Before I know it, summer is already here! As the school year comes to a close, I find myself caught up in a whirlwind of sleepless nights, arranging summer camps for my two boys and baby girl, and scrambling to establish new routines. But now, we've reached that long-awaited moment—a few precious days for the entire family to escape to the beach! And what better way to enhance our summer getaway than bringing a collection of Chinese books that capture the essence of the season?
These stories revolve around family adventures on sandy shores, in refreshing swimming pools, and within the depths of the vast ocean. Brimming with lightheartedness and humor, these classic tales serve as both entertainment and a fantastic opportunity for children to learn Chinese vocabulary that describes the sights and activities they will encounter during their vacation. Some of these stories might even inspire you to incorporate book plots into your own exciting holiday activities.
In my family, whether we go camping, fishing, or embark on international trips, we always make it a point to bring along books that complement our chosen adventures. After all, children learn best when they can connect their learning to the "here" and "now" of their experiences.
Here are some of our favoriate summer and beach Chinese children’s books and they would be a great reading list for JoJo's summer reading challenge. Be sure to bring along Luka, the faithful reading robot along. Luka is capable of reading all the books I have recommended below, with the exception of Little Brother Mouse Goes to the Beach. Before packing these books into your suitcase, allow Luka to read a page or two from each one. This way, Luka can accompany you on your trip and continue reading these books offline during your vacation adventures.
By Koshiro Hata, 彭懿 (translator)
We love this classic Japanese story about a little boy who is on a journey to catch a stag beetle. Since his brother is not home today, he has to catch the stag beetle by himself. He runs towards the mountains, across the field, and past the cow corral and finally catches the stag beetle.
Included in the Curious George 8-Book Set
By Margret & H.A. Rey, 崔维燕 (translator)
Join everyone's favorite monkey on an adventure to the beach! The familiar adorable art style with large pictures compliments the simple sentences on each page. There's plenty of words related to the beach, summer, and the fun activities that go along with it. A must read for all ages.
By Neil Gaiman & Adam Rex, 邢培健 (translator)
Meet Chu, everyone's favorite sneezing panda bear, as he goes on a fun trip to the beach! These books' everyday language is simple enough for young Chinese beginners, while the books' humorous illustrations still hold the attention of older more advanced learners.
Adorable pup Spot is going on a trip to the beach! The simple, easy to read sentences combined with the series' famous illustrations make this perfect for young readers to get their feet wet (pun intended!) in reading Chinese! After one read, they'll be coming back again and again for more of Spot!
Included in the Little Brother Mouse Series Chinese books 13-22 (10-book set)
By Yoshio Nakae (Author), Noriko Ueno (Illustrator), 童立方 (translator)
From the beloved Japanese series classic, join Little Brother Mouse and family on the beach for a funny summer trip! The amount of text on each page varies between 1 word and 4 short lines. Phrases and sentence structures are simple and repetitive, providing young children an effective, rewarding learning-to-read experience.
Included in The 7 Little Mice 4-Book Set
By Kazuo Iwamura
In summer, the septuplets go to the beach with mom and dad. Dad can't swim and gets stuck on an island, what will they do?
Twins, triplets, quintuplets...you'd think that would be a lot of siblings! This, however, is an even crazier story about septuplets-- seven little mice!
The simplicity of life, the warmth of a big family, the abundance of love, and the visual feast of mother nature portrayed in the exquisite, detailed illustrations invite young readers to spend hours pouring over the pages of Iwamura's works.
Included in the Martine Collection Preschool- 10 Chinese Children’s Books and the Martine Classic Collection- 60 Chinese Children’s Books
By Gilbert Dehaye and Marcel Marlier
The Martine book series has unexpectedly claimed the top spot on many boys' favorite books list, closely followed by a collection of cars and trucks books. This adorable tale of young Martine takes her to a local swimming pool. Martine learns how to keep her eyes open underwater (and even finds a necklace!), how to swim fast by relaxing her arms and legs, and breathing rhythmically. After all of her training, Martine is able to confidentially jump into the pool and swim like a pro!
Included in the Martine Classic Collection- 60 Chinese Children’s Books By Gilbert Dehaye and Marcel Marlier
By Joanna Cole (Author), Bruce Degen (Illustrator), 蒲公英童书馆 (Translator)
The story takes young readers on an exciting underwater adventure. Join Ms. Frizzle and her class as they embark on a field trip to the beach, where they discover a magical crab-shaped submarine. With their trusty teacher at the helm, the students dive deep into the ocean to explore marine life firsthand.
Along the way, they encounter fascinating creatures like hermit crabs, lobsters, and even a giant king crab. As they navigate the ocean's depths, the students learn about the unique characteristics and behaviors of these crustaceans.
Through vivid illustrations and engaging storytelling, the story combines science education with a thrilling underwater expedition, capturing the imagination of young readers while teaching them about the wonders of marine biology.
By Joanna Cole (Author), Bruce Degen (Illustrator), 蒲公英童书馆 (Translator)
The story takes young readers on an exhilarating journey deep into the ocean alongside Ms. Frizzle and her students. This time, the magical school bus transforms into a submarine. Their destination? The fascinating world of sharks. As they dive beneath the waves, the students encounter various shark species, such as the fierce Great White Shark and the graceful Hammerhead Shark. With Ms. Frizzle's guidance, they learn about the unique characteristics, habitats, and behaviors of these incredible creatures.
Included in the Magic School Bus-12 Chinese Children's Books
By: Joanna Cole (Author), Bruce Degen (Illustrator), 蒲公英童书馆 (Translator)
Everyone's favorite teacher, Ms. Frizzle, and her magic school bus are back with these 3 incredible journeys in the ocean. The pages feature brilliant and detailed illustrations, and the text is jam-packed with educational facts to accompany the outrageous stories of Ms. Frizzle and her class. Readers of all ages can sink into these pages and always will want to come back for more.
Included in the Beng Beng and Tiao Tiao -12 Chinese Children's Books
By: Matthias Sodtke; translated by 陈琦
Goofy illustrations that kids love along with simple limited text packaged in the same dimensions of a chapter book make these great bridge books to build a young Chinese learner's confidence. Join friends Hop Hop and Jump Jump going to the beach! Plenty of vocabulary centered around activities and friendship make this the perfect summer reading book!
As the sun shines brightly and the waves beckon, let these books accompany young readers on a journey of discovery and delight, making this summer a memorable and enriching experience filled with the magic of Chinese storytelling.
What is your favorite Chinese book about Summer? We'd love to hear from you in the comments!
Co-founder, JoJo Learning