Chinese literature

I am looking for some 1st through 5th grade level classic/required readings… or translations of books kids are required to read in school in the States. Does anyone have any particular suggestions? I’m not familiar really with any folk stories or classics since I’ve only just started learning Chinese (6th month now) but I’d like to expand my learning past reading the class material a bit more. Much thanks in advance.

I doubt very much you would be able to read a translation of a 5th-grade level book originally in English after 6 months of Chinese. Usually in teaching Spanish in the US, we give things like the “Captain Underpants” series translations in the third year of Spanish, not before, and that’s Spanish (has an alphabet, etc. etc.)

The whole supplemental-but-interesting readings thing is a problem for beginners and intermediate level Chinese students, that’s for sure. There were some simplified readers published awhile back, I think by Yale University, which re-told classic Chinese tales. Other than that, off the top of my head (and during breakfast, over here) i’m not coming up with much for you. Sorry. Hopefully something will occur to me later and I’ll hop back online and post.

Have you tried the 國語日報 Gu

I picked up a few volumes recently. They are called 中國寓言故事 Zhong1guo2 yu4yan2 gu4 shi4-- Chinese Fables-- and two volumes called 中國歷史故事 zhong1guo2 li4shi3 gu4shi4–Tales from Chinese history. Texts consist of the story and a vocab/ grammar section, explaining new terms and patterns. These are pretty interesting readers, but presume a reading ability somewhere well north of a thousand characters. I bought them at the new Eslite store near city hall in Taibei. You might like another text series I picked up a while back. They are called 大學語文: A Primer for Advanced Beginners of Chinese. Written by Irene Liu and Hailong Wang; published by Columbia university. The books are actually designed for American born Chinese and presume some level of Chinese, though not as high as the others I listed. Given that the books were intended to educate foreign born Chinese about Chinese culture as well as teach Chinese language, the lessons tend to be about culture and history. I personally find the vocabulary level to be a bit easy, but the pattern practice and explanations are top notch. You can tell these books were made by western university faculty. You’ll pay for it too as the “Primer” books are over 1200nt a piece at both Page One and Eslite. The history and fables books were a steal at 300 nt a piece but, be warned, they use Tongyong or wade-giles romanization (I’m not sure which) in the vocab sections. That can confuse people more used to Hanyu pinyin.

The history stories and fables books have been out for years; I studied from them in 1984 at NTNU…they sound like the original Shida materials. Used to be those WERE the textbooks.

They likely are the books you used. They look to have been originally published some time ago. Guess they are republishing them now. The books are interesting and cheap for those looking for supplimental readings, though.

Some others I picked up at Shi Da: “Reading Chinese Newspapers: A Modern Approach”; “Contemporary Short Stories from Taiwan”; and 實用商業會話, which I guess would mean “Practical Business Conversation.” Any of these giving you flashbacks to your study days, Ironlady?

Any of the materials produced by ShiDa are going to be cheap and fairly useful. It’s making yourself study them that’s the problem. :blush: I picked up about 6 books at Shida last year, and the total price was less than $2,000 NT. I’ve only studied 2 of them so far, though.

ty Toasty, I will look into them… those suggestions sound like they’ll be good additive materials for me to have. I have a base knowledge of around 2500 chinese characters… that should be okay right?

I was also looking at some daily chinese conversation books with their equivalent english and japanese translations, but there are often a lot of errors in the grammar… does anyone know of a good book I can trust to study from?

I think you might be a little too advanced for some of those books, but you can flip through them and see how they are. I must say, 2500 characters in 6 months is impressive. I think we should be the ones asking you questions, not the other way around. :wink:

Yeah I second that. 2500 characters after six months, are you serious? I did a BA in Chinese and when I graduated I was curious, went through my big dictionary page by page and counted how many I recognised (hey it was a boring week). Think I knew about 2700-2800 then. But then I was a bit of a slacker. How do you do it?

Perhaps our OP is already fluent in Japanese? Perhaps that is why he can read so many characters so early in his Chinese studies.