ChildRoad: New Mandarin story and reading site (with signup update)
Also note that the first month is always just $1, to give parents a chance to try out the side (50 cents if you use the code.)
Jerry says “For existing users to make use of the code, they can go to Account Info — Billing — Change Membership Types to choose the membership again, this time use the code.”
For those of us with kids in Mandarin immersion who don’t read or speak Mandarin (and even for those who do), getting kids to read and engage in Mandarin outside of school can be tough. There’s already one nice Mandarin reading site up and now another great one has arrived — this one with some longer books and novels that should appeal to older kids as well.
ChildRoad.com offers over 1,000 books read in Mandarin by professional actors and television hosts in China, with the characters and pinyin to read along with. There are multiple series and books that can be read/listened to online, as well as downloaded to an MP3 player for listening in the car.
The site was created by two Mandarin-speaking dads, Jerry Huang in Fremont and Michael Qin in Hangzhou, China, a
famous tourist destination city near Shanghai. It’s aimed at helping kids get access to books in Mandarin that may be beyond their Chinese reading ability (a common problem among immersion students, who tend to read two or three years behind grade level compared to their counterparts in China.) There are two interfaces, one in English and one in Chinese.
There are several pricing structures. You can sign on for a month at just $5.95 and see how your kids like it, ChildRoad is also offering group discounts of just $35/family/year, which represents a 50% saving to use Childroad.com. If enough people are interested it could be done on a school-wide basis as well. (If you like it, tell us what titles worked best for your kids.)
Once you’ve signed on, you can save books (click on the star at the bottom) and they get put in the backpack on the right hand bottom of the screen, where you can take them out and read them. You can read an English description of the books, but only after you’ve saved them to the backpack (we asked Mr. Huang if they could work on that for us non-Chinese readers.)
The company is also working on an iPad/iPhone/Android app.
Especially nice is that not all the stories are traditional Chinese folk tales. Nothing against China’s rich cultural heritage, but our kids have been hearing these since Kindergarten and after awhile they really want something fun, like a nice Captain Underpants or ABC Mystery. Or that Holy Grail of reading, Harry Potter. ChildRoad hasn’t gotten there yet, but at least there’s The Wizard of Oz and Sherlock Holmes.
[A note to any companies working on Chinese reading sites – our kids need to WANT to read in Chinese. For them, a book in Chinese doesn’t have to be educational or edifying or even Good For Them, it ONLY HAS TO BE IN CHINESE. So go for the fun ones – really, the parents will be fine with it, as long as our kids are reading in Chinese. We’ll let them do edifying at school!]
Some titles currently in the ChildRoad list:
Sample ChildRoad Books
Andersen Fairy Tales with Pictures and Pinyin (Platinum）is translated by famous author and translator, Mr. Rongrong Ren; illustrated by famous illustrators in China.
Grimm Brother Fairy Tales is a true record of the German folk literature and a collection of its most famous works. This book has included seventeen of the most exciting stories, all with beautiful color illustrations, words marked with pinyin, easy for children to read and enjoy.
“Kindergarten Story King: The Best Stories” select the best stories from Zhou Rui, and other famous authors of contemporary children’s books. These famous masterpieces are beautiful and moving. They can properly cultivate a child’s mind, open the door of wisdom, and let the child learn the world through enjoyable reading.
“Picture Book China Stories: Chinese Fairy Tales” has collected China’s most widely known classic fairy tales and well selected modern stories full of imagination and inspiration. These stories are refined from its original forms, added paintings made with traditional and modern techniques, making it a fine book for reading, learning, and collection.
“Picture Book of Chinese Idiom Stories” applies easy-to-understand stories to illustrate the wisdom, history, and humor in Chinese idioms, helping children learn in fun the subtle essence of the Chinese language and culture. Each story is short and easy to remember, and with pertinent pictures, making the book one of the best tools to help children learn Chinese idioms.
“100 Humor Stories for Optimistic and Confident Kids” introduction: good humor story, apart from making people laugh, can also make people think and get inspired. This book series contain 100 Chinese and foreign humor stories.
“100 Sincerity Stories for Understanding and Caring Kids” selected fairy tales, fables, true stories and celebrity anecdotes that will help grow the sincerity and caring nature of children. In the stories, children can experience the subtle influence of sincerity, respect, and caring for others, and learn how being compassionate and loving will contribute to the pursuit of true happiness.
“100 Stories of Famous People for Aspiring Kids” introduction: the power of examples is endless: reading the story of ancient and modern elite will help small children to establish their own goals, and enhance their confidence and courage to succeed.
“Wisdom Stories Good Kids Most Want to Know” has selected a hundred classic wisdom stories related to world wide historical figures, well-known legends, and heroes in famous novels, letting children learn the true meaning of wisdom from the witty, humorous, and creative examples.
Legend Stories Good Kids Want to Know The Most collected popular legend stories that are beautiful, far-reaching, moving, mysterious, and go far back in time. The stories are interesting and vividly told, with text easy to understand. The book has Pinyin, and good illustrations.
Sample ChildRoad Novels
Alice in Wonderland is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells the story of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar creatures. The tale plays with logic in ways that have given the story lasting popularity with adults as well as children. Its narrative course and structure have been enormously influential.
The Wizard of Oz is a children’s novel written by L. Frank Baum. It was originally published in 1900, and has since been reprinted countless times. The story chronicles the adventures of a girl named Dorothy in the Land of Oz. It is one of the best-known stories in American popular culture and has been widely translated.
“The Wonderful Adventures of Nils” is a famous work of fiction by the Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf. The book is about a young lad, Nils Holgersson, who was accidentally turned to a thumb sized boy and spent eight magical and adventurous months with his loyal white farm goose, joining the travel with a group of wild geese. When Nils eventually turned back to normal boy, he had wonderful and memorable stories to tell. The novel was originally commissioned to serve partly as geography reading materials for the public schools at Sweden at the time.
Gulliver’s Travels (1726, amended 1735), is a novel by Irish writer Jonathan Swift. It is Swift’s best known full-length work, and a classic of English literature. The book became tremendously popular as soon as it was published; since then, it has never been out of print.
Around the World in Eighty Days is a classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, first published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager (equal to £1,324,289 today) set by his friends at the Reform Club.
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A brilliant London-based “consulting detective”, Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his forensic science skills to solve difficult cases.
The Jungle Book (1894) is a collection of stories by British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling. The tales in the book, stories about Mowgli, are fables, using animals in an anthropomorphic manner to give moral lessons. The verses of The Law of the Jungle, for example, lay down rules for the safety of individuals, families and communities.
“Picture Book of Chinese Masterpiece: Journey to the West” illustrates and depicts the most interesting stories in the famous Chinese mythology novel Journey to the West, where the Monkey King Sun Wu Kong assisted his Master to go to the West to learn and bring back Buddhism. The book’s illustration and design have won China national book awards. The book is also highly recommended in Taiwan media.
“Picture Book of Chinese Masterpiece: Romance of Three Kingdoms” tells the stories of the classic characters in the era of Three Kingdoms, using languages children can understand, illustrated with interesting pictures. It helps children to get exposure to heroic wisdom, courage and vision, rendering a lively interpretation of Chinese cultural essence of loyalty, faithfulness, kindness and morality. Romance of Three Kingdoms is the most spectacular one among the four Chinese classical novels.
“Picture Book of Chinese Masterpiece: Heroes of the Marshes” depicts charismatic heroes once grouped near Liangshan marshes to fight the corrupt government of the time. The novel tells the life experiences and famous encounters of these heroes, all in easy to understand language, illustrated with interesting pictures, subtly leading children to understand social injustice, how each character is changed from ordinary people to be the hero, and the wisdom in the success and failure of Liangshan heroes. Stories are intensive, interesting and humorous at times. Reading the book can inspire courage and thought among the young heart. Heroes of the Marshes is a unique gem among the four famous Chinese classical novels.
“Picture Book of Chinese Masterpiece: Dream of Red Mansions” tells the stories of lives in the household of rich and powerful, depicts the precious true feeling, lovely talents of Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu and people around them, but also describes their misfortune, extending to recognizing life’s true value. The picture book version of this famous novel offers children an enjoyable and relaxed reading, helping them appreciate the beauty of the Chinese language and culture, understand sincere feelings among people, have sympathy for those of misfortune. It will help lead children into the hall of the best of Chinese classical literature.
The Adventures of Baron Münchhausen is a collection of legendary tales about a German Baron Münchhausen most notably adapted by German poet and writer Gottfried August Bürger in 1786. Later, these stories were further adapted to become the well-known children’s book. As the name implies, there are many tall tales of amazing encounters in this book, most notably how the Baron pulled himself and his horse out of the swamp by yanking at his own braid. Imaginative, humorous, highly readable and engaging, these stories are heartedly welcomed and liked by children of different ages world wide.
The Blue Bird is a 1908 play by Maurice Maeterlinck. The story is about a girl called Mytyl and her brother Tyltyl seeking happiness, represented by The Blue Bird of Happiness, aided by the good fairy Bérylune.
The Reynard Cycle is a literary cycle of allegorical French, Dutch, English, and German fables largely concerned with Reynard, an anthropomorphic red fox and trickster figure.
Pinocchio is a fictional character that first appeared in 1881, in The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, and has since appeared in many adaptations of that story and others. Carved from a piece of pine by a woodcarver named Geppetto in a small Italian village, he was created as a wooden puppet, but dreamt of becoming a real boy.
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (German: Nussknacker und Mausekönig) is a story written in 1816 by E. T. W. Hoffmann in which young Clara Stahlbaum’s favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls. In 1892, the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov turned the story (Alexandre Dumas père’s adapted version) into the ballet The Nutcracker, which became one of Tchaikovsky’s most famous compositions, and one of the most popular ballets in the world.
All books are in-print published books
Books are published by the Zhejiang Children’s Publishing House. The voice-over-text ebook with professional narrator’s voice is licensed, produced and exclusively released by Childroad Inc. You can find more such professionally narrated, voice-over-text ebooks of popular Chinese books for children at http://www.ChildRoad.com.