Chinese garments, has a long braid, and he had large buck teeth. This story also references prejudice cartoons about Asians from the last century.  “It’s easy to become anything you wish, so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.” That is a quote from the herbalist’s wife from the book. This quote means that you can do anything, but it comes at a price. For example, if there are people competing for a big prize, one person may get very rough and mean towards others. This person may win, but at the cost of his friendship. Everybody is guilty of trying different things to make yourself fit in and be likeable. In the story, Jin begins this process at Mayflower Elementary School by trying to break his Chinese image. He is made fun of because of the Chinese food he is seen eating. Although Jin later forfeits his soul.  It is wrong to do so because “forfeiting your soul” can change you. You can become selfish and lose your core values. A person could “forfeit their soul” for money, power, strength, fame, and other ways to gain power and popularity. These things are not worth forfeiting your soul, nothing is. Jin tries to lose his Asian heritage to become fully American for Amelia. Jin needs to realize that he cannot change who he is. He has to understand that he will always look one way and he needs to except that. You should not forfeit your soul. If you were to forfeit your soul, your life would go great ultimately leading to your downfall. This may include losing friends, family, and other people or just losing something of value to you. Just realize who you are and understand to embrace yourself.

Why To Not Ban Books by Nathan

Books should not be banned from middle schools. Banning a book in one specific area is not very effective. If a school bans a book, kids can order it, get it at a library, or buy it elsewhere and read it any ways. Some kids think they need to break the rules would read the book on their own time just because it was banned, which would be the exact opposite of the overall goal of banning the book. The darker books can teach kids about the real world and the impact events have on people. The world can be a dark place sometimes. But on the news when they show war or other sad stories, they do not heavily censor the footage or picture. Books do something that can help kids grow as a person. They put the reader in the position of the protagonist and you can feel the emotion of that character. Why censor books that depict things kids will see later when their parents are watching the news? If kids grow up to be police, doctors, or other jobs where there is a possibility of working on a gory scenario, kids will not be as prepared for seeing bodies and blood. It is bad in more ways than just the idea of banning a book. Also, banning books is bad publicity for the school, book store, or library. It will get spread all around social media and possibly get on the media. This will anger a lot of people. News of the banning will cause unnecessary controversy.  The idea of a democracy was created so people live freely and are not limited. Banning books goes against that. I understand that with younger kids some books should not be read by them. By middle school kids understand more and they can handle more books that may be more mature.


What They Want, but Not What You Need: By Amari

Some lessons can only be taught by people with experience on the subject. Such as lessons on how the brain works, which can mostly only be taught by a person with personal experiences. Lots of parents try to teach things that they can’t, but many books can. Parents try to shelter their children. Being a parent involves loving and protecting your child, even against their will. But what they don’t always know is that you can’t shelter them. Parents tend to underestimate kids in the middle school age, but they also don’t want them growing too fast. In conclusion, most parents want their kids to read books that they will understand, but not help them learn.

Should Adults Ban Books in Middle Schools? by Noah

There are many reasons why books should be banned, but the main reason is books being too realistic. One reason why books can be banned is because there is too much violence throughout the book. One example of a book that was banned is called Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan. This book shows vivid actions of violence and many other ways it was banned. Another example of a book that was banned for violence is called Fun Home. Just like Nasreen’s Secret School, this was to, banned for violence and contained graphic images. Another reason books can be banned is because of too much romance or sexual content, such as nudity, homosexuality, etc. One book that was banned for too much romance and sexual content is Fifty Shades of Grey. This book has too much sexual content, offensive language, and unsuited for certain age groups. Another book that was banned is called Two Boys Kissing. This book was banned due to the promotion of homosexuality. The last reason that I chose was on religious viewpoint. One example of a book being banned for religious viewpoint is The Holy Bible. Being a Christian, I don’t know why it was banned, but I can see why it was for other people who have different religious beliefs. Another example of a banned book is Beyond Magenta. There are other reasons why it was banned, but religious viewpoint was one of them. In conclusion, I don’t know why these books would be sold to middle schools or somewhere someone in middle school can find the copy. Sure kids break the rules, but it’s unwise to do so.