Cover image for Dragonwings
Yep, Laurence, 1948-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : HarperTrophy, [1975]

Physical Description:
248 pages ; 20 cm
In the early twentieth century a young Chinese boy joins his father in San Francisco and helps him realize his dream of making a flying machine.
Reading Level:
870 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG+ 5.3 10.0 111.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.1 14 Quiz: 03319 Guided reading level: W.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Newbery Honor Book Dragonwings by Lawrence Yep takes readers on an adventure-filled journey across the world.

Inspired by the story of a Chinese immigrant who created a flying machine in 1909, Dragonwings touches on the struggles and dreams of Chinese immigrants navigating opportunity and prejudice in San Francisco.

Moon Shadow only knows two things about his father, Windrider: he lives in San Francisco and used to craft beautiful kites.

One day shortly after his eighth birthday, Cousin Hand Clap arrives with a letter from Windrider asking Moon Shadow to join him in San Francisco. When Moon Rider arrives in America he learns that his father makes a living doing laundry and dreams of building a flying machine just like the Wright Brothers. But making this fantastical dream a reality proves to be no easy task, as intolerance, poverty, and even an earthquake stand in their way.

Author Notes

Laurence Yep was born in San Francisco, California on June 14, 1948. He graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1970 and received a Ph.D. in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

He primarily writes fiction for young adults, but has also written and edited several works for adults. His first novel, Sweetwater, was published in 1973. His other books include Dragonwings, Dragon's Gate, Shadow Lord, Child of the Owl, The Earth Dragon Awakes: The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, and The Dragon's Child: A Story of Angel Island. He has won numerous awards for his work including the Newbery Medal Honor Book, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-8. Chinese traditions and an individual's dream are woven into this story of a father and son, contemporaries of Orville and Wilbur Wright, who build and fly an airplane in the San Francisco area.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-Laurence Yep's Newbery Honor book (HarperCollins, 1975) offers insights into the lives of Chinese-Americans in early 20th century California. The story begins as eight-year-old Moon Shadow Lee journeys across the Pacific to join his proud and clever father at the family-owned laundry in San Francisco. The boy recounts their problems with prejudice, as well as the kindness of uncles and cousins. Father and son must leave the protection of the family to move out of Chinatown, but they find refuge with a generous and friendly landlady. Once they have successfully established a repair business, they turn their attention to making a flying machine. Though it's a modern invention, part of their motivation is the elder's belief in his own previous dragon existence. Yep draws heavily on his own heritage, but also includes figures such as Teddy Roosevelt and the Wright Brothers, and historic events such as the San Francisco Earthquake. The result is a heartwarming story set in a familiar time and place, but told from a new perspective. The quiet intensity of B. D. Wong's narration enriches the text as he creates memorable voices for a large cast of characters. Wafting, ethereal music signals the end of each side of the cassette, and the cover art is attractive. The only problem is the lightweight cardboard package, which is not sturdy enough for heavy circulation. That shouldn't deter libraries from purchasing this fine recording which will provide upper elementary and middle school listeners with lessons in history, and a gentle reminder of the value of a loving family and loyal friends.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library. Rocky Hill, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



A 1975 Newbery Honor BookA 1975 ALA Notable children's BookA New York Times Outstanding Children's Book of 1975Moon Shadow is eight when he sails from China to join his father, Windrider, in America. Windrider lives in San Francisco's Chinatown and works in a laundry. Moon Shadow has never seen him.Moon Shadow soon loves and respects his father, a man of genius, a man with a fabulous dream. With Moon shadow's help, Windrider is willing to endure the mockery of the other Chinese, the poverty, and longing for his own country to make his dream come true.Inspired by the account of a Chinese immigrant who made a flying machine in 1909, Laurence Yep's historical novel beautifully portrays the rich traditions of the Chinese community as it made its way in a hostile new world. Excerpted from Dragonwings by Laurence Yep All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.