Perfect Picture Book Friday! My First Book of Chinese Words by Faye-Lynn Wu

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because I LOVE to learn other languages!

HEY! Be sure to read down to the bottom of this post. I am reviewing a second book and giving away a copy!

myfirstMy First Book of Chinese Words

by Faye-Lynn Wu

Illustrated by Aya Padron

32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Tuttle Publishing on February 12, 2013

Theme/Topic- Chinese Language / ABCs

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis-
Opening – 

is for ài,

a word that means love,

like the gentle hugs

that wrap us like the

soft wings of a dove.”

Synopsis – In this ABC book, each letter of the alphabet has a Chinese word to go with it. Each word is written in Chinese characters (simple and traditional) and there is a simple rhyme in English to tell the meaning of the Chinese word.

Why I liked this book-

I love studying foreign languages and I think picture books are a great way to begin to learn other languages. I even wrote a newspaper article about the benefits of bilingual picture books (check it out HERE). I really like this particular picture book because it is in a language that isn’t typically in the picture books I see in stores. I also think it was done very well. I like the illustrations (even the end pages were pretty). Check out one of the interior pages –

myfirst1I like that there is not only the rhyme on the pages, but the word is written in traditional and simple Chinese writing. There are also little notes on the pages explaining some of the meaning or cultural traditions shown in the illustrations of story. There is a pronunciation guide at the beginning of the book that is very helpful.

Activities and Resources-

Tuttle Publishing provided this pronunciation video so you can hear how the words are supposed to sound! Check it out and learn some Chinese! – has a whole series of worksheets to learn Chinese characters for different words. Check it out HERE.

Tuttle publishing has other Asian My First Words books (My First Book of Japanese Words, My First Book of Korean Words, My First Book of Tagalog Words). Check them out HERE.

Here’s another activity! Learn about another Chinese tradition with my next review and even better – WIN a copy of Mei-Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodles

Mei Mei Lucky NoodlesMei-Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodles

by Shan-Shan Chen

Illustrated by Heidi Goodman

32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Tuttle Publishing on August 26, 2014)

Summary – (from inside jacket) “Mei-Mei is Chinese—but not Mom and Dad! When she was a baby, Mom and Dad flew all the way to the other side of the world to adopt her and bring her home. Lucky for Mei-Mei, her parents want her to know all about her roots in China’s wonderful culture. That’s why, on her birthday, her mom always makes her a traditional Chinese treat—long noodles, for a long and happy life. And this year, Mei-Mei is big enough to help her mom make them!

What I thought –  This is another book that easily falls into the category of AWESOME. First I like that it has an adopted MC (and because I am adopted, I like books that show good examples of families built through adoption). Secondly, it involved food… and I like to eat. 😉 The illustrations are bright and colorful and I like that the story is about Mei-Mei being old enough to help her mom make her special treat. There are also references to other Chinese traditions in the book so you learn some about Chinese culture.


NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY! In the back of the book there is a recipe for making birthday noodles which I am going to try out and I will report back to you about them on Monday because that is when I will announce the winner of the copy of Mei-Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodle that Tuttle Publishing has offered to giveaway on my blog AND because Monday is National Noodle Day! WOO! To enter all you have to do is leave a comment below! Josie (my little sister) will randomly pick a name out of a hat on Sunday, October 5th at 7pm. I will announce the winner and give my noodle review on Monday, October 6th! 😀

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Categories: Age 1-5

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44 replies

  1. Both of these books look really interesting – and I love seeing how other cultures name & write things. I’m particularly entranced by hanzi (China) / kanji (Japan) because the brush strokes look so graceful, as if made by a dragonfly dipping her wings in ink.
    And noodles? I never knew there was an international noodle day. I’ll make a point to stop in for noodles on Monday.

  2. I love your PPBF pick! Our youngest has been collecting cookie fortunes to make his own dictionary. I think this goes on our “must read” list. Thanks.

  3. These books are fun! That’s neat you’re going to make your own noodles. Is it from scratch?

  4. These are wonderful resources , especially for families who have adopted children from other countries and for families who want to enrich their cultural literacy.

  5. This is well done. But I wonder if the difference between the alphabet and Chinese characters might be hard for childrn to understand.

  6. I love books that introduce children to other foreign language. And Chinese is so hard to learn. Love the book cover,illustrations and layout. And, I would think that American Asian families would enjoy having this beginning book for their children. And, the second book is an excellent pairing with the first book. It is important for children to know about cultural traditions.

  7. What a great pair of picture books. Like you I love books that teach about other languages. I have made Italian noodles but not Chinese!

  8. OMG! A noodle review! Can’t wait! I’ve heard about Mei Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodles and am anxious to see it. The Chinese Words book looks good too. And I had to laugh at this: “Secondly, it involved food and I like to eat.” Talk about an understatement, O Great Eater (I’m tapping my chopsticks in awe). 🙂

  9. I love anything multicultural and learning new languages. My husband and I also love trying out different foods and noodles is one of our favourites. These books are excellent for both adults and kids. International Noodle Day, how cool, will have to make a noodle dish on or Tuesday (your Monday 🙂 )

  10. I am always fascinated by how quickly children can soak up new languages. My kindergartener just started Spanish and loves to share what he’s learned. Thanks for these two awesome recommendations, Erik.

  11. Ooh, this is a good way to be exposed to another language with characters unlike our own, and experience its culture. Looks like it is well done, Erik!

  12. Sometimes when I don’t listen, Mom wonders if she’s speaking Chinese. I should read this book to check….

    Love and licks,

  13. Your choice for PPBF is a wonderful one 🙂

  14. Erik, I especially love the way they WRITE the words. They’re beautiful, so artistic. I have a whole chart of them because I paint them on people (as body art) 🙂

  15. Both these books look terrific, Erik! I love the activities, and the fact that the first book has a pronunciation guide and video because that would be tricky otherwise. Can’t wait to hear how the noodles come out 🙂 Who knew there was a National Noodle Day?! I love it!

  16. Some pretty cool books Erik!!! I would like to hear you speak some Chinese! Noodles! Yum!!

  17. Both these reviews look great, Eric. Definitely want to try to read both of these! Wondering if there’s anything similar for the Hebrew alphabet. May have to look!

  18. Two great looking titles. I like books that share another language too.

  19. What an interesting bilingual picturebook, dear Erik! Will definitely have to check this one out! 🙂


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