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 the 爱的小秘密 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:
- Compatible with Luka Reading Robot which has high-quality narration
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 “just for 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 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
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!
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Happy reading, friends!