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The name – picture books – evokes images of brightly colored, beautifully illustrated books that beg to be read. No matter what our age, most of us still enjoy reading them because of their vibrant pictures, rich and evocative language, and poignant and meaningful themes. Picture books speak to us in the same way photographs do. They touch our emotions, delight our senses, appeal to our whimsy, and bring back memories of our childhood. Picture books invite us to curl up and read them. — Diana Mitchell, Children’s Literature

Picture books,  quality picture books, contribute joyful encounters for children and help them learn to love  in the fullest sense of the word. They are also a major resource in children’s acquisition of literacy.

For this reason, it is crucial for parents to find high-quality children’s picture books to engage children with literature with enjoyment, which is an essential precursor to not only learning to read but also wanting to read.

Both my two-year-old twins love to read a picture book series originally published by Korean company Kyowon. They ask me to read to them again and again. After many repetitions, the twins can recite some of the content when looking at the pages.

The series includes seven books: I Want to Go Home, Where is It Hiding?, Kevin Travels in the Sea, Where Is the Paper Airplane?, What is My Missing Part?, They Go Camping Together, and There are Ten Potatoes.

In I Want to Go Home, a little boy wants to go home. Along the way, he keep asking people with all kinds of transports to send him home, but everybody is busy. Finally there is motorcycle rider willing to take him home. But the boy already finds his bike and he is already at home.

Childhood Reading Series: 7 bilingual picture books Childhood Reading Series: 7 bilingual picture books
Bilingual Reading – I Want to Go Home (Chinese/English) Bilingual Reading – I Want to Go Home (Chinese/English)

This books aims at helping young children to recognize different modes of transport, including ambulance, fire engine, police car, bulldozer, airplane and etc., as well as the major functions of each transport. It repeatedly follows a rhyming question-and-response sentence pattern:

Can I ride in your ambulance (fire engine, police car, bulldozer, airplane…)?

Sorry, I am going to get a sick person (put out a fire, control traffic, help build a house, fly abroad…).

Soon, my twins can recognize many vehicles when we drive out. They will say “look, an ambulance, it is going to pick up a sick person. ” in Chinese!

Childhood Reading Series: 7 bilingual picture books
Bilingual Reading – I Want to Go Home (Chinese/English)

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In Where is It Hiding?, Sally’s chameleon runs away from its cage. Where is it going?

The chameleon is hiding among the red apples (brown monkey, yellow bananas, white labs, blue birds, orange pumpkins, green frogs, and black gorillas) and turns red (brown, yellow, white, blue, orange, green and black)!

Childhood Reading Series: 7 bilingual picture books
Bilingual Reading – Where is It Hiding? (Chinese/English)

Yes, this book teaches children to recognize colors. It is also a seek-and-find book. My twins are especially excited to look for the chameleon and point it to me when I ask them “where is it going” every time. After so many times of reading, they know exactly where the chameleon is, but they still ask me to read this book to them over and over.

Childhood Reading Series: 7 bilingual picture books
Bilingual Reading – Where is It Hiding? (Chinese/English)

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In Kevin Travels in the Sea, Kevin is swimming in the sea to find his toy ship. he meets a number of sea creatures and they all like to touch him.

A fish (stingray, eel, sea horse, dolphin, turtle, crab and octopus ) touches his head (back, tummy, arm, bottom, hand, foot and leg).

Childhood Reading Series: 7 bilingual picture books
Bilingual Reading – Kevin Travels in the Sea (Chinese/English)

My twins quickly learn to name their body parts and the names of those sea animals. They burst in laughing when I showed them the page where an octopus pulls Kevin’s legs and shoots out black ink at him.

They kept saying “Kevin looks like a scary monster” when I flipped to the page where the shark is caught up in surprise by Kevin who is covered with black ink from top to toe.

Childhood Reading Series: 7 bilingual picture books
Bilingual Reading – Kevin Travels in the Sea (Chinese/English)

Where Is the Paper Airplane? teaches children understand the concepts of location and space,  such as “down”, “in”, “under”, “behind”, “up”, “by”, “between”, “in front of”, “over” and “on”. Quickly, my twins can say those words in Chinese.

Childhood Reading Series: 7 bilingual picture books
Bilingual Reading – Where Is the Paper Airplane? (Chinese/English)

What is My Missing Part? teaches children to recognize shapes, namely,  circle, triangle, oval, hexagon, square, rectangle and diamond. After reading this book, my twins love to point out shapes in their surroundings. One day, Yanyan happily held a lollipop and happily exclaimed “circle” in Chinese! 🙂

Childhood Reading Series: 7 bilingual picture books
Bilingual Reading – Where Is the Paper Airplane? (Chinese/English)

They Go Camping Together shows children the opposites via a lovely story. My twins easily learn to speak 10 sets of opposites (big/small, long/short, old/new, dirty/clean, wet/dry and etc.) in days.

Childhood Reading Series: 7 bilingual picture books
Bilingual Reading – They Go Camping Together (Chinese/English)

There are Ten Potatoes help children with numbers and math. The books begins with ten potatoes underground. The mouse digs up one potato. There are nine potatoes left. The rabbits dig up one potato. There are eight potatoes left. It is going on and on, until all the potatoes are taken and there is zero underground.

When I read this book to children, I ask them “how many potatoes are left?” I ask twins to put down their fingers from a stretching hand when the numbers of potatoes is getting smaller and smaller.

One day, I suddenly change the question “how many holes are there?” I ask twins to put up fingers from a folding fist when the number of empty holes is getting bigger and bigger.

Childhood Reading Series: 7 bilingual picture books
Bilingual Reading – There are Ten Potatoes (Chinese/English)

All seven picture books are both in Chinese and English. Different from other bilingual books that print English together with Chinese, this series has the Chinese side with the pictures, while put all the English sentences into the middle in the form of stickers.

In this way, English-speaking parents can help children match the English stickers with their Chinese counterparts by guessing from the pictures, offering interactive fun.

Childhood Reading Series: 7 bilingual picture books
Bilingual Reading – I Want to Go Home (Chinese/English)

The illustrations of the seven books are appealing and engaging, full of creativity, vivid colors, and charming figures.  The text is simple with a poetic touch that delights as it invites young readers and listeners to participate actively.

Overall, these seven bilingual picture books offer an enjoyable introduction for young children to learn objects, colors, body parts, locations and space, shapes, opposites and numbers. They are also excellent choices to learn both Chinese and English.

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