Home Library, Preschool Reads

Chinese Home Library Part I: What Not To Do 

Earlier this year I read an excellent book on bilingual language acquisition. The author stressed how important it is to build a home library with 500 books.


At that point, our home consisted of maybe 3 Chinese books. Hence began a frenzy of Chinese book acquisition of 100+ books, most of which I regret buying.

In this post I will share what I’ve learned about buying books for my angmohkia (AKA. westernized child who is dominant in and prefers English). Save yourself hundreds of dollars 💵 from NOT buying these books. You’re welcome.

Mistake #1: “Good character” books

A large percentage of Chinese books are about how to be a good kid and have good manners. If your child is used to English books with funny and exciting adventures he will not like these. Because BORING.

Seriously why are there so many of these… 🙄

Mistake #2: Books that are written for children in China 🇨🇳 

Can you say culture shock? My boy was horrified that animals and people get beaten and DIE in these books. Up until then I did not realize that all English books have happy endings and nobody ever dies. 😬

Seriously though, culture in China and USA are polar opposites. My son does not relate to Chinese books that are too… Chinese.

Mistake #3: Books that are too childish

My son is currently 5 years old with the Chinese comprehension of a 3 year old. I cleverly (or so I thought) sourced out books like Dr. Seuss and Elmer Elephant that are at his level of comprehension so he can understand them.

BIG MISTAKE. My son outgrew these toddler books years ago has zero interest in reading them.

Note: The books shown below are actually pretty good. They are just not developmentally appropriate or interesting to a 5 y.o.

Mistake #4: Books by non-professional authors 

Most English books are by renowned authors and illustrators, and you can be assured that they are of a certain caliber otherwise they wouldn’t be published. Not so for Chinese. There are many Chinese publishers that will publish works by any random person. I don’t think you can even call them authors.

Quality control??

Mistake #5: Novelty books 

Books these days come with a lot of bells and whistles. Toys, push buttons, projector, magic pen… you name it. While they do capture the child’s interest at the start, the novelty wears off really quick!

For the $20 I spent on this fancy schmancy book, I could’ve bought four quality hardcover picture books. Not worth it IMO. 😣

So there you have it. This is part I of a series of posts I will share about building our library at home. 敬请期待! To be continued…

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4 thoughts on “Chinese Home Library Part I: What Not To Do ”

  1. Thank you so much! I am going through all the Chinese books I have on hand before building my kids Chinese library and this post is super helpful (and FUNNY!!!) to me.


  2. im so glad i read this post! I’ve been looking for Usborne books coz I thought they will look more appealing for my child! I’m from the Philippines, half Chinese, and trying to teach my 4yo daughter Chinese as a second language 😊


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