Learn Chinese Words Through Books for Kids
I was really blown away by this advanced picture book by Caldecott-winning illustrator and author Ed Young. I had no idea he was Chinese but even more than that, I didn’t expect a picture book to cover a vast story about his own life surviving the Chinese war with Japan. This book seems truly like a labor of love, and despite the difficult times of a war-torn country, this book emphasizes the deep love Ed Young’s parents have for their family and extended family in building a refuge (this amazing House that Ed Young’s architect father — baba which is Chinese for father)built for his family in Shanghai. I shouldn’t be surprised that the artwork is amazing but it’s truly remarkable. Collage-like, surreal yet also specific to Ed’s family with family photos and portraits intertwined. The book also has fold-out pages; perfect for how unexpected this picture book really is. The fold-out pages also pop out of nowhere and give the reader an element of surprise. I also feel that this story is universal and not specific to an Asian or refugee story. It’s about the innocence of children during war and how a parents’ love can make even a terrible experience as war a memorable and loving experience. I highly, highly recommend it! [advanced picture book, ages 5-12]
If you were to buy just one book about China and wanted to cover, basically, EVERYTHING, then this would be your book. This book covers learning Mandarin Chinese vocabulary and useful phrases both written and spoken, Chinese modern-day culture, Chinese history (and it’s a very long period of time!), and geography including sights to see if you are visiting anytime soon. It’s an extremely helpful book. Another helpful thing: it’s spiral bound so the pages stay flat if you want to study a particular page, say … Mandarin Chinese “Telling the Time.” Yeah, of course, this book sneaks in little math concepts. It’s very Chinese-y! (We just can’t help that! Hee hee!)
Learning Mandarin Chinese Textbooks
The Ni Hao series is what my middle school daughter uses in school. During Visiting Day, her teacher let me flip through it. I don’t speak Chinese though I’ve had a year when I was in elementary school and this is a textbook that I could handle. The instructions are in English and there is English peppered throughout the book. Also, the book is very slim with plenty of illustrations so it’s not intimidating at all. I wouldn’t be able to teach my child out of this book on my own, but it would be a great curriculum to use if you have a tutor from China who doesn’t have a curriculum already created.
I was given a copy of this series to evaluate. Since this textbook is entirely in Chinese, I wasn’t able to do much with it except to hand it to my kids’ Chinese tutor who said that this series is excellent! She is also excellent so I believe her!
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.