Chinese Graded Readers of the Chinese Library Series is an excellent set of books for children who are learning simplified Chinese characters. These are among the first books that we read when we first started our Chinese learning journey. The Chinese Graded Readers were actually written for overseas children! Since I am learning Chinese with my daughter, Pinyin and English help me read and understand new Chinese characters while she focuses on the Chinese characters.
Title: Chinese Graded Readers (Chinese Library Series) + Video CD
Author: Carol Chen (陈琦)
Where to buy:
- China Sprout (United States):
- Purple Culture (United States)
- China Books (Australia)
- Cypress Books (United Kingdom)
Chinese Graded Readers (Chinese Library Series) Book Review
The Chinese Graded Readers covers a variety of topics, including anthropomorphic animal stories, realistic stories about family, and famous Chinese festivals. The simplified Chinese text is large and visible while the pinyin is subtle with a light gray font that is smaller than the Chinese characters. However, the Pinyin is conveniently available above each Chinese character, which can be helpful for new learners. English translations of key words are offered in the back of the book. Extended reading and questions provide additional reading and comprehension practice. Non-fluent families will be happy to hear that each book comes with a CD narration. However, the CD is actually a VCD and not a regular audio CD.
How we used the Chinese Graded Readers (Chinese Library Series)
When my daughter was 3-years old, we were just starting to learn Chinese, and read the book while listening to the audio CD. Then I would try to read the book with my daughter with the help of Pinyin, and she would point out characters that looked familiar to her. When my daughter was completing the Sagebooks reading curriculum, she was gradually able to read most of the characters in the Chinese Graded Readers independently. Therefore, these books were a great confident booster for her reading ability.
As for content, my daughter thought that most of the stories were interesting and cute, albeit simple. So we would expand upon each story and try to speak as much Chinese as possible to describe what we thought could happen to each character.
Downsides to the Chinese Graded Readers
The only story that was not quite appropriate for my 3-year-old at the time was titled “My Dad and I.” The story is about a girl who visits her father. Her parents are divorced, and her dad is protrayed as the “fun” dad who lets her do things that her mom apparently does not let her do, such as each junk food and watch television. The extended reading is about how the father is remarrying another woman.
While I do think this book is quite helpful for a child going through such an experience, it was confusing for my 3-year-old who has not experienced family strife like this before. However, as she grows, I hope that reading a story like this will help give her empathy and insight to families experiencing these challenges. I did not realize what the story was about until we had started reading together!
Another complaint is that the CD would not work in a regular CD player. I had to use the CD drive of a very old laptop computer which was rather inconvenient. However, I was still grateful to be able to listen to a native Chinese speak narrate the story.
Photos of the Chinese Graded Readers (Chinese Library Series)
In summary, I highly recommend these books for non-native families who are learning simplified Chinese. A wide range of relevant vocabulary is introduced with each story. In addition, Pinyin and English will help with pronunciation and understanding of new Chinese characters.
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!
RECOMMENDED ARTICLES ABOUT HOW TO TEACH KIDS CHINESE
If you need tips on how to teach your child Chinese, these posts are for you!
- 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!
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! Or better yet, it’s helpful to ask parents Facebook support groups:
- Montessori-inspired Kids Learning Chinese and English
- Christian Parents Raising Bilingual Children in English & Chinese
- Raising Bilingual Parents in Chinese & English
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!