Reading to children has proven to be of great importance as it helps not only in their cognitive development process but also in their language acquisition and literacy skills. For kids learning foreign languages, books about the culture with the target language can help further language acquisition and inspire children to learn more, since children will learn knowledge related to the language whilst also getting familiar with the cultural background. If you read books about Chinese culture to your kids, they will get to know more about the local people and their tradition, which in turn will also help them to understand Mandarin Chinese better. Here are some fun books for you to choose from!
Dim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin
In the book, a child describes the various dim sums she and her family enjoyed during a visit to a restaurant in Chinatown. According to the Chinese tradition, they share their food with each other so that everyone gets a bit of everything. The book is right for young children as it celebrates a cultural custom and a universal favorite activity, eating! It’s easy to get obsessed with the idea of going to a restaurant and picking out your own “little” dishes of food. In addition, the illustrations in the book are bright, bold, and beautiful! Perfect for children. Dim Sum for Everyone was written by Grace Lin and was published on January 15, 2003.
Goldy Luck and the three pandas by Natasha Yim, Grace Zong
This is a favorite story set in a bustling contemporary Chinatown. It’s Chinese New Year day, Goldy Luck’s mother asks her to take a plate of turnip cakes to the neighbors. The Chans aren’t home, but that doesn’t stop Goldy from trying out their rice porridge, their chairs, and their beds—with disastrous results. In this funny and festive retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the authors introduce a plucky girl who takes responsibility for her actions and makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!), just in time for Chinese New Year.
It also shows the days of Chinese New Year and how to make turnip cake! Goldy Luck and the three pandas was written by Natasha Yim, illustrated by Grace Zong, and was published on January 7, 2014.
Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year lift-the-flap book by Joan Holus
This book also introduces the readers the customs of Chinese New Year celebration including the special festival food, the gift of money tucked into red envelopes from Grandma and Grandpa for good luck, shopping for flowers, fireworks, and parades with dramatic dragon puppets. The bouncy, rhyming text and large flaps on sturdy pages make the book perfect and interesting for young children. Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year lift-the-flap book was written by Joan Holus and illustrated by Benrei Huang.
Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Joey Chou
In this book, Ruby’s grandmother is unable to come for the Chinese New Year but Ruby is determined to deliver her a special gift (drawing) to her regardless the obstacles between them. Animals like the strong Ox, the clever Rat etc. from the Chinese zodiac help the little girl to achieve her dream. This picture book celebrates the Chinese New Year and focuses on the Chinese zodiac animals. Ruby’s Chinese New Year was written by Vickie Lee and illustrated by Joey Chou.
Chinese and English Nursery Rhymes: Share and Sing in Two Language by Faye-Lynn Wu
This awesome book is a multicultural children’s book that teaches classic fairy tales in both English and Mandarin Chinese. An innovative collection of favorite rhymes are put in pairs in both Chinese and English: One from Chinese and the next in English to show that kids all over the world love the same thing.
The rhymes and songs highlighted in the book include:
- “Muffin Man”
- “Happy Birthday to You”
- “I See the Moon”
- “As I Was Going Along”
- “Hickory Dickory Dock”
- And many more…