This morning Little Man completely out of the blue said “I really like my library mom, thanks for my library.” AWWW. 😊 Allow me to bask in this moment because just a few months ago he flat out refused to read any Chinese books!
Here’s how I organized the ~350 Chinese books and ~150 English books we currently have. We have far fewer English books since there are five awesome all-English libraries within 15 mins of our house.
We used to have just one 3-cube bookcase in his bedroom, mixed English and Chinese books, and completely overflowing. This was a really terrible set up because most of the Chinese books are paperbacks with very thin spines, meaning my son pulled everything off the shelf onto the floor to look for what he wanted. URGHHH!!! Also many books were overlooked because he just didn’t see them.
In our new organization system (that I just put in place yesterday!), the 3-cube bookcase is now entirely for English books in one corner of his room. He also got a nice comfy beanbag chair for Christmas which he loves.
On the other side of his room, I bought an Ikea Billy bookcase and 12 Samla bins for Chinese books. I have it set up like a typical USA classroom library, which is books organized by genre and level, and forward facing as much as possible so that it grabs the child’s attention. Now he can browse books by bin without pulling them all into a giant pile on the floor. WIN.
The bottom two shelves are 绘本 picture books (designed for adults to read to kids) and the top shelf are 桥梁书 readers (designed for kids to read to themselves). I got a 3-shelf bookcase because it’s the perfect height for him at 5 years old. Ideally I would love the picture books in bins facing out too, but… space constraints.
The picture books are generally arranged by height from tallest to shortest. My OCD self really wishes all books were the same size so they can look perfect, but alas. For the readers on the top shelf, they are sort of arranged by reading level from left to right, with Bin 8 being the easiest and Bin 11 the hardest. I think Bin 6 looks a little pathetic being half empty so I am looking to buy some more books to fill it up. 😛
A few people asked me for book recommendations so I’ve listed the books with the following rating scale.
- R = Recommended
- Ok = Books that are not the greatest but my kid has somewhat enjoyed and learned something from them
- TBD = To be determined because we haven’t read them yet. HAHA.
Note: 95% of my books were purchased online from Taobao but I am not able to give you direct links to them as TB sellers sell out of items fast. Also the prices fluctuate quite a bit so search around for the best price. If you are interested in the books, please copy and paste the title in Chinese and enter it into TB search. Alternatively, you can also copy the image and do an image search.
我变成一只喷火龙了 I Turned Into a Fire-Breathing Dragon (Ok)
帕拉帕拉山的妖怪 The Monster of Papa Pala Mountain (Ok)
过年啦 Chinese New Year (R)
开车出发系列 Tram series (Ok) – Better suited for 2+
100层的房子系列 100 Story House series (Ok) – Better suited for 3+
青蛙弗洛格系列 Frog series (Ok)
小猪佩琦系列 Peppa Pig series (Ok)
Bin 4 and Bin 5:
奇先生妙小姐系列 Mr. Men and Little Miss series (Ok) – Print quality is disappointing
上下五千年系列 5000 Year Chinese History series (TBD)
爆笑虫子漫画系列 Larva comics series (Ok)
植物大战僵尸漫画 Plants vs. Zombies series (Ok)
闹闹漫画乐园系列 Nao Nao comics series (Ok)
我会读系列 I Can Read series (R)
亲爱的小熊系列 Little Bear series (Ok)
笨狼的故事系列 Stupid Wolf series (Ok)
青蛙和蟾蜍系列 Frog and Toad series (Ok)
我爱阅读 蓝色系列 I Love Reading Blue series (Ok) – Some people like this but I don’t. I ended up selling them.
我爱阅读 黄色系列 I Love Reading Yellow series (Ok) – Some people like this but I don’t. I ended up selling them.
阅读123系列 Reading 123 series (R)
成语故事系列 Idiom stories series (TBD)
十万个为什么系列 10,000 Why series (Ok)
And finally… here is a bookcase in the basement that I refer to as my “dumping ground”. This is an old bookcase that I use to store books that are either too advanced or outgrown or books that are crap. We have a lot of books like Dr. Seuss and Elephant and Piggie that my son used to love but rarely touches anymore. So they get sent to this dumping ground for a year or so before they are purged. HAHA.
Read the rest of my Chinese Home Library blog posts:
A special THANK YOU to Guavarama for her Building a (Traditional Chinese) Chinese Library posts. They are so informative and I refer back to them frequently.