The Rise (and Falls) of Jackie Chan

by Kristen Mai Giang (Author) Alina Chau (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

An action-packed picture book biography about Hollywood actor, stuntman, and beloved superstar Jackie Chan! A great read for Chan fans hoping to share their love of Rush Hour, Supercop, and Jackie's original brand of martial arts with their ready-to-tumble tyke.

Pow! Bam! Wow! Jackie Chan has been making movies and amazing audiences with his original and comedic stunts for decades.

Pow! Bam! Ow! But before he was an international star, Jackie grew up in relative poverty in China, studied martial arts at the grueling China Drama Academy, and worked for years trying to find his way in film.

Pow! Bam! How? Twist, tumble, and train alongside martial arts hero Jackie Chan in this picture book biography from lauded author Kristen Mai Giang and illustrator and Hong Kong native Alina Chau. Discover how Jackie used his goofball acrobatics to make a name and a style all his own.

Kirkus Reviews

Chan's action-star trajectory will inspire young readers.

Publishers Weekly

In this picture book biography of Hong Kong-born martial artist, stuntman, actor, and director Jackie Chan (b. 1954), Giang traces the figure's life, covering his "poor but happy" childhood, a disciplined decade of schooling at the China Drama Academy, and his becoming a stuntman for Bruce Lee and later developing his own style: "Buster Keaton with kung fu flair and a little Fred Astaire." Though the illustrations' resemblance to Chan is questionable, vivid, fine-lined watercolors by Chau offer sweeping, energetic cartoon-style scenes. Chinese calligraphy appears throughout, while plentiful onomatopoeia and staccato sentences successfully evoke the action in this dynamic profile of a living legend. Back matter includes a glossary of Chinese characters and their Cantonese and Mandarin pronunciations. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 2-4--This staid picture book biography chronicles the life of stunt man and movie star Jackie Chan. Young Jackie practiced kung fu each morning with his father, but he was initially not a dedicated student, growing up as the class goofball and resistant to anything requiring discipline. His parents moved to Australia in the hope of building a better life, while Jackie stayed behind at the China Drama Academy to train for the opera, where he was a student for 10 years focusing on acting, fighting, and acrobatics. This period in his life instilled him with perseverance and dedication to his craft. As the opera lost popularity in China, Jackie found work as a martial arts stunt man. The text, covering a lot very quickly, is accompanied by watercolor illustrations in a calm palette of greens and yellows. Any questions readers have about the difficult periods in Jackie's life, such as the separation from his family, are likely to be answered in the more detailed author's note in the back matter, which also includes a thoughtful glossary of Chinese characters with phonetic Mandarin and Cantonese pronunciations. VERDICT This should find a home in many larger biography collections.--Lauren Younger

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Kristen Mai Giang
Kristen Mai Giang is a Chinese American author who emigrated from Vietnam and grew up in San Gabriel, California. She is the author of the picture books Ginger and Chrysanthemum, which draws from family stories new and old, and the upcoming Last Flight, which tells of her family's escape from Saigon in 1975. Her picture book biography The Rise (and Falls) of Jackie Chan was inspired by childhood memories, specifically watching Hong Kong movies at Grauman's Chinese Theater. When not writing, Kristen has spent the past two decades creating kid-targeted Emmy Award-winning digital content for Disney, NBC Kids, and Mattel, among others. Find Kristen online at

Alina Chau is an award-winning filmmaker and artist whose credits include the Emmy Award-winning Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, numerous bestselling games, and The Nian Monster, which received the 2018 APALA Picture Book Honor. Alina grew up in Hong Kong in an Indonesian-Chinese family during the British colonial era, and her cultural heritage strongly influences her artistic and storytelling voice. Discover more about Alina and her work at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
March 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JNF007060 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Performing Arts
JNF018020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States - Asian American
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Motion picture actors and actresses
Actors and actresses
Cheng, Long
Hong Kong
Martial artists

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