Reading became a great importance to me back when I was in junior college. As I was struggling with General Paper, my teacher had only one advice for me - read. It was her that made me realise that apart from speaking and listening, reading is equally important in building one’s language.
After I became a school teacher, and then a mother, I began searching for Chinese children’s books. Sadly, there wasn’t a big market for it, and back when I was a school teacher, I remembered having to source for good Chinese children’s books from China when I brought students over for the school immersion programme. Even though big bookshops had them, it didn’t come in a great variety and most books were written in traditional Chinese characters. There’s nothing wrong with reading in traditional Chinese characters, but if the aim is to allow children to pick up new vocabulary through reading, then it will be best to have the books in simplified Chinese characters, especially when the latter is used in Singapore.
Thankfully, much has improved over the years, as we see more Chinese children’s books available in the market. Below are my go-to sites for these books:
Flip for Joy (乐翻天)
Flip for Joy is a Singapore-based online bookstore founded in 2011 which specialises in Chinese children’s books. The owner, Meiru, is a trained Chinese language teacher with teaching experience in a local junior college and a mother of two. She is passionate about reading, the learning of the Chinese language and raising bilingual children. Hence, her curation and recommendations of books have benefited many parents, including myself. Through conversations with Meiru, I learnt that Flip for Joy sets up libraries for pre-schools to enrich the children’s language learning experiences too!
Read more about them here!
Maha Yu Yi (友谊故事屋)
Nestled at Bras Basah Complex, is Maha Yu Yi bookstore. Step into the bookstore, and you will be amazed by the great display of books. They have Chinese books of different themes catered for different age groups, and if you need any book recommendation, their staff will be more than happy to help you out. It is indeed a little heaven in a very rustic building. If you haven’t decided on which book to purchase before heading there, then be prepared to spend half a day there browsing through rows and rows of books!
Check them out here!
National Library Board
Needless to say, the good old national library is one place you should never miss. Once you have a book in mind, log on to https://www.nlb.gov.sg, search for the book and have it reserved under your name. And with the NLB app, everything’s made a lot easier!
Have fun searching for Chinese books for your little ones, and have even more fun reading with them!