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Amazing Books for Kids Learning Chinese

All of us agree that reading gives us joy, beauty, and education. By  exposing ourselves to a wide range of words, we build our vocabulary. By working out what happens in stories, we train our comprehension skills. Additionally, books give us a path to a fun and bigger world.

For those who are learning a foreign language like Chinese, reading definitely accelerates overall progress. People not only learn Chinese grammar along with vocabulary from books, but also Chinese culture. So, here comes the question:  how do you choose Chinese books for your kids?

Before answering this question, think about which stage your child is at:

  1. Beginner Stage: just started learning Chinese, able to recognize Pinyin, can understand simple words or phrases
  2. Intermediate Stage: able to recognize Pinyin and basic Chinese characters, have no problem expressing themselves with simple sentences
  3. Advanced Stage: able to read independently, understand advanced grammar and syntax

For beginner stage children, a Pinyin book with pictures will be a good choice. For intermediate stage children, go for books with both characters and Pinyin, and  for advanced stage children, books with  higher-level words and more complex sentences are required.

Every kid has their own needs. To cater to these different needs, here are some amazing Chinese books for kids:

1. Chineasy for Children: Learn 100 Words

Difficulty level

  • Beginner Stage
  • Intermediate Stage

This is a book written by a woman called “ShaoLan” who wanted to inspire her children to learn Chinese in a fun and easy way. She developed a groundbreaking visual method for learning Chinese characters.

Chineasy is aesthetically pleasing book with that uses a novel approach to learning Chinese characters. In this book, you will see Chinese characters transformed into beautiful and interesting pictograms. These colorful pictograms explain the meaning and origins of Chinese characters. Kids always find it easier to memorize Chinese characters using this book because they see characters as diverse meaningful symbols. The book is organized by theme, such as numbers, family, animals, and food. Vocabulary is introduced based on each theme.

Please note that this book is mainly for picking up Chinese characters. Some of the characters used in this books are in “traditional” forms.

This book is for those who would like to:

  • Reinforce Chinese characters
  • Build vocabulary
  • Understand Chinese culture

Other Chineasy books to  consider:

2. Easy Peasy Chinese: Mandarin Chinese for Beginners – 走向中文

Difficulty level

  • Beginner Stage
  • Intermediate Stage

The author of “Easy Peasy Chinese,” Elinor Greenwood, is a writer and editor of children’s books. She has a Chinese degree from Leeds University and is eager to promote Mandarin Chinese. She likes to motivate Chinese learners with fun activities and teaching aids, such as stickers and pictures.

If your kid has just started learning Chinese and wants to learn about self-introduction, numbers and dates, telling the time, talking about food and interests, and knowing more about Chinese culture, try this book! “Easy Peasy Chinese” is a fun-filled book with an attractive layout. It covers the basics for  beginners and is based on Pinyin. Your kids will learn the most common words and phrases and then be able to form simple sentences in Chinese.

The book comes with a CD , so that your kids will learn to pronounce Chinese phrases correctly.

This book is for those who would like to:

  • Reinforce Chinese characters
  • Build vocabulary
  • Understand Chinese culture
  • Improve pronunciation
  • Have simple conversations

Workbook for practicing Chinese:

Easy Peasy Chinese Workbook: Mandarin Chinese Practice for Beginners

3. Mina’s First Day of School – 米娜上学的第一天

(Simplified version; Traditional Version)

Difficulty level

  • Intermediate Stage

Katrina Liu, an American-born-Chinese author, wanted to raise her daughter to become bilingual. So, she created a Chinese picture book series called “Mina Learns Chinese,” based on her daughter’s life. All her books are especially designed for young audiences.

“Mina’s First Day of School” is a very helpful picture book with an adorable story and engaging illustrations. Following along with Mina on her first day of school, your kids get to read  some easy-to-grasp dialogues and learn common phrases in Chinese.

The book includes Pinyin, Chinese characters, and English. It also comes with an audio book. Even if you are unable to read the book to your kids, the audio book will.

Also, Mina’s story helps you to get your kids mentally ready for school. Isn’t that great?

This book is for those who would like to:

  • Build vocabulary
  • Learn daily conversations
  • Reinforce pronunciation
  • Improve listening skills

More stories about Mina

4. Father and Son – 父与子

Difficulty level

  • Intermediate Stage

“Father and Son”, a well-known comic, was created by German cartoonist E.O. Plauen in 1934. His masterfully drawn scenes show the affection between a father and son in a vivid and artistically attractive way. Interestingly, this version of “Father and Son” is printed with beautiful colors and includes Chinese characters and Pinyin.

Unlike the other books listed here, “Father and Son” is a comic book series. Some parents tend to disapprove of comic books. I truly understand that children could rely too heavily on the pictures, but there are two sides to every coin. If you use comic books smartly, they can still educate your children. The images in the books help children understand the language easier. And honestly, students are often eager to read comic books, even when they  are written in a language they are unfamiliar with.

If you loved this comic book series when you were young, your kids will love it, too. If your kids are interested in the stories, they will try their best to find out what the comics say.

This book is for those who would like to:

  • Build vocabulary
  • Learn daily conversations

More popular comic books with Pinyin

5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid – 小屁孩日记

Difficulty level

  • Advanced Stage

The author of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, Jeff Kinney, came up with the idea for this book series in 1998. It’s a collection of the unique diaries of a middle-school boy. The series was posted online in 2004 and published in 2007. There are more than 200 million copies of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books available in 65 languages. You might be surprised that there are even bilingual versions of this widely popular series.

Bilingual books are certainly more accessible to non-native speakers. It allows your kids to read and compare the Chinese and English texts. The translation provides readers with clarification when they come across words that they are not familiar with. It helps to read a relatively easy version of a popular children’s story because it teaches new words (and sometimes, students learn more about English too).

What’s more important: it’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid!” Children love these stories!

This book is for those who would like to

  • Build vocabulary
  • Improve reading comprehension

Other Diary of a Wimpy Kid books

We believe that parents play an important role in helping their kids forming habit of reading. Choose a book and enjoy your family reading time today!

Xing Lyu

Xing Lyu

Xing Lyu is a professional Chinese language teacher and educator with over seven years of educational experience in the primary and middle schools of Singapore. She has vast experience teaching both non-Chinese and Chinese students in many areas. She currently works as an online Chinese teacher at TouchChinese.

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