Philip Guo (Phil Guo, Philip J. Guo, Philip Jia Guo, pgbovine)

On the Move

An Immigrant Child's Global Journey

In December 2007, my first book was published by Whittier Publications, a small academic press in New York. It is an autobiography of my early life, entitled On the Move: An Immigrant Child's Global Journey. This book covers a variety of socially relevant topics relating to my experience of being an immigrant child. At only 200 pages, it is a light and easy read that can be completed in less than 6 hours. The front cover is shown above, and here is the blurb from the back cover:

Before his 12th birthday, Philip Jia Guo had already lived in six cities spanning three continents, learned three distinctively different languages, and attended seven schools that had almost nothing in common with one another. On the Move traces his global journey to places as drastically dissimilar as his birthplace in South China, a quaint town in Switzerland, the American Deep South, both the poorest and wealthiest neighborhoods of New York City, and an affluent suburb in Southern California. He poignantly describes his struggles to fit in as a perpetual outsider and his feelings of being constantly forced by circumstances beyond his control to adapt to new environments, schools, languages, and cultures. On the Move interweaves candid narratives of this immigrant boy's unique childhood experiences with critical observations of such hotly contested social issues as race, ethnicity, class, religion, child development, peer group relations, immigration, assimilation, and national identity. This book appeals to anybody who is interested in learning more about the experience of being an immigrant and especially its impact on young children.

How On the Move Is Unique

Unlike many memoirs by other Asian-American writers, On the Move:

  • focuses exclusively on the experiences of a young child (under the age of 12) while most related work focus on the teenage and young adult years.

  • avoids repeating familiar cliched themes such as parent-child conflicts, academic achievement and college admissions, immigrant self-exploitation and self-denial, the exoticism of the Orient, and romanticized images of the ancestral homeland.

  • interweaves narratives with social analysis and commentary. On the Move is told from two simultaneous perspectives: one of a young child making observations about his surroundings and the other of an adult framing these experiences into a more general social and historical context.

On the Move: The Full Text

I have made the entire book available online for free. Download it as a PDF.

If you enjoy reading, consider purchasing a physical copy. Currently, it can only be ordered through Whittier Publications. They specialize in selling wholesale to university bookstores and other academic venues, but they can probably accommodate individual sales as well. Please contact them directly.


This book chronicles the first 12 years of my life, as told simultaneously through two perspectives: a child who makes observations about his surroundings and a young adult who reflects back on his childhood experiences. I often switch back and forth between these two perspectives throughout each chapter.

The names of most people and institutions mentioned throughout this book have been changed to pseudonyms.

Part I: 1983-1990

Part II: 1990-1994

Part III: 1994-1995

Copyright © 2007 Philip Guo

Official Chinese translation

Read the official Chinese translation by Sam Guo.

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Created: 2007-12-01
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