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A cool press that does book for older kids

December 9, 2017

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I’d somehow missed this press, which specializes in easier-to-read books for middle-school and high school students who are learning Chinese. They’re called Imagin8 Press.

They’ve got four books out now from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West (which many Mandarin immersion parents will simply know as “The Monkey King book.”)

It’s written with just 600 characters, which most MI students should be able to read by late middle and early high school. A description from their website is below. Check out their website here.


From their site:

Our little book, The Rise of the Monkey King, covers the events in the first two chapters of this epic story.  We learn how the little stone monkey is born, becomes king of his troop of monkeys, leaves his home to pursue enlightenment, receives the name Sun Wukong (literally, “ape seeking the void”) from his teacher, and returns home to defend his subjects from a ravenous monster.  Future books in this series will tell more stories from the life of this famous monkey and his companions.

Because of this story’s importance in Chinese culture, we’ve made every effort to remain faithful to the original while retelling it in simple language suitable for beginning Chinese learners at the HSK 3 level.  We have tried to not add or change anything, though of course we’ve had to leave out a lot of detail.  Wherever we had to use a word or phrase not contained in the 600-word HSK 3 vocabulary (which for example does not include the word “monkey”!) or that has not entered common usage since the HSK lists were created, those new words are defined in footnotes on the page where they first appear.  New compound (multi-character) words and expressions are, whenever possible, chosen so that they use characters already in HSK 3.  An English version of the story is included for reference at the end, as well as a complete glossary.

In the main body of the book, each page of Chinese characters is matched with a facing page of pinyin.  This is unusual for Chinese novels but we feel it’s important.  By including the pinyin, the English version and the glossary, we hope that every reader, no matter what level of mastery they have of the Chinese language, will be able to understand and enjoy the story we tell here.

This website contains many helpful study aids, including an audio recording of the book, downloadable word lists, study questions and exercises for classroom use, and links to other books you might enjoy, including other books in this series as they become available.

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