This is Part 4 of my Building a Chinese Library for the Kids series. In Parts 1-3, I gave some background on children’s books and how we pick them, and did a survey of local libraries and publishers and Taiwanese authors.
If you look at the photo of our Chinese library (as of Aug 2015), you will see that board books takes up a very, very, very, small section of our library. It basically takes up right 1/4 space on shelf #4.
In my faulty memory, I did not read to either kids too much, especially Astroboy, before they were 1 (or was it 2?). By the end of the day, I just wanted to go to bed. They only seem to have 5 minute attention spans when it comes to reading. Plus it was so easy to rip the precious Chinese picture books that traveled 3000 miles to get here.
We did read to the kids at night, just not consistently.
I always felt guilty when I visited other people’s houses and saw the massive collection of board books. Obviously I was not doing enough and the kids are not going to love reading when they’re older! I’m failing them on at least 10 fronts!
I know better now about child development and have more patience. But I do think, overall, it has not had too much of an effect in whether or not the kids read in our household. As my HS teacher friend tells me, we talk to the kids way more than most parents she sees. So maybe that helped.
All this is an excuse for my meager Board Book Collection. Below, I list our holdings and recommendations of board books that I know of. For each book, I will link to 博客來 Bookstore (www.books.com.tw) because they often show you inside pages, or Amazon if there is an English equivalent. If it’s at a library I know of, I will also note that. Even better, if there isn’t, I will list WorldCat holding so you can find it yourself! Please note not all libraries are on World Cat (Oakland, Alameda, and Contra Costa isn’t).
I will also note whether or not I:
- Recommend – If you want to build your own Chinese library, buy this book
- Maybe – There’s something about it that makes it imperfect in my eyes. Use your own judgement.
- Mieh – On the fence. I don’t love its quality. I may have bought it anyway because it’s useful.
- Dud – Don’t waste your money on it.
- Own – We own this book
Summary of Books Listed
Here’s a summary list of books for quick reference.
- 親愛的動物園 Dear Zoo (Own, Recommend) (Books and Me,
- 好餓的毛毛蟲 The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Own, Maybe) (Oakland Main, Books and Me, Link+)
- 10隻橡皮小鴨 10 Little Rubber Ducks (Own, Maybe) (Books and Me, WorldCat)
- 小波在哪裡 Where’s Spot (Own, Recommend)
- 學習認知的小書 (Own, Mieh)
- 0歲BOOK 五感遊戲盒 Books of senses for the Newborn (Own, Mieh)
- 小寶寶翻翻書 Baby Flip Books (Own, Recommend) (Books and Me, WorldCat, Oakland, Link+)
- 小黃點 Press Here (Own, Recommend) (Oakland)
- 小雷和波波 Tom and Pippo by Helen Oxenbury (Recommend)
|親愛的動物園 Dear Zoo (Own, Recommend)
One of my favorite books because 1) it has an English version, 2) it has zhuyin, 3) the sentence structures are repetitive, and 4) it’s a flip book.
|好餓的毛毛蟲 The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Own, Maybe)
Eric Carle (艾瑞‧卡爾) is very popular in Taiwan. Amazingly, we only own 1 of his books. It’s a classic and worth buying if you can read Chinese without zhuyin. I’ve read 棕色的熊、棕色的熊，你在看什麼 Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See. I’ve also read 10隻橡皮小鴨 10 Little Rubber Ducks.
The only thing is, not all of his books translate well. For example, the rhyme and rhythm in Brown Bear is lost in the translation. It looks like the simplified version is bilingual while the traditional isn’t and has no zhuyin.
|小波在哪裡 Where’s Spot (Own, Recommend)
I love the flip book series by 艾瑞克．希爾 Eric Hill and would get the whole set if Astroboy were still a toddler. This also doesn’t have zhuyin. But the text is very big and it’s perfect for the child using Sagebooks to try and read. Plus you can get the English version as well.
|學習認知的小書 Little Books of Lnowledge (Own, Mieh)
This is a set of 5 books published by 風車圖書 Windmill Publishing. I never loved the set but for some reason Astroboy loved them as a toddler, and still loves flipping through them during his quiet reading time. But books are almost like an vocabulary book on Daily Life, ABC, zhuyin, numbers, and the zoo. As I mentioned in my Survey of Publishers post, Windmill Publishing sells a variety of these types of books.
|0歲BOOK 五感遊戲盒 Books of senses for the Newborn (Own, Mieh)
There’s nothing special about these books, except they are laminated! I loved this set for that sole reason. No need at all to worry it gets dirty or ripped.
This is a set of 10 books that you can “read” to your baby. For example, there’s a book of those black and white geometric shapes that they say are great for newborns. And the rest are vocabulary books where there is one picture per page plus its name. Some of these books are bilingual, others have zhuyin, and yet others have no zhuyin.
Windmill Publishing also sells another set of 10 books called Baby潛能發展遊戲－0歲Book
|小寶寶翻翻書 Baby Flip Books by Matthew Price (Own, Recommend)
This is a set of 4 flip books, with no zhuyin. The 4 books are: 上床了，好朋友，衣服，小寶寶 (Bedtime, Friends, Getting Dressed, Babies). As you can see from the title, they’re all very simple books, with topics that babies will find interesting. You can also get English versions to read to the kids.
|小黃點 Press Here (Own, Recommend)
Another one of my favorite board book with an English version. A total must buy. Unfortunately it has no zhuyin. I love the book because it interacts with the children, and it is indirectly teaching them some vocabulary through Total Physical Response.
|小雷和波波 Tom and Pippo by Helen Oxenbury (Recommend)
Two sets of books, each set with 3 books. The English books look to be mostly out of print though so you’d have to find it at the library.
This is perfect for the toddlers since the story is specific to their daily lives. It has zhuyin. Plus it’s got a bilingual DVD!
Not a long list of recommendations for sure. But, I have a long list of picture books. Maybe I will leave that for the very end and move onto Early Readers for now.