Luka Reading Robot is a Game Changer for Bilingual Chinese-English Families

Last year, when JoJo Learning sent us Luka Reading Robot for unbiased feedback, I thought Luka was too good to be true. This owl-shaped robot can narrate >70,000 Chinese books and >20,000 English books. It plays music, too!

The moment we received Luka, my kids were immediately smitten. Over the past year, we have read several hundred Chinese books with Luka. About half a year ago, they were beyond thrilled when we received a second Luka (Hero) from JoJo Learning.

Reading with Luka Robot and Luka Hero AI Mandarin Narration for Chinese Picture Books
Reading with Luka while Luka Hero waits for its turn

Although English is our family’s main language and Luka has English features, we use Luka to maximize input and interest in our minority language.

Reading Chinese Magic School Bus Books with Luka Reading Robot

Disclaimer: The original post shared on November 7, 2019 on Facebook and Instagram was sponsored by JoJo Learning for a period of about 1 week. However, this post has some affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I earn a small commission which supports my blog at no additional cost to you. Please see the disclosure policy for details.

This post has been updated most recently on November 14, 2020. As always, all content reflects the experience and honest opinions of my family.

For those who worry that robots will take over humans, we are a fairly low-tech family and feel comfortable with Luka. Luka and Luka Hero have become a major part of our life; my children love hugging and chatting with each of their Luka robots!

I strongly believe that Luka can be a huge help to bilingual and multilingual families. In this post, I’ll answer common questions and compare Luka with the newer Luka Hero model.

Can't Read Chinese? Don't Have Time? Luka the Robot Can Read Chinese to Your Kid!

Review of Luka Reading Robot: video introduction

Luka was created by Ling Technology in 2017 and >1 million units of Luka and sister products (Luka Baby, Luka Hero, Luka Luka) have been sold in China.

Luka developers work with publishers and professional narrators to collect and store the vast content in its cloud library.

In this video, I give an overview of how Luka reads various simplified Chinese books and some key features of the Luka APP.

What age is Luka most suitable for?

In my opinion, Luka is best for children between ages 3-8 years old who enjoy reading picture books. I have heard of 8-10 year old kids that are big fans of Luka, too.

Children younger than age 3 will likely prefer reading with a parent. As with most activities at this age, they will be less likely to use Luka independently.

Although my 7-year-old has been voraciously reading Chinese chapter books since she was 5, Luka has still been a great help for reading advanced picture books. I anticipate that she will continue to use Luka over the next year.

Older children/teenagers and those who have outgrown picture books may instead prefer the Youdao dictionary translation pen (detailed review here).

Benefits of Luka Reading Robot for bilingual families

We all know that children should read or be read to daily, but many families don’t have the capability or time to read Chinese books.

Reading Chinese books with Luka Reading Robot
6-year-old daughter reading some favorite books
爱的小秘密 and 一片叶子落下来 Fall of Freddie the Leaf

Luka can help children learn Chinese

I’ve written extensively about how audiobooks help my American children learn Chinese. Audiobooks can improve vocabulary and reading comprehension, especially for bilingual learners.

Although my 7-year-old reads Chinese independently, Luka’s narration function helps her read challenging books beyond her level. She also enjoys playing 成语 (Chinese idiom) games with Luka.

My 4-year-old son has been mimicking and chatting with Luka in Mandarin. Thanks to Luka, he has picked up many new Chinese words and phrases. Here’s a video from November 2019 when my son was 3 years old.

A robot can help families who are not fluent enough to read Chinese

Now with Luka Reading Robot, my kids are less limited by my lack of fluency. They don’t need to wait for mommy to look up words in the dictionary, check the Pinyin, or study the book beforehand.

Explore this: How I Taught My Child 1000+ Chinese Characters as a Non-Fluent Speaker

Buying Luka can save money

In the past, we paid a Chinese teacher $30/hour to read to our children. However, coordinating schedules was challenging, and my son didn’t connect with her.

Now my kids can read Chinese books whenever they want at no extra cost!

Reading Chinese books in modern home kids library with Luka Reading Robot
So much love for Luka Reading Companion! 🙂

Luka Reading Companion saves time

Because Luka’s narration quality is excellent, my kids don’t need me to search for the best Mandarin narrator on Ximalaya.

I also don’t have to spend hours transferring audio files from Ximalaya to an MP3 player, because Luka can read most of our Chinese books.

Furthermore, like many busy parents working inside or outside of the home, I can’t sit with my kids every time they want to read, such as when I’m in a meeting.

With Luka, my kids just need to pick a book, press a button, and they are able to read and listen right away!

Reading Chinese books in modern home kids library with Luka Reading Robot
Luka’s Tale and Luka Reading Robot (Turned off)
Back of Luka Reading Robot: speaker, on/off/volume tail, charging jack; Luka's Tale Hardcover Chinese Picture Book
Back of Luka Reading Robot: speaker, on/off/volume tail, charging jack;
Luka’s Tale Hardcover Chinese Picture Book

What does Luka come with?

Regular Luka

Luka Reading Robot comes very well packaged in a sturdy yellow box, cushioned with a velvety lining. The box contains a USB charging cable, Luka stickers, and a hardcover book about Luka.

Luka Hero

The Luka Hero sold in the United States comes with a round charging station, which makes the base more stable.

In contrast to the Luka Hero sold in Asia, the JoJo Learning Luka Hero set does not come with the purple wireless charging mat, flashcards, and English books. We have those extra resources and never use them; I’m actually trying to figure out what to do with that unnecessary clutter…

Luka Hero round charging base
Luka Hero round charging station (not available for regular Luka)

How to use Luka Robot and Luka Hero

  • Press and hold the tail to turn on/off Luka
  • HD camera on Luka’s forehead scans book covers, illustrations, and ISBN code
  • Press book wing for Luka to read books
  • Press music wing for Luka to sing songs, tell other stories, or narrate poems
  • Please refer to directions and the user manual on JoJo Learning’s Luka Support Page
Luka Reading Companion versus Luka Hero functions

What can Luka Reading Robot do?

  • Easy for kids to learn and use independently. My younger child was able to use Luka on his own at age 3 years.
  • Read >70,000 Chinese picture books and >20,000 English picture books!!!
    • Professionally narrate stories with both male and female human voices.
    • Some stories have soft music in the background, others have no background music.
    • When Luka sees a book cover, it recognizes the book and reads as you turn the pages, even out of page order
    • A soft click sound indicates that Luka is done reading a page; turn the page whenever you’re ready
    • Can read books from any angle, as long as the camera is right above the book
  • Respond to simple commands:
    • Ask questions like 一加一等于什么? (Yī jiā yī děngyú shénme / 1+1= ?)
    • Play 成语接龙游戏 (Chéngyǔ jiēlóng yóuxì / Chinese idiom game) which my daughter enjoys, but my son doesn’t understand yet
  • With the Luka APP, parents and teachers can conveniently record their own narrations for any book.  This is a great way for kids to hear a familiar voice. We have not tried this yet, but my friend told me that a few Cantonese-speaking parents use this function.
  • When Luka is idle (eg, if you forget to turn him off), he does random silly things to get your attention!  Personally, I find this feature unnecessary and distracting. However, my kids think it’s hilarious. We have heard him fart, and my kids crack up when he says Chinese phrases like:
    • 小心我的小尾巴! ( Xiǎoxīn wǒ de xiǎo wěibā! / Be careful of my little tail!)
    • 跟我说说话,让我变得更聪明!  (Gēn wǒ shuō shuōhuà, ràng wǒ biàn dé gèng cōngmíng! / If you talk to me, I will get smarter!)
    • 我怕鱼缸!  (Wǒ pà yúgāng / I’m scared of the fishtank!)
    • 你在哪?不要看电视或玩手机!  (Nǐ zài nǎ? Bùyào kàn diànshì huò wán shǒujī! / Where are you? Don’t watch TV or play with your phone!)
Reading Chinese books in modern home kids library with Luka Reading Robot
My son when he was 3yo, using Luka independently while I finish work nearby!

Features of Luka APP

  • Available on iOS and Android
  • Search books by title or ISBN
  • Search books and music by category
  • Push Ximalaya audiobooks to Luka
Luka APP: Search Luka's books by category
Luka APP: Search Luka’s books by category
  • For books that have both Chinese and English options, you can switch languages with the APP
  • You can push English and Chinese songs and nursery rhymes to play through Luka’s speakers
  • Save your favorite playlists and reading lists
  • Reading log: keeps track of number of books, book covers, and time spent with Luka Reading Robot
Luka versus Luka Hero review and Journey to the West Chinese book for kids

Additional features of Luka Hero

Luka and Luka Hero are nearly identical in function. The main difference is that Luka Hero has an additional point-to-read function.

Benefits of Luka Hero’s point-to-read function

The main benefit is that Luka Hero can read individual simplified Chinese characters or English words that are handwritten or typed, such as flashcards. Luka can read these individual words even if it cannot read the whole book.

Luka displaying and translating an English word
Luka versus Luka Hero review - DK Chinese picture dictionary
Luka displaying a Chinese word and example bigram with Pinyin

When you put your finger under an English word, Luka displays the word in one eye and the Chinese translation under the other eye. When you place your finger under a Chinese character, Luka displays the Chinese character in one eye and a bigram (2-word phrase) with the Pinyin in the other eye.

The word takes a several seconds to appear; then it stays in the eyes for a few seconds.

Luka Reading Robot reads handwriting
Luka Hero reading handwriting

Here’s an example of Luka reading a Chinese word from Sagebooks when I place my finger under the Chinese character. However, just like Luka, Hero cannot narrate the full Sagebooks.

Luka Hero reading Sagebooks Chinese leveled reader
Luka Hero reading a word in Sagebooks. Please note that it cannot narrate the entire book unless each individual characters is pointed to.

Here’s a video demonstration of Luka Hero’s point-to-read function.

Downsides of Luka Hero’s point-to-read function

Personally, the only time that we use the point-to-read function is when Luka Hero is narrating a book and we want to check an unfamiliar word on the page.

This function works most accurately for larger words; my 7-year-old daughter and I understand where we need to place our finger for Luka Hero to read the individual word. However, my 4-year-old son often puts his finger too far away.

For books with tiny font, such as our DK Chinese picture dictionary, Luka Hero may not be able to accurately decipher which character your finger is under. More frustrating is when we point to a word and Hero does not respond or display anything.

Otherwise, we have rarely used the point-to-read function as it is too cumbersome to turn Luka Hero on and off just to check a few words. In addition, my daughter thinks the character flashes to quickly. She had hoped to take notes of the Pinyin to teach me Chinese, but the display cleared too soon.

What other people think of the point-to-read Luka Hero function

In contrast to our opinion, many parents have asked JoJo Learning to carry Luka Hero, which is why they have added this product.

Other non-fluent American families who tested Luka gave much favorable feedback than us. These families liked that their kids could check the pronunciation of the single word independently and use Luka with Chinese flashcards.

Areas for improvement

Like most technology, Luka is not perfect, and we’ve learned to work around some of it’s glitches.

Initial set up

Connecting Luka to WiFi with my APP was initially challenging, but then I realized I needed to use my personal WiFi hotspot and wiggle my phone from side-to-side for Luka to sense it. My understanding is that this is a common initial frustration with many Luka owners.

Speed

  • Both Luka and Luka Hero take about 45-50 seconds to turn on. My children have learned to be patient. For this reason, this is why Luka Hero is not practical for us to check a couple random words unless we are already reading a book with Luka.
  • Usually Luka reads each new page immediately.  Sometimes the response is delayed, so we need to move the book around.
  • JoJo Learning mentioned that Luka Hero seemed slower than Luka during their testing and personal experience with their children. There also may be speed differences with Luka’s functions in North America compared to Asia due to distance from the servers. So far, we have not experienced a significant difference in speed with our Luka and Luka Hero.

Accuracy

  • For book series with similar looking covers (eg, 米小圈 成语漫画) or those with sparse illustrations, sometimes Luka confuses which book it’s reading. To get around this, my kids have learned to show Luka an unrelated book, and then present the desired book. Or you can turn Luka on and off and try again.
  • Sometimes Luka can read only part of a series, such as only 2 of 3 Grace 说 books.
  • If a popular book has various versions (eg, The Giving Tree), Luka’s narration might be slightly different by chance depending on what book you have. However, most of our books match Luka’s narration word-for-word.

Music

  • The music wing defaults to English songs and nursery rhymes, but I wish that it defaulted to Chinese, which is the preferred language that I selected in the APP.
  • Currently, the song selection is limited to English and Chinese nursery rhymes. I wish there were kid-friendly pop, rock, and hip-hop music that would appeal to older kids and parents.
Chinese books that Luka Robot can read

What books can Luka read?

Despite the aformentioned shortcomings, I was very happy to see the overwhelming positive effects of Luka on my children.

From our home library, we found that Luka can read most of our Chinese picture books and some Chinese bridge/chapter books.

Below is an image of how to search for books Luka can read and how to switch languages.

Luka APP: How to switch Luka’s language for narration

I’ve linked the books we’ve read with Luka so far and will add more as we read more!

Luka Reading Robot APP
Some books we’ve read with Luka

Easy, short Chinese picture books

Longer, more in depth Chinese picture books including translated Western books

Luka robot reading Chinese Health Guides 影响孩子一生的健康书
Kids listening to Luka read Chinese Health Guides 影响孩子一生的健康书

Chinese science picture books

Picture books about Chinese culture

Luka scanning book cover of 米小圈 成语漫画: Chinese idioms
Luka scanning book cover of 米小圈 成语漫画: Chinese idioms

Chinese bridge/chapter books

At the time of this review, Luka reads a limited amount of Chinese bridge/chapter books due to the assumption that kids are reading independently by this stage. They also want to see if there is a demand for chapter books.

Here are some examples of advanced books that Luka robot can read:

You should also check out JoJo Learning’s website to see other Luka-compatible books.

Kids reading Lai Ma Chinese book with Luka Reading Robot
Luka can read these famous 賴馬 books in traditional Chinese: Chinese Zodiac, Tearful Princess, The Day I Get Up Early, and Brave Little Train. However, Luka mainly reads books from published in simplified Chinese.

Can Luka read traditional Chinese books?

At the time of this review, Luka cannot read many traditional Chinese books yet. The company wants to see that there would be enough demand this.

However, if the book cover is the same, Luka can read the story. The words may not be verbatim because simplified Chinese books have different publishers and translations.

What English books can Luka read?

As with Chinese books, Luka can read popular, best-selling English stories, such as People, Goodnight, Goodnight construction site, and Little Blue Truck.

If the cover of these English books are the same as the Chinese ones, then Luka can read English books in Chinese!

Can Luka read other languages?

According to the Luka AI website, “future upgrades may include German, Korean and Spanish”. However, I recommend considering Luka for what it can offer now, rather than what it might include in the future since it’s unclear how long the wait would be.

In summary, we highly recommend Luka Reading Robot!

Despite some imperfections, Luka has been an important part of our family. While Luka cannot replace human connection, believe that it can encourage kids to love reading, improve fluency, and boost literacy.

Our family strongly recommends Luka and Luka Hero as a birthday, holiday, and everyday gift for multilingual children, especially those learning Mandarin and simplified Chinese.

For families debating between Luka and Luka Hero, please consider your budget, the age and level of your child, and fluency of your family.

Where to buy Luka Reading Robot and Luka Hero

North America

In the United States, JoJo Learning is the only authorized distributor of Luka Reading Robot. This is a woman-owned Chinese bookstore with genuine, high quality customer service:

  • Contact JoJo Learning for customer support in English OR Mandarin Chinese
  • 14-day no-questions-asked return
  • 1 year warranty

JoJo Learning coupon code

Use promo code CHALK_LUKA for an additional $10 USD discount off your order with JoJo Learning!

Other countries

Luka is also available in other countries; please note the package, service, and accessories may vary from location to location. Click on the links below for authorized distributors (not affiliated with these stores):

If you’re outside of these regions, please contact JoJo Learning to inquire about international shipping!

Do you have questions about Luka Reading Robot?

Feel free to leave any questions, and I’ll try my best to help!

If you have Luka or Luka Hero, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comment section below! Which did you decide and why did you choose it?

More Chinese learning tips for kids and parents

JUMP START GUIDE TO TEACHING KIDS CHINESE

Free 7-Day Email Course Delivered to Your Inbox

CHALKACADEMY.COM

Happy reading and learning, friends!

96 Comments

    1. I found it very interesting and very keen to let my 19 months old baby to explore this. That will be great if I can win this contest to let my kid try out, I’m sure my circles of mummy friends would love to find out how this do wonder to my baby boy 😍

    1. Not yet, Susan, but, if you email [email protected] , we will add you to the list to be notified of any updates regarding Cantonese. Also, if you have any friends who are also interested in Cantonese, please have them write us too, since the more demand we can demonstrate to the the manufacturer, the better the chance they will add Cantonese books 🙂
      -Caelyn
      JoJo Learning Co-founder

  1. So… what is Luka really doing? recording all the books but also your children’s faces? who Own’s Luka and what is the privacy policy?

  2. Hi! I love your site and have been reading it every night since I discovered it a week or so ago. My two boys, 3 and 5 are just starting out on Chinese, and neither my husband or I are fluent. Like most boys, they love trains, airplanes, fire trucks, construction vehicles etc. What were the books you show in the pictures above that your son was reading? I think there was a train, airplane, and excavator?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to write and share your experience! My son is obsessed with the vehicle books in the photos because they are so realistic! The books are part of the 第一次发现丛书 series, which covers a variety of topics. I bought it from Taobao a couple years ago and will update this comment when we get a chance to review the set!

  3. We are a non native Chinese speaking family and our children are learning Chinese, so this incredible for a family like ours. Thanks

  4. We would ❤️❤️❤️ LOVE Luka because we need a lot more Mandarin conversations and stories in my house for both kids and adults (my husband would love to speak it but can’t whereas my vocabulary is limited to intermediate level). Thanks for the awesome work you do 😊. We have enjoyed learning about your resources.

  5. My daughter is just learning Chinese at 3, so this would be great for her. I speak both Cantonese and mandarin (badly) so she’d really benefit from something like this.

  6. I will love to win this for my daughter. Since my Chinese is not that great anymore. This can help me relearn and help teach my daughter at the same time.

  7. This would be an awesome addition for our family. My husband is fluent but only able to read a limited number of characters. I am trying to learn alongside of our kids, but when it comes to storytime my Mandarin is very slow and broken which often results in our 3 year old and 4 year old losing interest before we get to the end of the story.

  8. We are based in uk and my husband is Chinese but can’t speak. Hence both my kids can’t speak properly. I love this to help them!

  9. We would love Luka to help us out learning Chinese. We are non native speakers. My daughter is 4 and I’m trying to learn with her. Any tool that would help us would be so helpful!

  10. This would be great to help me and the kids read Chinese books! Then I wouldn’t have to keep looking up words as we read.

  11. Would love one to make sure my children are getting more mandarin input!! Especially while I am doing household tasks and am not sitting with them reading

  12. I would love to win the Luka Reading Robot as my kids are learning a Mandarin but I don’t speak it and am not sure how to help them. This sounds like it would be very useful in encouraging them to learn more on their own outside of class. Thanks also for your blog and helpful tips!

  13. My husband is a non-native fluent Chinese speaker, I would love for him to pass it down our daughter. I am part Chinese but can’t speak and it would help me be able to learn with my daughter.

  14. I am a non native Chinese speaker, and I would love to have more resources like Luka to help me teach my wife and daughter. My goal is to have our family speaking and reading in Chinese. Luka is a fantastic invention to support us with our Chinese reading.

  15. We already have one and it’s amazing technology. The children talk to LUKA as though it were a pet and love to listen to LUKA tell stories. Sometimes they end up fighting over Luka. I would love to have two so that the children can have a productive time with their own Lukas while I do housework. Luka can be good babysitter.

  16. As a non-native speaker, I have difficulty reading and speaking to my child in Mandarin. Having Luka would make the important task of reading much more approachable for us and also help us to learn accurate pronunciation at the same time.

  17. I have 3 kids under 5 and raising them bilingual in a predominantly English speaking country hard. This would be so awesome so the kids can do a bit of independent Chinese reading on their own sometimes. It would really make the kids (and my) Christmas

    1. We have a growing collection of chinese books at home but so little time on my part to help read to them. Having Luka will be so helpful! Luka can help my kids read and I don’t have to rush to finish my chores.

  18. I grew up in a multi-languages country. I personally speak/write 4 languages fluently and definitely see the benefits of it. My oldest child is currently in a Chinese Immersion program school. I speak mostly mandarin with her; but as a full-time working mom, with two other younger kids, I find it challenging to find time to read with my kids. I really hope this Luka would be a game changer for our family. I am so looking forward to get a Luka. Thanks Betty for introducing this to us!

  19. This would be a great gift for my 2
    preschoolers age 4 and 5. They love reading mandarin words. They love to attend mandarin lesson in school. Mummy isn’t a native mandarin speaker. Therefore, unable to teach them well. Hope they can own Luka to encourage them to continue this reading habit.

  20. I’d love to use this so my kids can hear more native Mandarin accents. Wish it would read in Cantonese too and that it also supported both traditional and simplified Chinese

  21. Luka sounds amazing! I am a Cantonese speaker looking to introduce Mandarin to my kid, and this would be perfect for her to take the leap from Cantonese to Mandarin. It would even help me improve my speaking.Thanks for introducing this cute Luka robot to us!

  22. Wow I love that this could help my son to read anytime at his own pace! He’s been interested in Chinese language recently and I hope this could spur his interests even more and allow him to read and learn at his own pace.

  23. This seems like a great way to introduce my kids to Mandarin, and I’m hopeful that it will soon read in Cantonese with traditional Chinese as well to help my kids practice and learn more!

  24. My young daughter is a Mandarin immersion program, and this will allow us to support her in her studies.

  25. I would love this for my kids and reinforce what I have been trying to teach them. I am always looking for new ways to motivate them and have them learn independently. Thank you for the opportunity.

  26. Me and my hubby know 3 language and few different Chinese dialect. However, we have difficulty to just teach the kid bilingual, i.e. Chinese & English. Hope to get this Luka to facilitate the kid in their bilingual learning. Thanks!

  27. The Luka is such a great idea. I’m glad there is finally a product out there that can help supplement what I am doing with my kids.

  28. Luka would be an amazing tool to help our family learn Chinese! I’ve bought boxes and boxes of books back from Taiwan and from Taobao (from the suggestions on your blog!) in the hopes of being able to eventually read them all one day. Would love a Luka!

  29. Definitely interested in Luka for my kids and my nieces! Just as you mentioned the little ones sometimes have to wait to be read to if we’re busy. This would be a great supplement!

  30. I would love this for my 7 year old daughter who is in her 2nd year of a mandarin immersion program. She is a very smart girl and I know she can do it but she is struggling, mostly because her teacher unfortunately keeps telling her she’s not trying hard enough, so she is getting discouraged because she is trying and she keeps hearing that she’s not. Her class is mostly Chinese and no one we know speaks Chinese so it is very hard to give her the extra help she needs. We really wanted to give her this opportunity to learn the Chinese culture and language but unfortunately have no been able to find the support needed.

  31. We would love to win. My 2 kids need more books in Chinese and as a working mom, it‘s hard to speak Mandarin to them all the time.

  32. Luka looks amazing! My daughter is learning Chinese and there are no native speakers in our home or community, so listening to audiobooks is a key part of her learning. We don’t like to do a lot of screen time, so Luka with paper books would be a great option! I am also terrible at looking up books in our new Chinese and growing library, so this would really help this clueless momma out a lot!

  33. Sometimes I struggle a lot in reading MAndarin books, hence the pausing here and there trying to figure the word really affect the reading momentum! Luka will help a lot!

  34. Luka sounds like an excellent tool to have that enables us to incorporate Chinese into our kids daily lives!!

  35. I would love to win the Luka Robot for my 5 year old daughter. We have recently expanded our Chinese library but I’m not always there to read to my daughter. Luka will definitely encourage and help my daughter to read.

    Thank you so much.

  36. We try hard to teach our kids some Chinese so they’d a least be able to have a chat with their grandparents. Luka sounds like a funny, motivating tool for them.

  37. We would LOVE to have Luka as I don’t speak Mandarin & my son is in a Mandarin Immersion School and loves books. Also, Luka is adorable and we LOVE owls! My son’s room has been decorated with owls since he was born. 😊

  38. I need Luka because I have 3 children aged 8, 6 and 3 and it is so hard to allocate enough time to read Chinese books with each child. Although we share many moments of them listening to me reading books together, I also love to read to each child books that are at their level. Chinese is beautiful and I hope the children will learn to love the language.

  39. We would love to win this item. This is a game changer and definitely will help my son and husband to learn and read Chinese.

    1. As a Cantonese and English household (OPOL), it has been a struggle to find a way to introduce Mandarin as a 3rd language in our daily lives. It would be amazing if the Luka owl could be our family’s 3rd language mentor and provide a regular source of correctly pronounced and interactive Mandarin to keep this 3rd language fun and relevant.

  40. I love your review of this amazing tool! I have been learning Mandarin along with my 4 & 5 year old but now that my 5 year old is in Mandarin immersion kindergarten she has far surpassed my Chinese speaking abilities. My hubby is a native speaker but is a hard working physician & isn’t home enough to read to the kids every day. This would be so awesome to have for my kids (and myself!) to keep up with hearing a native speaker every day. Thanks again for another awesome post Betty! 🙂

  41. Hi. I am always thankful for your posts and it truly has helped me teach my kids Mandarin, even though I am not fluent. We would benefit with Luka to get the native speaker like reading of books my kids love. I currently rely on youtube recordings of books, as my own reading is not fluent enough to hold my children’s attention.

    1. Hi Marini, we generally don’t use the robot to read English books, so I’m not sure. On 2 occasions, we did hear part of a book in English, and the narration was clear and accurate. However, JoJo Learning tried Luka with more books and share their experience in their review (linked here). Hope that helps!

  42. Coming from a country which starting to learn Chinese recently , this would be a great learning way for my kids

  43. I feel like an embarrassment to my heritage with my poor pronunciation. With Luka, I can relearn Chinese along with my kids. This would be a great help to our Chinese language journey. Please let us win this one!

  44. We would very much love to win Luka. My kids are homeschooled and this would help our conversation skills a lot. I believe that confidence is a major factor that we need to improve on. Listening and learning Chinese together with Luka will build up on how we use our Chinese. Most of all, the kids would be very excited with Luka and will look forward to our Chinese lessons. Learning should be fun. We chose to home educate for now to get the kids be interested in gaining knowledge and our family always reminds us of the importance of Chinese. I can’t wait for the kids to be able to converse with their elders in Chinese fluently, to show respect, honor and love. We hope and pray we win cute Luka!

  45. As a Cantonese and English household (OPOL), it has been a struggle to find a way to introduce Mandarin as a 3rd language in our daily lives. It would be amazing if the Luka owl could be our family’s 3rd language mentor and provide a regular source of correctly pronounced and interactive Mandarin to keep this 3rd language fun and relevant.

  46. I’ve been working in the edutech field for the past eight years (languages learning), and the Luka owl is one of the first AI robot that is great in Chinese reading! My 7 year old daughter is obliged to learn German, English, and we live in a country with limited resources to Chinese (including meeting people who can speak in Mandarin). With the Luka owl, it will help her to read Chinese books, providing the correct pronunciation, fun and keep her motivations to learn Chinese Mandarin more interactively and effectively. I have a community of 30,000+ combined on my social media, and I would share with them this fantastic edutech robot if I will win this and having this robot on my Youtube channel.

  47. As the global industry 4.0 is developing now, our new generation is getting smarter and smarter, they can learn from different kind of method from multimedia such as Youtube or Internet or books. After i become a mom i found out that a small kid can be addicted to Ipad or Iphone because of the moving visual which can lead to negative emotions and sometimes can make the children lack of imagination. As a mom of two with a 3 years daughter old and a 6 months son i prefer use books to let them learn . I read books to my girl everyday since she was 4 months old and today she mega loves in reading. She wants me to read almost all the books from shelf everyday ( with average 30 books daily ), i dont have good pronouncation like a native speakers so i hope with Luka it can help me to teach them the proper way.

  48. I could use Luca for my kids. Seriously. Im a typical Chinese Malaysian residing in a foreign country who cant speak Mandarin. This tool would enable my family and I to catch up with the rest of the Asia. Thanks for the opportunity.

  49. This is amazing! My husband is fluent but I don’t speak Mandarin. I would love this for my little guy to have a reading companion when he’s out of town.

  50. This sounds like a great way to increase Chinese exposure for my 2yo daughter. My husband does not speak Chinese and so I am the only source of Chinese for her. I often think about how to overcome the challenge of exposure as she gets older and older and am afraid she will no longer speak Chinese after starting school because her community is English speaking. This little robot would be a huge assist for me and hopefully sustain her interest in reading Chinese books!

  51. Hello Betty,

    I’m so glad you reviewed Luka as I was evaluating to get either a Luka or a Reading Cow (Niu Ting Ting) by a different manufacturer. Reading cow is slightly cheaper but Luka seems to have greater resources since it was in the market much earlier. I think I’m gonna go with Luka. (But like you said there are so many in the Luka family, there is also the newest one called Luka Hero S, it is so hard to chose 🙂

    It would be awesome to see Luka read more Traditional Chinese books in the future. I want my kid to be able to read and write in Traditional Chinese since it keeps the original forms and the beauty of how these words have evolved over the course of a thousand years.

    Thanks Betty!

    1. Hi Annie! Thank you for taking the time to write! I peeked at Reading Cow but didn’t love the screen. Does Reading Cow recognize traditional Chinese books or only simplified? I heard that Luka Hero is geared for families in China who want to learn English and less ideal for us overseas learners.

      I do hope to see Luka read more traditional Chinese books, too! One mom shared a tip that she prints off a picture of a simplified Chinese cover for Luka to recognize and then Luka can “read” her traditional Chinese books. The caveat is that some of the words won’t be the same due to different publishers. Thought I’d share the idea!

  52. I have a 10 and 12 yr old learning Mandarin in dual immersion (since Kinder) and Chinese School (on Saturday). I saw the list of books listed above but am unsure whether these are in line with the older advanced levels. Neither my husband or I speak Mandarin. We would also love if Luka’s capabilities included traditional characters as well as Cantonese.

    1. Hi Grace! Thanks for your question. Other than a the timeless classic picture books, I think your children might be too old for most Luka-compatible books. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that more advanced materials will be added to their cloud library in the future!

  53. Hi Betty.
    I’m Jay Yee , a Malaysian Chinese .
    You have done a remarkable great job to teach children on how to learn Mandarin in such a fun and creative ways. It is really helpful for parent with bilingual speaking families.
    May I share your link and website to all friends in my facebook page ?
    Thank you very much .

    1. Hi Jay! Thank you for taking the time for write this kind message! I’m so glad to hear that the information is helpful! Feel free to share any link that you think would be useful for your friends! 🙂

  54. Hi Betty, Thanks so much for all the advice and resources you have given me. Do you know, can you lock the language function to Chinese only? I am thinking about purchasing Luka, but I wonder if the kids will use it for reading English only…

    1. Hi! Glad to hear the resources have been helpful! I don’t think there is a way to lock the language to only Chinese, but Luka can only speak one language at a time. My kids never use it for English because I set that rule! 🙂

  55. I was wondering – can the Luka take an english book (that is has the chinese version of) and read it in chinese even though the book is in english ?

    I only speak cantonese, and we only have traditional books in our house – has anything been developed for this yet in terms of add on software?

    1. Hi Cindy! Sorry for just seeing your message now! Yes, Luka can narrate certain English books as well as traditional Chinese books in Mandarin Chinese if the illustrations are the same as the simplified Chinese version in Luka’s database. For example, we only have Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site in English, but I can switch the language and have Luka read it in Chinese. Same with our People by Peter Spier book – we only have the English version, and Luka can read this in Mandarin! Regarding traditional Chinese books, Taiwanese and Hong Kong publishers might have different translations that Simplified Chinese versions, so the narration might not be word for word. Hope that helps!

  56. Our girls are loving our Luka!
    How do you know if Luka will read a book? I have a huge cart on China Sprout but I’m worried Luka won’t read them? (I know I can buy from JoJo and I have a cart there too!) JoJo has a limited selection.
    Thank you!
    Kim

  57. Hi, do you have any insights regarding the differences between Luca Hero and Luca Hero S? I saw best being offered on JD and can’t quite figure out whether it’s worth the extra cost with S version. Thanks!

    1. Hi Tiffany, sorry for just seeing your message now. I don’t have personal experience with Luka Hero S, but I recently updated this review with photos of our Luka Hero. After having it for a few months, my kids rarely use the extra point-to-read function and mainly use it like a regular Luka.

  58. Hi Betty, just realized u updated your post. We bought our Luka Hero from Asia and my kids are loving it!

    In fact, I enquired with Jojolearning on Luka Hero sometime in August and they said they are not carrying it due to the bad experience they had.

    Is there a difference in the Luka Hero that is now available vs the one that I bought from JD?

    1. Hi Alicia! I’m so glad to hear that your family is loving Luka Hero! It’s helpful to hear about your experience. We heard the same from JoJo Learning, but the other families who tested Hero felt the benefits of point-to-read outweighed any downsides. I have updated the post with our thoughts about the pros and cons above; we may be in the minority but currently prefer the regular Luka. As for other differences, the version in the US does not come with the purple mat, flashcards, and English books. I’m not sure if JD has a warranty & customer support, but those are part of the JoJo Luka package.

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