Gene Luen Yang doesn't know what he wants to write about for his next graphic novel, so when all his students can talk about is their high school's basketball team the Dragons, he decides to investigate the hype and maybe find a story or two. The only problem? He doesn't like sports, and basketball is no exception. The Dragons are having a great season, which is leading them right to the state championship. The same championship that their team has made it to and lost 8 times before. Hopefully this season will be the one they win, and if Yang's comics are right, the hero always wins. Part writing memoir, part sports history, and part character study, Dragon Hoops is an intriguing and layered story. Yang takes readers into the personal folds of both the players and the team, taking readers from the origins of basketball to the history of each member of the Dragons. Much like Yang himself, I was never one to care much for sports, but I quickly discovered that there was much more to the dynamics of the team and the competition than I previously thought, and by the end I was cheering from the sidelines.— Parker Jensen
Spring 2020 Kids Indie Next List
“In this immensely fun book, Yang lays out what could be a rote story in an entertaining fashion, splicing in the history of basketball, the backstories of several team members, and his own personal life to keep readers on their toes. While the book is nonfiction, it reads like a novel.”
— Paul Swydan, The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton, MA
In his latest graphic novel, Dragon Hoops, 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 played ended in pain. He lost interest in basketball long ago, but at the high school where he now teaches, it's all anyone can talk about. The men’s varsity team, the Dragons, is having a phenomenal season that’s been decades in the making. Each victory brings them closer to their ultimate goal: the California State Championships.
Once Gene gets to know these young all-stars, he realizes that their story is just as thrilling as anything he’s seen on a comic book page. He knows he has to follow this epic to its end. What he doesn’t know yet is that this season is not only going to change the Dragons’s lives, but his own life as well.
About the Author
Gene Luen Yang writes, and sometimes draws, comic books and graphic novels. As the Library of Congress’s fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, he advocates for the importance of reading, especially reading diversely. His graphic novel American Born Chinese, a National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner, has been adapted into a streaming series on Disney+. His two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints won the LA Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award finalist. His nonfiction graphic novel Dragon Hoops received an Eisner Award and a Printz honor. His other comics works include Secret Coders (with Mike Holmes), The Shadow Hero (with Sonny Liew), as well as Superman Smashes the Klan and the Avatar: The Last Airbender series (both with Gurihiru). In 2016, he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
A 2020 Michael L. Printz Honor Book
Listed as a New York Times, Washington Post, Amazon, Forbes, School Library Journal, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly 2020 book of the year.
"Full of insight about race and ethnicity, this graphic novel intercuts the thrilling wins and crushing defeats of one high school team with basketball’s own turbulent history." —New York Times, from "The 25 Best Children’s Books of 2020"
"Self-confessed nerd Yang would be the first to say it was unlikely that he’d do a graphic novel about sports, but his latest YA opus might be the best comic ever done on the subject, as he follows the fortunes of his high school basketball team in their quest for a state championship." —Forbes, from "The Best Graphic Novels Of 2020"
"Dragon Hoops winningly chronicles the postseason hopes of the basketball team at the Oakland high school where [Gene Luen Yang] taught for 17 years."—Washington Post
"Yang’s cartooning skills have never been sharper... Dragon Hoops has a long life ahead of it in libraries and classrooms, bridging comics and sports in a story that offers plenty of opportunities for meaningful discussion."—AV Club
"At more than 400 full-color pages, Dragon Hoops is an impressive feat of illustrated journalism. Above all else, Yang considers himself a storyteller, and Dragon Hoops affords him the opportunity to devise a narrative that is both personal in its approach and universal in its presentation."—Oakland Magazine
"While [Dragon Hoops] traverses and weaves together different story lines throughout the season—Yang’s own life; the lives of players on the team; the various contexts and trajectories of basketball’s development as a sport — the call to courage spills into every narrative."—San Francisco Chronicle
"Using a candid narrative and signature illustrations that effectively and dynamically bring the fast-paced games to life, Yang has crafted a triumphant, telescopic graphic memoir that explores the effects of legacy and the power of taking a single first step, no matter the outcome." —Publisher's Weekly, starred review and a Publisher's Weekly Best Book of 2020
"Another standout showing from Yang, this title will have even sports haters on their feet cheering." —School Library Journal, starred review and a School Library Journal Best Graphic Novel of 2020
"[Dragon Hoops] is a perfect entryway into this form [single-season reportage] for teen readers."—Horn Book, starred review
"Yang is an extraordinary cartoonist...through recurring visual motifs that connect a champion basketball player to a self-questioning artist to a Russian immigrant with a new idea, he illuminates the risks that every one of us must take and has, once again, produced a work of resounding humanity." —Booklist, starred review
"On-court action is impeccably paced in swift cuts...expect a warm reception from both the sports fiction crowd and open-minded nerds willing to explore what all the seasonal fuss is all about. " —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
"The full-color illustrations are varied in layout, effectively conveying intense emotion and heart-stopping action on the court...A winner." —Kirkus