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01 December 2014

Boxers and Saints

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang is his two book series about the Boxer Rebellion in China - each from a different point of view.

Boxers is told from the point of view of Little Bao. Bao is from a traditional Chinese village. His first encounter with a foreigner is when a group of men come to "get justice" for someone by stealing vegetables. While they are there they smash a deity who protects the village.

This leads Little Bao to train to fight and eventually form the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fist - traveling from village to village defending people. They call upon the spirits of the gods to save China.

Saints is from the point of view of  Four-girl. She never fit in with her family and decides to become a devil. Since she doesn't know how to become a devil, she talks to a man called a foreign devil, who is a priest. When she hears of a group of men roaming the countryside killing missionaries, priests and Chinese Christians she knows she is destined to be a warrior woman like Joan of Arc.

Bao and Four-girl meet twice in the books which tell their stories in parallels. Yang is a master of the graphic novel - capturing so much with so few words and beautiful illustrations. For a study guide visit goodokbad.

Yang, Gene Luen. (2013). Boxers. New York: First Second.

Yang, Gene Luen. (2013). Saints. New York: First Second.

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