Laurence Yep

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Laurence Yep
Native name
叶祥添 / 葉祥添
Born (1948-06-14) June 14, 1948 (age 72)
San Francisco, California, US
EducationPh.D., English literature
Alma materUC-Santa Cruz
GenreHistorical fiction, speculative fiction, autobiography
Notable awardsBoston Globe–Horn Book Award
Phoenix Award
Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal
SpouseJoanne Ryder

Laurence Michael Yep (simplified Chinese: 叶祥添; traditional Chinese: 葉祥添; pinyin: Yè Xiángtiān; born June 14, 1948) is an American writer, best known for children's books. In 2005, he received the biennial Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for his career contribution to American children's literature.[1][2]


Yep was born in San Francisco to Yep Gim Lew (Thomas) and Franche. His older brother, Thomas, named him after studying a particular saint in a multicultural neighborhood that consisted of mostly African Americans. Growing up, he often felt torn between U.S. and Chinese culture, and expressed this in many of his books. A great deal of his work involves characters feeling alienated or not fitting into their surroundings and environment, something Yep has struggled with since childhood. Most of his life, he has had the feeling of being out of place, whether because he is the non athlete in his athletic family or because he is Chinese and once lived in Chinatown but does not speak the language. As it says in his autobiography, "I was too American to fit into Chinatown, and too Chinese to fit in anywhere else." As a boy, Yep attended a bilingual school in Chinatown. He later entered St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco where he continued his interest in chemistry and became equally intrigued with writing. His first writing was done in high school, for a science fiction magazine. His teacher, a priest, told him and a couple of his friends that to get an A, they had to get a piece of writing accepted by a magazine, and that's when he started to realize that a career in writing was meant to be.

Yep attended Marquette University and graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He earned a Ph.D in English at the State University of New York at Buffalo.[3]

While working in his family's store, he "learned early on how to observe and listen to people, how to relate to others. It was good training for a writer." However, as a child, he thought of himself as a scientist and expected to become a chemist. "Like my father, I was fascinated by machines." His decision to become a writer did not come until he entered college at Marquette.

At Marquette, he met and became friends with the literary magazine editor, Joanne Ryder. She introduced him to children's literature and later asked him to write a book for children while she was working at Harper & Row. The result was his first science fiction novel, Sweetwater, published by Harper & Row in 1973. According to Yep, his relationship with Joanne began as friends and progressed into love (Yep, 1991). Yep and Ryder are married and live in Pacific Grove, California.


Laurence Yep's most notable collection of works is the Golden Mountain Chronicles, documenting the fictional Young family from 1849 in China to 1995 in America. Two of the series are Newbery Honor Books, or runners-up for the annual Newbery Medal: Dragonwings (Harper & Row, 1975) and Dragon's Gate (HarperCollins, 1993). Dragonwings won the Phoenix Award from the Children's Literature Association in 1995, recognizing the best children's book published twenty years earlier that did not win a major award.[4] It won the Carter G. Woodson Book Award in 1976, and has been adapted as a play under its original title. Another of the Chronicles, Child of the Owl won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for children's fiction in 1977. (The Rainbow People, Yep's collection of short stories based on Chinese folktales and legends, was a Horn Book runner-up in 1989.)[citation needed]

Yep wrote two other notable series, Chinatown Mysteries and Dragon (1982 to 1992). The latter is an adaptation of Chinese mythology as four fantasy novels.

In 2005 the professional children's librarians awarded Yep the biennial Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, which recognizes a living author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made "a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children".[1] The committee noted that "Yep explores the dilemma of the cultural outsider" with "attention to the complexity and conflict within and across cultures" and it cited four works in particular: Dragonwings, The Rainbow People, The Khan's Daughter, and the autobiographical The Lost Garden.[2]

A live-action/CGI TV movie of The Tiger's Apprentice, adapted by Finding Neverland writer David Magee, was currently being developed by Cartoon Network until it was cancelled after Cartoon Network stopped developing live-action projects.[5] In March 2019, Paramount Pictures announced an animated film adaptation of the book with a script by Magee and a release date of February 11, 2022.[6]


Golden Mountain Chronicles

As of 2011 there are ten published chronicles spanning 1835 to the present. Here they are ordered by the fictional history and the year of the narrative follows the title; none of the titles includes a date.

  1. The Serpent's Children, set in 1849 (1984)
  2. Mountain Light, 1855 (1985)
  3. Dragon's Gate, 1867 (1993)
  4. The Traitor, 1885 (2003)
  5. Dragonwings, 1903 (1975)
  6. Dragon Road, 1939 (2007); originally The Red Warrior
  7. Child of the Owl, 1960 (1977)
  8. Sea Glass, 1970 (1979)
  9. Thief of Hearts, 1995 (1995)
  10. Dragons of Silk, 1835-2011 (2011)
Dragon (fantasy series)
  1. Dragon of the Lost Sea
  2. Dragon Steel
  3. Dragon Cauldron
  4. Dragon War
Star Fisher series
  1. The Star Fisher
  2. Dream Soul (sequel to The Star Fisher)
Chinatown Mysteries
  1. The Case of the Goblin Pearls
  2. The Case of the Lion Dance
  3. The Case of the Firecrackers
City trilogy
  1. City of Fire
  2. City of Ice
  3. City of Death
The Tiger's Apprentice
  1. The Tiger's Apprentice: Book One
  2. Tiger's Blood: Book Two
  3. Tiger Magic: Book Three
Ribbons (untitled group of books)
  1. Ribbons
  2. The Cook's Family (sequel to Ribbons)
  3. The Amah (companion novel)
  4. Angelfish (sequel to The Cook's Family)
Later, Gator (untitled group of books)
  1. Later, Gator
  2. Cockroach Cooties
  3. Skunk Scout
Mia St. Clair (American Girl series)
  1. Mia
  2. Bravo, Mia!
Isabelle series
  1. Isabelle
  2. Designs by Isabelle
  3. To the Stars, Isabelle
  1. American Dragons: Twenty-five Asian American Voices (editor)
  2. The Lost Garden (autobiography, part of the In my own Words series)
Picture books
  1. The Magic Paintbrush
  2. The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty and the Beast Tale
  3. The Butterfly Boy
  4. The Shell Woman and the King: a Chinese folktale
  5. The Khan's Daughter: a Mongolian folktale
  6. The Ghost Fox
  7. The Boy Who Swallowed Snakes
  8. The Man who Tricked a Ghost
  9. The City of Dragons[7]
Other books
  1. Seademons
  2. Tongues of Jade
  3. The Rainbow People
  4. Sweetwater
  5. Hiroshima: A Novella
  6. The Earth Dragon Awakes: the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906
  7. Lady of Ch'iao Kuo: Warrior of the South (part of The Royal Diaries series)
  8. The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung: A Chinese Miner (part of the My Name Is America series)
  9. Spring Pearl: The Last Flower (part of the Girls of Many Lands series)
  10. The Imp that Ate My Homework
  11. When the Circus Came to Town
  12. Kind Hearts and Gentle Monsters
  13. The Mark Twain Murders
  14. The Tom Sawyer Fires
  15. Shadow Lord (a Star Trek novel)
  16. Monster Makers, Inc.
  1. The Age of Wonders
  2. Dragonwings
  3. Pay the Chinaman (one-act)
  4. Fairy Bones (one-act)
  5. HI

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, Past winners" Archived 2016-04-22 at the Wayback Machine. Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). American Library Association (ALA).
      "About the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award" Archived 2016-04-21 at the Wayback Machine. ALSC. ALA. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
  2. ^ a b "Laura Ingalls Wilder Award Winner, 2005". ALSC. ALA. 2005. Archived from the original on 2006-01-04. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
  3. ^ Harper Collins, Laurence Yep Biography Archived 2007-11-21 at the Wayback Machine, accessed September 16, 2007
  4. ^ "Phoenix Award Brochure 2012"[permanent dead link]. Children's Literature Association. Retrieved 2013-03-02.
    See also the current homepage, "Phoenix Award" Archived 2012-03-20 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Nguyen, Hanh (2008-10-09). "Cartoon Network Mentors 'Tiger's Apprentice'". Zap2it. Tribune Media Services. Archived from the original on 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2008-12-24.
  6. ^ Pedersen, Erik (15 March 2019). "Paramount Moves 'Limited Partners' To 2020 & Dates 'The Tiger's Apprentice' Toon". Deadline. Archived from the original on 31 March 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  7. ^ Yep, Laurence (July 1997). The City of Dragons. ISBN 9780590478663. Archived from the original on 2016-12-31. Retrieved 2016-10-03.

External links[edit]