加油小米啦 (Jiāyóu! Xiǎo Mǐla / You Can Do It Little 米啦!) is a series of early chapter books (eg, Chinese bridge books) with funny stories about a girl, 米啦, and her friends and family.
This is an introduction to the series, not a complete review as we are only just getting started with it. But so far, we love it and wanted friends to know about it! I will update this review in the future after we have had more time to read and reflect on 加油小米啦!
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Title: 加油小米啦 (Jiāyóu! Xiǎo Mǐla / You Can Do It Little Mila!)
Age level: 5-8 years
Language: Simplified Chinese with Hanyu Pinyin
Where to buy:
About the 加油小米啦 series
加油小米啦 is a set of 6 early chapter books written by the Chinese author 商晓娜. The stories are realistic, relatable, and funny, and the illustrations are adorable!
Five-year-old 小米啦 is always getting into trouble and learning things the hard way!
For example, the first chapter begins with a frustrated 小米啦 who cuts her father’s hair when he’s napping on the couch! She saw some white hair and was worried that he’s getting too old haha!
Another time she thought her father’s laptop was dirty, and she soaked it in the sink to wash!
How we read 加油小米啦 as a non-fluent family
As a non-fluent family, we thought the language was pretty easy to understand. My daughter was able to recognize most of the words after completing Sagebooks, Greenfield, and 四五快读 . When I read to her, I often get distracted by sounding out the Pinyin instead of looking at the characters, but she cannot read Pinyin and seems to ignore the font above the characters. The Pinyin is convenient because when my daughter is unsure of a word, I can quickly check the Pinyin instead of having to take out my phone to check the Pleco Chinese dictionary app.
Last year, we bought the first book from China Sprout and loved it! Therefore, I bought the rest of the set from Taobao which arrived shrink-wrapped in perfect condition. However, last year, my daughter read only the first book. We stopped because her little brother wouldn’t sit through wordy books with few illustrations and is very disruptive unless we read picture books together.
In the past few weeks, my daughter, now age 5, has been interested in the series again! My 2-year-old boy has much better listening comprehension of Chinese now, so he enjoys listening to us read together. Now, the three of us can discuss the story and characters together. To gauge reading comprehension, I ask my daughter to give me a quick summary of what happened in the story by asking specific questions.
- “Who did 小米啦 spend time with in this chapter?”
- “Did she do anything nice?”
- “Did she make any mistakes? Was it on purpose or accident?”
- “Did anybody’s feeling get hurt?”
- “What would you recommend that she do differently next time?”
To encourage my daughter to read, I leave the book out on this bookstand from Amazon in our living room, which is next to the kids’ corner. Sometimes when she walks by, the book catches her eye, and she’ll sit on the wagon and casually read for a bit!
However, the peaceful moment is usually short-lived with my son running around and encouraging her to play with him! But at least she gets a few minutes of Chinese reading here and there!
Introduction of the 小米啦, her friends, and her family
A peek at the chapters in 加油小米啦!
View of the 加油小米啦 paperback binding
加油小米啦 Chinese chapter books stacked up!
Video of my daughter reading 加油小米啦 Book 4
She is able to read almost all of the words independently, yay! Since she doesn’t know how to read Pinyin yet, she still has to ask me how to pronounce the few words that she’s not sure about.
FREE CHINESE AUDIOBOOKS
Many websites and apps offer FREE multilingual books for kids!
Ximalaya FM is our favorite, and I highly recommend their free Chinese audiobooks for all kids!
Since the entire website and app is in Chinese, please refer to this guide on How to Use Ximalaya if you cannot read Chinese.
Where to buy Chinese books for kids
If you’re wondering where to buy kids’ books, please click here for a list of the most popular online Chinese bookstores!
HOW TO RAISE MULTILINGUAL CHILDREN
- Teach Your Child a Second Language at Home with 5 Key Steps
- Raising Multilingual Children as a Non-Fluent Parent: 7 Lessons Learned
- 20+ Ways to Get Your Child to Speak Chinese
- How to Find a Language Teacher for Your Child
- How I Taught My Child 1000+ Chinese Characters as a Non-Fluent Speaker
Bilingual English and Chinese Facebook Parent Group
As always, please leave a comment with any questions, and I’ll try my best to answer them! Or better yet, please join our Facebook group! Montessori-inspired Kids Learning Chinese and English is a community of parents worldwide who are excited to share bilingual book recommendations, Montessori tips, and learning materials!