Yep Laurence. 2008. THE EARTH DRAGON AWAKES: THE SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE OF 1906. NY: Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0060008468.


THE EARTH DRAGON AWAKES is a fictional historical account of the devastating 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.  Readers experience this tragedy through the eyes of two boys named Henry Travises and Chin. Henry and Chin are friends growing up in San Francisco at the beginning of the twenty century.  Chin, whose family works for the Travises family, is separated from Henry in the aftermath of this terrible disaster.

Laurence Yep masterfully chronicles the hardships the boys and their families undergo while they attempt to rebuild their lives. THE EARTH DRAGON AWAKES is riddled through with historical facts while still painting a believable set of characters and setting. This book “will appeal to readers who enjoy action-packed survival stories” (Prekins n.d.).

THE EARTH DRAGON AWAKES is an entertaining and engrossing story that sneaks in a three-fold educational punch.  First, the book has well research and in-depth historical facts about the Earthquake of 1906.  Laurence Yep also “weaves snippets of information on plate tectonics and more very neatly around his prose” (Threadgill n.d.).  Lastly, THE EARTH DRAGON AWAKES gives children, ages 8-12, an inside view of Chinese-American immigrant culture in the early 1900s.  This book is sure to be a favorable choice of children, parents, and teachers.


Main Characters:

Henry – An 8 year old boy who lives in a wealthy banking household in 1906 San Francisco.  He is best friends with Chin.

Chin – He is a nine-year-old Chinese immigrant whose father is a house servant to a wealthy family in San Francisco. He is friends with Henry.


Enrichment Activities:

Laurence Yep beautifully brings to life the impact the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 had on the Chinese-American people in THE EARTH DRAGON AWAKES. This book could lead to a discussion of a multitude of subjects with children.  For instance, the story  highlights the history of San Francisco, Chinese immigrant culture, earthquakes, and so on.  Pairing this book with non-fictional texts on this subject would enhance the educational aspects of this tale.



Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee


Book Trailer:


What to Read to Next:

Osborne, Mary Pope. 2001. Ill. Sal Murdocca MAGIC TREEHOUSE: EARTHQUAKES IN THE EARLY MORNING.  NY: Random House.  ISBN 978-0679890706


Tarshis, Lauren. 2012. I SURVIVED #6: I SURVIVED THE SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE, 1906. NY: Scholastic. ISBN 978-0545206990



Prekins, Linda. n.d. “Editorial Review: Booklist.” Amazon. Accessed April 2014, 9.

Threadgill, Catherine. n.d. “Editorial Review: School Library Journal.” Amazon. Accessed April 9, 2014.



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