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English-language books to introduce your child to Chinese culture

Explainers on festivals, food, folk legends and more

If a recent move to Beijing has you a bit anxious, imagine the confusion the little person next to you may be feeling (even though we’ve heard again and again that making a big move is likely harder on parents than their kids). Help them figure out what’s what in this new place they’ll call home with these colourful kids’ books available around town.

What a Place!
What a Place (3000x3000)

This sweet story tells the story of a young girl’s year-long journey around Beijing with her family. From author-illustrator pair Lana Sultan and Hubei-native Xu Wendi, this colourful story will get your little one familiar with bustling Beijing’s sights, sounds and activities. Find it at The Bookworm.

Pangu Separates the Sky from the Earth: A Chinese Creation Myth

A classic Chinese folk legend, Pangu tells the story of the forming of the Earth with brilliant illustrations. In Chinese mythology, the character Pangu is the first living being and Earth's creator. For kids excited about Chinese legends, author Anita Yasuda has a whole series of English-language titles. Recommended for ages 8-10 years old. Find it at Page One.

Dim Sum for Everyone!

Because good food is something people of all ages can get on board with. This book, which tell us that dim sum translates to ‘little hearts’, is written by Grace Lin and tells the story of a little girl picking her favourite dishes from a Cantonese eatery with her family. Recommended for ages 3-7 years. Find it on Amazon.

Chelsea’s Chinese New Year

Through this book with bright illustrations, children will learn about the different ways Chinese New Year is traditionally celebrated. The book tells the story of a little girl named Chelsea watching vibrant fireworks, dancing with dragons and more. Recommended for ages 5-7 years. Find it on Amazon.

Chineasy: The New Way to Read Chinese

Historically Chinese characters were pictographic but as thousands of years passed, their original forms morphed. In Chineasy, author Shaolan Hseuh (read the Time Out interview with her here) combines bright design with Chinese characters to tell a story about language and culture. Find it at UCCA Design Store.

The Race for the Chinese Zodiac

Legend says that long ago, Yù Huáng (the Jade Emperor) ordered every animal on Earth to come wish him well on his birthday. The first 12 that arrived would become guards outside his palace and members of the Chinese Zodiac. In The Race for the Chinese Zodiac, kids will have tonnes of fun learning about their animal sign and its role in the zodiac. Recommended for age 5-9 years old. Find it on Amazon.

What books on Chinese culture does your child love? Let us know in the comments below.
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