I almost didn’t write this post about the 爱的小秘密 Chinese picture book, because I’m afraid it will be out of stock everywhere soon. When I photographed this book, I worried that I was wasting time capturing a book that not many people can get. But I hope that by sharing this beautiful book, a publisher or author somewhere will take notice and create more stories like this for our children’s generation.
- 作者 (Author): 新井悦子
- Translator: 赵玉皎
- Publisher: 连环画出版社
- Where to buy:
爱的小秘密 Book review
At the surface, 爱的小秘密 is just another translated Japanese picture book, but this type of story is an endangered species. While cartoons are exponentially becoming more popular, few stories that mirror my family are left behind. My 5-year-old daughter has read 爱的小秘密 dozens of times, because the characters remind her of her family. Although the presence of a 爸爸 (bàba / dad)，妈妈 (māmā / mom)，姐姐 (jiějiě / big sister), and 弟弟 (dìdì / little brother) are not unique, the realistic images that convey palpable emotion are what make me desperate to share it.
The main character is a 姐姐 who gets dressed for a dance recital. 弟弟 falls ill, and 妈妈 has to take him to the hospital. Since 爸爸 has to work, a friend takes 姐姐 to the theater. 姐姐 is hopeful that 妈妈 might be able to make it to the performance, and she checks the door constantly and earnestly for her arrival. When 姐姐 goes on stage, she becomes tearful and comforts herself with a 握一握 (wòyīwò / handshake) that reminds her of 妈妈. At last, 妈妈 arrives and later they meet 弟弟 who has recovered.
Why we need more stories like 爱的小秘密
Finding stories with illustrations that look like actual Asian people (thank you Japanese illustrators!!) is very important. The characters LOOK like our family – they have black hair and small noses. Their eyes are NOT gigantic. Their butt is covered by their pants and not on their face. Children internalize images that they are exposed to, and they need role models that represent them in their own books. 姐姐‘s longing for 妈妈 is depicted poignantly, and I know my daughter identifies with those feelings when my husband and I are at work. Feelings of fear, disappointment, relief, and love were palpable and relatable for me and my daughter.
Furthermore, this is also not a story for “just girls” – I read this to my son because young men need to hear realistic stories from a female perspective. This allows them to grow accustomed to considering the perspective of other people. In addition, stories about affectionate parent-son relationships are relatively sparse even in English.
I truly hope that you will be able to to find this book at an online shop or through your library. I purchased this at Taobao, but it’s no longer available there. I also could not find a traditional Chinese version, but perhaps it’s under a different title? Perhaps I will be able to convince my daughter to let me record her narration of this story so that there is one more book on the internet that our kids can identify with.
If you are not able to find the book, I recommend the 林明子 books which are similar to 爱的小秘密.
Photos of 爱的小秘密
In summary, I highly recommend the 爱的小秘密 picture book and hope to see more books like this for our children!
FREE CHINESE AUDIOBOOKS
Ximalaya FM has thousands of Chinese stories for children for free! Our favorites are listed in this post. Since the entire website and app is in Chinese, please refer to this guide if you cannot read Chinese.
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!
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RECOMMENDED BILINGUAL FACEBOOK PARENTING GROUPS
As always, please let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll try my best to answer them! Please leave a note in the comments! I also highly recommend reaching out to parents in Facebook support groups:
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You can also follow me on Facebook where I share my latest posts as well as favorite articles about children’s education, Chinese resources, and hands-on activities from other websites! In addition, on Instagram, I share activity highlights and how we integrate Chinese-learning in our daily family life!
Happy reading, friends!