HomeChildhood EducationChildren's BookSuperman Smashes the Klan, by Gene Luen Yang | Book Review

Superman Smashes the Klan, by Gene Luen Yang | Book Review


Book Review of Superman Smashes the Klan
The Children’s Book Review

Written by Gene Luen Yang

Illustrated by Gurihiru

Ages 12+ | 240 Pages

Publisher: DC Comics | ISBN: 9781779504210

What to Expect: Superheroes, racial discrimination, crime, acculturation

Based on the 1946 radio version of Superman, this adaptation could have been written for the present day. Inclusion and empowerment are at the heart of the many converging plotlines, from the Superhero’s own confusion about his identity and difference to the overt and covert racism faced by the Chinese, African American, and Jewish characters in the story.

Roberta and Tommy Lee have only just moved from Chinatown to the center of Metropolis, but life is already very different. While Roberta struggles to fit in and be accepted, her brother Tommy has unwittingly become the target of anti-Chinese hatred, led and fueled by the shadowy Klan of the Fiery Cross. Luckily, they’re not alone – Superman is always on hand to save the day. Unluckily, his exposure to a mysterious green stone has weakened him. Will Tommy and Roberta be able to help Superman accept and embrace his own differences, so he can destroy the Klan and their rabid attacks on diversity?

The vintage-style comic-book illustration also includes elements of the Manga style, merging classic and contemporary moods. At the end of the volume, Yang, whose American Born Chinese is already a classic of young adult literature, provides a reflective essay titled “Superman and Me,” which provides plenty of food for thought for readers already making the connections between the fictional story and post-COVID America.

Superman Smashes the Klan is an inspiring, well-handled adaptation that is timely and clever – well worth a read.

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About the Author

Gene Luen Yang writes, and sometimes draws, comic books and graphic novels. As the Library of Congress’ fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, he advocates for the importance of reading, especially reading diversely.

American Born Chinese, his first graphic novel from First Second Books, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. His two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints won the L.A. Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award Finalist. His other works include Secret Coders (with Mike Holmes), The Shadow Hero (with Sonny Liew), Superman from DC Comics (with various artists), and the Avatar: The Last Airbender series from Dark Horse Comics (with Gurihiru). In 2016, he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. His most recent books are Dragon Hoops from First Second Books and Superman Smashes the Klan from DC Comics.

Gene Luen Yang

Dr. Jen Harrison reviewed Superman Smashes the Klan. Discover more books like Superman Smashes the Klan by reading our reviews and articles tagged with Superheroes, Discrimination, and Crime.

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Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed
AuditStudent.com, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.
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