林明子 and 筒井赖子 Chinese picture books are some of our new favorites! These books have relatable story-lines, and the illustrations are beautiful and realistic. Both of my children (4.5-year-old daughter and almost 2-year-old son) LOVE these books! We have been listening to the stories on the Ximalaya FM app and reading them almost everyday for the past week!
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Title: 第一次上街买东西 (5 books)
Author: 筒井赖子, 林明子
Publisher: 新星出版社 New Star Press
Age level: 3-6 years
Where to buy:
- Simplified Chinese (ISBN: 9787513309479)
- Traditional Chinese (ISBN: various)
Review of 林明子 and 筒井赖子 Chinese children’s books
Originally written in Japanese, the books have been translated to many languages. We have paperback versions of the books in simplified Chinese. However, the books are also available in traditional Chinese. Please note that the titles sometimes differ depending on the language version.
My daughter and I learning Chinese together; she can read approximately 800-1000 Chinese characters, and I can read about 600-700 characters. We were able to read most of the book but had to look up an average of 1-2 words per page on average, so this series is perfect for our reading level.
- Beautiful, reality-based illustrations that show the characters’ emotions and body language.
- Characters appear Asian (eg, brown hair, brown almond-shaped eyes). It is important for our children to see characters with diverse features in our books, particularly Asian characteristics for my kids.
- There is also much explore and discuss with each scenario. Stories are relatable for a young child.
- The text is often against a white background on a different page from the illustrations. This allows reading to be more focused.
- Audio narration of these stories are available for free on Ximalaya FM!!! Click here to listen to the audiobooks on Ximalaya!
- You can also watch some of these books on YouTube (videos are listed under the book titles below).
Since these are wonderful books, I definitely recommend buying physical copies for your kids to enjoy at home. But if you are not fluent like me, the narration is helpful for listening to fluent Mandarin Chinese narration of the stories.
- The print is small as with most Chinese picture books for children.
- The binding quality is suboptimal. Some books had binding that was too tight while others have started to fray in some corners with light use. Our 阿惠和妹妹 book already has pages falling out.
- 阿惠和妹妹 (simplified Chinese title) or 佳佳的妹妹不見了 (traditional Chinese title)
Pictures of the inside of the books!
第一次上街买东西 Chinese children’s book
A 5-year-old girl goes shopping alone for milk for the first time! Her errand is successful despite daunting challenges, such as tripping and scraping her knees and someone cutting in front of her in line at the store. This story was very interesting to my daughter because in modern America, we would not allow children at this age to go to the store alone. We were also exposed to vocabulary that isn’t in our typical daily language, such as 香烟 (xiāngyān / cigarettes) which the character sees someone get at the store, and 胖大妈 (pàng dà mā)
第一次上街买东西 Chinese storytelling on YouTube narrated by 酪梨壽司
阿惠和妹妹 (simplified Chinese title) or 佳佳的妹妹不見了 (traditional Chinese title)
A little girl is responsible for watching her little sister while her mother goes to the bank. Instead of staying at home, she takes her little sister outside to play. But she gets very nervous when she realizes that her little sister is missing! Her sister ran off when she was distracted. Fortunately, she finds her sister at a park. This is one of my daughter’s favorites stories!
阿惠和妹妹 Chinese storytelling on YouTube narrated by my daughter!
妹妹住院了Chinese children’s book
This is my daughter’s favorite book currently! 妹妹 has to rush to the hospital due to appendicitis, and her sister 阿惠 thinks about what presents she can give her to cheer her up at the hospital.
妹妹住院了 Chinese storytelling on YouTube narrated by my daughter!
是谁送的呢 Chinese children’s book
A little girl moves to a new apartment and is nervous about the move. At first, she feels lonely and uncertain because everything is unfamiliar and she has no friends yet. Then she receives a letter that cheers her up!
神奇的水彩 Chinese children’s book
This story is about a child who uses his brother’s art supplies. He takes the art supplies to the forest, and it turns out that the animals also want to paint and draw! This is the only story in this set that has some anthropomorphic characters. Very cute story and lovely illustrations!
In summary, I highly recommend 林明子 and 筒井赖子 Chinese Picture Books for kids!
Where to buy Chinese books for kids
For more Chinese book recommendations for kids, please visit and bookmark this link of our favorite books! Every week, I will be adding book reviews to this website!
If you’re wondering where to buy Chinese books for children, please click here for a list of the most popular online bookstores!
To shop low book prices on TaoBao, here is the How-To Guide for using TaobaoRing.
Recommended articles about how to teach kids Chinese
- Teach Your Child a Second Language at Home with 5 Key Steps
- How To Get Your Child To Speak the Minority Language
- Raising Multilingual Children as a Non-Fluent Parent
- 10 Ways to Get Your Child to Read Throughout the Day
- 6 Fun Ways to Assess Reading Comprehension With Kids!
Bilingual English and Chinese Facebook 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!
Happy learning, friends!