Chinese Language and Culture Kit Book List

Chinese Mandarin Language and Culture Kit

Ann’s Seed. Wang, Zao Zoa. Huang, Li. Ill. Haiyan Books, 2015. ISBN: 9787535062888.
This is the story of three little monks, each given a very old lotus seed to care for. The first one planted his seed in winter, the second planted his seed in a pot of good soil and kept it in his house, the third one waited for warm weather and planted his seed near a pond. Only Ann’s seed grows because he was patient and followed the laws of nature. A “character formation” book about waiting. Written in Mandarin.

Beyond the Great Mountains: A Visual Poem about China. Young, Ed. Chronicle, 2005. ISBN: 9780811843430.
Ed Young’s spare prose, describes the beautiful and mystical land that he so clearly loves. The unique format and gorgeous paper-collage illustrations, highlighted with Chinese characters, combine to convey the many facets of China to form a poetic picture of the land’s grace, depth, and majesty. Author’s note and a list of the Chinese characters then and now.

Big-Head Son and Small-Head Father. Chunhua, Zheng. Quangen, Wang. Dolphin Book Publishers, 2014. ISBN: 9787511021946.
From a child’s point of view, the writer connects a series of interesting stories with children’s daily life and rich imagination. The stories map out the common growth and happiness of adults and children through the daily life of the big head son, the small father and the apron mother. This book is a part of the Best Chinese Children’s Literature series, and has also been made into a cartoon series.

Boy Dumplings: A Tasty Chinese Tale. Compestine, Ying Chang. Yamaski, James, Ill. Immedium, 2016. ISBN: 9781597021197.
In long ago China, a ghost can’t wait to sink his teeth into his next meal. Luckily, he finds a plump boy! But can the child think fast enough to avoid becoming a midnight snack? Maybe so, if the ghost tries cooking the tricky recipe for boy dumplings. A classic trickster tale complete with a gullible ghost. Dual-language: English and Chinese.

Cai Lun, The Creator of Paper. Jian, Li. Shanghai Press, 2016. ISBN: 9781602209961.
Cai Lun began serving the Emperor at the age of 15 and was soon promoted to be an attending official in charge of documentation. At that time, documents were written either on tablets of bamboo strips or on silk. Bamboo strips were heavy and silk were expensive. The Emperor was very unhappy, so Cai Lun was determined to find another material that would be good for writing. He began his experiments with all the cheap natural material that he could find – dry grass, bark, fishnet, and old rope. – and after several attempts, successfully invented “paper.” In English and Chinese and translated by Yijin Wert.

China: A History. Bardoe, Cheryl. Abrams, 2019. ISBN: 9728141921212.
Discover the history of one of the world’s most influential civilizations. Based on the Cyrus Tang Hall of China exhibit at The Field Museum, China: A History traces the 7,000-year story of this diverse land. Full-color maps, photos, and illustrations of the people, landscape, artifacts, and rare objects bring the history of this nation to life! Young readers learn about prehistoric China, follow the reign of emperors and dynasties, and come to understand how China became the world power that it is today. The book also explores the role of children and women in everyday life as well as how religion, politics, and economics shaped the deep traditions and dynamic changes of modern China.

Chinese and English Nursery Rhymes. Wu, Faye-Lynn. Dutcher, Kieren, Ill. Tuttle, 2010. ISBN: 9780804840941.
This book presents forty illustrated verses in both Chinese and English in a side-by-side format that encourages fun Mandarin Chinese language learning. This inspiring collection of favorite rhymes shows how the simple pleasures of childhood are universal across the globe. Native speakers perform each rhyme in Chinese and English on an accompanying audio CD.

Chinese Fables: The Dragon Slayer and other Timeless Tales of Wisdom. Nunes, Shiho S. Tay-Audouard, Kak-Kee, Ill. Tuttle, 2013. ISBN: 9780804841528.
For thousands of years, Chinese storytellers have delighted listeners with stories about the value of virtues like honesty, respect, courage and self-reliance. Chinese Fables collects nineteen of these tales, some of them dating back to the third century BCE, and retells them in contemporary English. Each of these stories offers a nugget of ancient folk wisdom and shares aspects of Chinese culture and lore, and although the lessons are universal, the wit and flavor are uniquely Chinese.

Chinese Mythology: Stories of Creation and Invention. Helft, Claude. Chen, Jaing Hong, Ill. Enchanted Lion, 2007. ISBN: 9781592700745.
Eight creation myths explain how the world was created and how several parts of Chinese life came to be.

Chinese Thought of It: Amazing Inventions and Innovations. Ye, Ting-Xing. Annick Press, 2009. ISBN: 9781554511952.
Acupuncture, gunpowder and the secrets to spinning silk are innovations that we have come to associate with China. But did you know that the Chinese also invented the umbrella? And toilet paper, initially made from rice straw clumped together, was first used in China! Through the ages, the Chinese have used the resources available to them to improve their lives.

Confucius: The Golden Rule. Freedman, Russell. Clément, Frédéric, Ill. Scholastic, 2002. ISBN: 9780439139571.
This book tells of the remarkable life and far-reaching influence of this famous Chinese philosopher. Born in China in 551 B. C., Confucius rose from poverty to the heights of his country’s ruling class. But then he quit his high post for the life of an itinerant philosopher. His teachings on education and government, the definition of nobility, the equality of man and the right way and purpose of living, ideas that eventually spread to the West and influenced the great thinkers of the Enlightenment. And five centuries before Christ, Confucius set forth his own Golden Rule: “Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself.”

Everyday Life through Chinese Peasant Art. Morrissey, Tricia. Mak, Ding Sang, Ill. Global Directions/Things Asian Press, 2008. ISBN: 9781934159019.
Everyday Life introduces children to the vibrant world created by Shanghai’s Jinshan artists. From a watermelon harvest to an autumn festival to a child’s winter game, vivid, friendly peasant art brings everyday life in rural China into our lives. Simple, rhythmic poems, presented in English, Chinese and Pinyin, beautifully accent each painting.

Five Chinese Brothers. Bishop, Claire Huchet. Wiese, Kurt, Ill. Puffin, 1996. ISBN: 9780698113572.
The classic story about five clever brothers, each with a different extraordinary ability, is a retelling of the Chinese folktale, Ten Brothers. The illustrations in this book are accused of promoting stereotypes and are seen as offensive due to the overly-slanted eyes, yellow faces, and the treatment of all Chinese as looking the same. Originally published in 1938.

Good Morning China. Ye, Hu Yong. Roaring Brook Press, 2007. ISBN: 9781596432406.
Playing, exercising, and resting under a lotus tree: the things happening in an ordinary park on an ordinary morning. Children are playing, an artist is painting, and people are exercising and meditating. Each page in this lovely picture book presents a snapshot, and a final foldout spread collects them all to give a panorama of daily life in China.

I Pick Up. Beijing Health Education Association. China Population Press, 2015. ISBN: 9787510131967.
Learn how to be good friend to your dog, and learn how to take care of him. This is a part of a health book series and is written in Mandarin. Also translated as I and Picca Pick-up.

Is It Morning? Mao, Xaio. Relay Publishing Co. 2014. ISBN: 9787544836302.
It’s little rooster’s first time to crow and he is waiting for the sun to come up. He is very nervous, and throughout the night he sees the lights of the fireflies, fireworks, a shooting star, headlights of a car. Finally the sun comes up, but now he is fast asleep. Written in Mandarin with two pages of translation at the back of the book.

Granny Mian Couldn’t Sleep. Liao, Xiaoqin. Chengliang, Zhu, Ill. Tomorrow Publishing House, 2015. ISBN: 9787533282110.
Granny cannot sleep, so she gets up again and again. She tries everything… counting sheep, tiding the house, fastening the latch, feeding the animals… but she seems worried. She is finally able to fall asleep when Grandpa arrives home safely. Silent love and inner anxiety are all presented in the course of waiting. Written in Mandarin. (Title also translated as Granny Cotton Can’t Sleep.)

Kindergarten. True Fruit Enlightenment. China Population Press, 2013. ISBN: 9787510131257.
The older brother is telling his younger sibling about going to kindergarten. He will have a gentle teacher, and many interesting things will happen throughout the day. Written in Mandarin, this is a part of an early reader series.

Lang Lang: Playing with Flying Keys. Delacorte, 2008. ISBN: 9780385735780.
He started learning to play the piano when he was three years old in Shenyang, China. In this engrossing life story, Lang Lang not only recounts the difficult, often thrilling, events of his early days, but also shares his perspective on his rapidly changing homeland. He thoughtfully explores the differences between East and West, especially in the realm of classical music and cultural life. Today he is one of the world’s most outstanding pianists.

Legend of the Chinese Dragon. Sellier, Marie. Louis Catherine, Ill., Fei, Wang, Ill. NorthSouth Books, 2007. ISBN: 9780735821521.
In ancient China, the different tribes lived under the protection of benevolent spirits that took the form of animals. But, as the tribes grew envious of each other they began to fight amongst themselves in the names of their spirits. The children decided to declare a war on war by creating a creature that combined the best of all the spirits and would protect all the people. To this day, the dragon is a symbol of peace and plays an especially important role in the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Written in English and Mandarin and translated by Sibylle Kazeroid. CD included.

Little Eagle. Hong, Chen Jiang. Enchanted Lion Books, 2007. ISBN: 9781592700714
Adopted as a baby by the reclusive Master Yang, Little Eagle discovers that the old man practices Eagle boxing (a type of Kung Fu). After Master Yang realizes the boy has been spying on him, he reluctantly agrees to train him in both body and spirit: “To sharpen his eyes, he made himself count the stones on the hill, the grains of rice on his mat… To train his ears, he listened to the minute vibrations of a suspended coin.” Translated from Mandarin by Claudia Zoe Bedrick.

Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing. Yue, Guo, Farrow, Clare. Cann, Helen, Ill. Barefoot Books, 2008. ISBN: 9781846861147.
Based on Guo’s childhood, this is a sensitively written, real-life story about a boy called Little Leap Forward, growing up in the hutongs of Beijing in the 1960’s, at the time of the Cultural Revolution. Little Leap offers children an intimate and immediate account of a child’s experiences as Mao Tse Tung’s Great Leap Forward policy tightens its grip on China.

Little Wen: What is the Chinese Saying for this One? Wang, Ruowen. Xu, Wei, Ill. Kevin & Robin Books, 2007. ISBN: 9780373879933.
Wen is a little girl who grew up in China, a country with traditional values. The world is full of wonders and Wen has a curious mind and a passion to explore. But at the time of this story, China did not encourage girls to be inquisitive and they were expected to stay within the rigid social expectations, Wen does not accept these norms, and decides to explore and make room for her to grow. Based on the author’s childhood experience.

Liu and the Bird: A Journey in Chinese Calligraphy. Louis, Catherine. NorthSouth Books, 2006. ISBN: 9780735822160.
A bird guides a small Chinese girl on a journey to visit her grandfather after he summons her in her dream. She passes through a traditional Chinese landscape – river, forest, field, mountain, and bamboo grove – to find the man waiting for her to join him in drawing. The story’s conclusion is inspired by the traditional Chinese belief that pictures may come to life. The events of Liu’s journey serve the purpose of introducing many Chinese characters. In English and Mandarin.

Lon Po Po. Young, Ed. Puffin Books, 1996. ISBN: 9780698113824.
This version of the Red Riding Hood story features three daughters left at home when their mother goes to visit their grandmother. Lon Po Po, the Granny Wolf, pretends to be the girls’ grandmother, until clever Shang, the eldest daughter, suspects the greedy wolf’s real identity. Tempting him with ginkgo nuts, the girls pull him in a basket to the top of the tree in which they are hiding, They then let go of the rope and the wolf falls to his death.

Magic Horse of Han Gan. Hong, Chen Jiang. Enchanted Lion Books, 2006. ISBN: 9781592700639.
Well-known-painter Hong introduces Han Gan, a ninth-century Chinese artist, in this beautifully illustrated, picture-book fantasy. Young Han Gan, who loves to draw, grows up to gain wide recognition for his original style and for his sole subject: horses that are always tethered: “My horses are so alive they might leap right off the paper.” A warrior challenges his claim, commissioning a steed that will spring to life. Han Gan meets the challenge, but his magnificent creation so abhors war’s violence that it races back to the two-dimensional world of painting.

Mao and Me. Hong, Chen Jiang. Enchanted Lion Books, 2008. ISBN: 9781592700790.
When the Cultural Revolution began, the author was a three-year-old living in a northern city. Cared for by his grandparents, he and his two sisters led a quiet, orderly life. One day he heard on the radio that Mao had declared a Cultural Revolution, and life began to change. The text tells a straightforward story of the years between 1966 and 1976, while the illustrations shed a strong light on these years through the eyes of one child.

Maples in the Mist: Poems for Children from the Tang Dynasty. Ho, Minfong. Tseng, Jean and Tseng, Mou-Sien, Ill. Lothrop, 1996. ISBN: 9780688120443.
The Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) is often referred to as the Golden Age of China. Poems from that era are widely considered the finest classical poems in China’s 2000-year history. Translator Minfong Ho has assembled a collection of simple poems that were traditionally taught to Chinese children.

Meet the Sheep. Yimei, Wang. Jiangsu Children’s Book Press, 2015. ISBN: 9787534689604.
This is the story of an amazing sheep that takes a young child on an adventure through the city and countryside. Written in Chinese.

Moonbeams, Dumplings and Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes. Simonds, Nina & Swartz, Leslie. So, Meilo, Ill. HMH Books, 2002. ISBN: 9780152019839.
This book features five holidays: Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival, Qing Ming, the Dragon Boat Festival, and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Each section begins with a one-page description of the history and customs of the festival and is followed by a story, recipes, crafts, and games.

My Cousin is Coming. Wenjun, Qin, Quangen, Wang. Dolphin Books, 2013. ISBN: 9787511012593.
This is a collection of fairytales and stories for Chinese children, which illustrate relationships between love and happiness, reality and fantasy, humans and nature. In these works every child will find his/her own story, which will tell them how to face difficulties, how to hold on to their dreams, and how to face trouble as they grow up. Through reading these witty and vibrant stories, you will understand Chinese children and their world of fantasy. Best Chinese Children’s Literature series.

My Little Book of Chinese Words. Louis, Catherine, Bo, Shi, Ill. NorthSouth Books, 2008. ISBN: 9780735821743.
This picture book focuses on the visual aspect of Chinese characters. Words are introduced with the modern Chinese character and a smaller ancient character in the upper left corner of the page. On the right, a full-page illustration is rendered in a way that echoes the strokes of the character. Gem-like linocuts combine with graceful calligraphy provide a fascinating introduction to Chinese writing.

Mysterious Eyes. Bo, Bing. Jiangsu Children’s Press, 2015. ISBN: 9787534689567.
This philosophical story about a disabled boy and a blind girl who lived on the mountain and longed to see the world on the other side. In order to realize his wish, the boy made a kite and drew his eyes on it. The Magic Kite flew into the sky, and over the mountain. Then the eyes of the girl saw the sun, sky, and field. The boy also, in his dream, saw the other side of the mountain. Written in Mandarin and sometimes translated as Secret Eyes.

New Bilingual Visual Dictionary in Chinese and English. Turhan, Sedat. Milet Publishing, 2017. ISBN: 9781785088834.
This dictionary provides an entertaining way for children to learn words in two languages. The dictionary features useful, everyday words that will help learners to build their vocabulary. The words are grouped by subject so children can focus on one set of related words at a time. The text is large and easy to read, and the illustrations are colorful, detailed and highly realistic.

New Year’s Reunion: A Chinese Story. Li-Qiong, Yu. Cheng-Liang, Zhu, Ill. Candlewick, 2013. ISBN: 9780763667481.
Maomao’s father is a Chinese construction worker “in faraway places” who comes home once a year at Chinese New Year. She describes what happens during his brief stay, from gifts and a fresh haircut to home repairs and preparation of sticky rice balls. When she loses her lucky coin, the inconsolable Maomao can think of nothing else until it reappears just before her father’s departure. This is an excellent introduction to the Chinese New Year as it is celebrated in China and also a poignant and thoughtful examination of the joys and sorrows of families living apart.

New Year’s Reunion. Li-Qiong, Yu. Cheng-Liang, Zhu, Ill. Tomorrow Publishing House, 2008. ISBN: 9787533255879.
Maomao’s father is a Chinese construction worker “in faraway places” who comes home once a year at Chinese New Year. She describes what happens during his brief stay, from gifts and a fresh haircut to home repairs and preparation of sticky rice balls. When she loses her lucky coin, the inconsolable Maomao can think of nothing else until it reappears just before her father’s departure. This is an excellent introduction to the Chinese New Year as it is celebrated in China and also a poignant and thoughtful examination of the joys and sorrows of families living apart. Written in Mandarin.

Nian Monster. Wang, Adrea, Chau, Alina, Ill. Whitman, 2016. ISBN: 9780807556429.
Tong Tong! The legendary Nian monster has returned at Chinese New Year. With horns, scales, and wide, wicked jaws, Nian is intent on devouring Shanghai, starting with Xingling! The old tricks to keep him away don’t work on Nian anymore, but Xingling is clever. Will her quick thinking be enough to save the city from the Nian Monster?

Panda Kindergarten. Ryder, Joanne. Feng, Katherine, Photographer. HarperCollins, 2009. ISBN: 9780060578503.
School is in session! But this is no ordinary kindergarten class. Meet sixteen young giant panda cubs at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda at the Wolong Nature Preserve. The cubs are raised together from infancy in a protected setting, where they grow strong. Under the watchful eyes of the scientists and workers, the cubs learn skills that will help prepare them to be released into the wild.

Pet Dragon: A Story about Adventure, Friendship, and Chinese Characters. Niemann, Christoph. Greenwillow Books, 2008. ISBN: 9780061577765.
Thirty-three Chinese characters are introduced in this book about Lin, a young Chinese girl, who receives a baby dragon for a gift. The two of them play together until they accidentally break a vase. Lin’s father is so angry that he insists the little creature be caged. The dragon escapes, and Lin goes to look for it. With the help of an old woman, she finds it living with the other dragons in the clouds. When the dragon returns Lin to her home, her father agrees that they can visit often.

Recognize Yourself. True Fruit Enlightenment. China Population Press, 2015. ISBN: 9787510131257.
Baby is growing up and learning about herself and her environment. She explores parts of her body, places to play, foods, animals and different ways to exercise. Written in Mandarin, this is a part of an early reader series.

Revolution is Not a Dinner Party. Compestine, Ying Chang. Square Fish, 2007. ISBN: 9780805082074.
Inspired by Compestine’s own experience, this vivid novel tells the absorbing story of Ling, a Chinese girl who grows up in Wuhan during the Cultural Revolution. For four years, 1972-1976, Ling endures hardship and persecution, including her beloved father’s imprisonment, as they fall victim to the Red Guard. She discovers within herself a fierce will to survive that sustains her until Mao’s death signals a change in China’s politics.

Seven Chinese Brothers. Mahy, Margaret. Tseng, Jean, Tseng, Mou-Sien, Ill. Scholastic, 1992. ISBN: 9780590420570.
This story about seven brothers who all look alike, but each has a unique supernatural gift. Using their unique gifts, the brothers work together to overpower the cruel emperor.

Seven Magic Brothers. Hao, Kuang-Tsai. Wang, Eva, Ill. Pan Asian Publishers, 1994. ISBN: 9789573221647.
This retelling of a popular, classic children’s story from China begins with seven brothers who walk, talk, and look alike. Each one possesses an amazing power all his own. It is only when the brothers combine their special powers that they fool the cruel and evil emperor, who wishes to do harm to one of the brothers, and save each other’s lives. Text in English and Mandarin.

Standards for Students: Instructions in Virtue from the Chinese Heritage. Buddhist Text Translation Society, 2003. ISBN: 9780881394894.
These traditional Chinese (Confucian) verses teach children how to grow up to be good, honest, and outstanding people. Topics covered include respect for elders, carefulness, trustworthiness, kindness, and friendliness to all. Dual-language: Mandarin and English, with chu yin fu hao for pronunciation.

Taste of the Sun. Wenjun, Qin, Quangen, Wang. Dolphin Books, 2013. ISBN: 9787511012555.
This is a collection of fairytales and stories for Chinese children, which illustrate relationships between love and happiness, reality and fantasy, humans and nature. In these works every child will find his/her own story, which will tell them how to face difficulties, how to hold on to their dreams, and how to face trouble as they grow up. Through reading these witty and vibrant stories, you will understand Chinese children and their world of fantasy. Best Chinese Children’s Literature series.

Tofu Quilt. Russell, Ching Yeung. Lee & Low, 2009. ISBN: 9781600604232.
Based on the author’s experiences growing up in 1960s Hong Kong, this novel-length, free-verse poem follows a young girl who aspires to be a writer in a society that still questions the value of educating girls. Luckily, Yeung Ying’s mother, who received an education herself, feels otherwise, and she scrapes together private-school tuition for her daughter. In individual, chapter-length selections, Yeung Ying gives a strong sense of her loving family, her vibrant neighborhood, and the impact of specific, life-shaping experiences.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar/Hao e Mao Mao Chong. Carle, Eric. Tomorrow Publishing House, 2008. ISBN: 9787533256739.
This is the traditional story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar that tells readers about the life of a caterpillar from egg to butterfly. This book teaches first words in Mandarin in a story format that teaches the days of the week, numbers and counting, and names of some foods. Written in Mandarin.

Voices of the Heart: A Book of Chinese Wisdom. Young, Ed. Scholastic, 1997. ISBN: 9780590501996.
In this deeply personal book, artist Ed Young explores 26 Chinese characters that describe a feeling or emotion and contain the symbol of the heart. Through stunning collage art, Young interprets the visual elements within each character and uncovers layers of meaning for words such as joy and sorrow, respect and rudeness, doubt and loyalty.

What the Rat Told Me: A Legend of the Chinese Zodiac. Louis. Catherine & Sellier, Marie. Fei, Wang, Illus. NorthSouth, 2009. ISBN: 9780735822207.
An introduction to the Chinese zodiac adapted from a Chinese Buddhist legend dating from the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). When the Great Emperor of Heaven invites the animals to visit him at sunrise, the rat promises to wake the cat at dawn. Instead, he lets the cat sleep, rides atop the ox, and leaps off to be the first in line for the viewing, followed by eleven other animals. The Emperor greets and assigns each creature a year in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. When the cat discovers the rat’s ruse, their friendship dissolves; hence cats chase rats to this day.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Lin, Grace. Little Brown, 2009. ISBN: 9780316114271.
Living in the shadow of the Fruitless Mountain, Minli and her parents spend their days working in the rice fields, barely growing enough to feed themselves. Every night, Minli’s father tells her stories about the Jade Dragon that keeps the mountain bare, the greedy and mean Magistrate Tiger, and the Old Man of the Moon who holds everyone’s destiny. Determined to change her family’s fortune, Minli sets out to find the Old Man of the Moon, urged on by a talking goldfish that gives her clues to complete her journey.

Why are You Running Away? Mao, Xiao. Relay Press, 2014. ISBN: 9787544836319.
This is a circular, cumulative tale about animals beginning and ending with the bee. Bumble bee is running from the frog, frog is running from the stork, stork is running from the fox, fox is running from the hunter, and the hunter is running from the bee who wants to sting him. Written in Mandarin with two pages of translation at the back of the book.

Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China. Louie, Ai-Ling. Young, Ed, Ill. Puffin Books, 1996. ISBN: 9780698113886.
A retelling of the earliest recorded Cinderella story, thought to be written during the reign of the Tang dynasty around 700 AD, by Tuan Cheng-Shih. In this version, a fish and a kind old man help Yeh-Shen overcome the wickedness of her stepsister and stepmother, and becomes the bride of the prince.