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Chinese Breeze (汉语风) Graded Readers


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  • 2 months later...

I'm finding these to be good resources, though I feel my grammar is a little weak for some of the sentences.

These books are also useful if you're doing language exchange. Take one you've read and have the Chinese speaker do Chinese->English translation on the fly. You can correct their word choice, grammar, and offer other ways to say things.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Since these appear (at least temporarily) dead in the water here are some options I've seen on the net. I've not tried them so offer no recommendation but I am intrigued as they seem along a similar path.

Chinese Biographies

http://www.cheng-tsui.com/store/products/chinese_biographies

Targeted at North American high school and college language learners, the Graded Reader Biographies seek to address the lack of Mandarin reading materials produced with that audience in mind. By focusing on international celebrities such as Yao Ming and Lang Lang, the biographies maintain a cultural context relevant to American students, allowing them to focus on bolstering their Mandarin reading skills while touching on contemporary issues.

These engaging biographies of Chinese cultural icons are designed for students who have mastered 350 to 700 characters. Pinyin annotation facilitates the reading process, making these Chinese character texts accessible at the earliest stages of learning. Each chapter is preceded and followed by comprehension questions to facilitate dialogue between teachers and students. The appendixes include additional exercises to improve students’ grammar and vocabulary. Perfect for classroom instruction or independent reading! Cheng & Tsui, 2010, B/W illustrations.

Tian Tian Zhongwen

http://www.mydiscoverchina.com/index.php?target=tiantianzhongwen

Tian Tian Zhongwen is a carefully graded Chinese reader series for high-elementary Chinese language learners and above. This anthology of stories contains a rich and colorful selection of enjoyable reading about China, covering a wide range of topics including modern China, ancient fables, history, culture lifestyle and the Chinese language. Besides gaining a greater insight into China, these stories help learners increase their Chinese reading and Simplified Chinese characters recognition skills through meaningful and stimulating contexts. Colorful illustrations to explain the main ideas of the story. Each book in the series contains 20 stories, divided into four levels
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wrbt, thanks for that. The Cheng & Tsui link looks very interesting as they also have some other graded reader series, along with previews of some of the books. Both "Readings in Chinese Culture Series" and "Tales and Traditions" look interesting. They appear to have the texts in both simplified and traditional.

The prices looked ridiculously cheap until I realised they were in US$, not HK$! But they still look worthwhile.

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The Cheng & Tsui link looks very interesting as they also have some other graded reader series, along with previews of some of the books. Both "Readings in Chinese Culture Series" and "Tales and Traditions" look interesting. They appear to have the texts in both simplified and traditional.
In Chinese class we're using the first Tales and Traditions volume for our reader. We've just gone through the first two stories. So far the grammar is a bit easier than 300-character Chinese Breeze books. Each story has simplified and traditional Chinese, a selected vocabulary, and a few questions. In the back there is a combined vocabulary, a short summary of each story in English, and each story in simplified, with pinyin under each character. If you have to choose, I would say the Chinese Breeze books are a better value if you're OK with simplified only, but both series seem useful.
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  • 3 months later...
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I recently purchased two of the books in this set, and I must say that I am rather pleased with them. Although they come off as cheaply made, they provide excellent reading exercise and plenty of characters to learn for those that have passed the beginner's level of Chinese.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 1 month later...

@elina -- I've enjoyed several of the earlier releases. Good job!

Last year and the year before I've always been able to find at least some of these fine books on the shelves of bookstores in Kunming. This year zero. Have made the rounds specifically inquiring about them. Seems as though they would be getting increasingly popular and easy to find; instead the opposite is happening, at least here. Is the distribution network changing?

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I don’t clearly know the distribution network in Kunming, I’m just guessing the following reasons make them not willing to take the trouble to sell the books:

1. As I mentioned in another thread, the speed of releasing every new book of Chinese Breeze is much slower than their expecting, the fact is that the authors of Chinese Breeze are very busy, each person may at the same time have several books to write for several different publishers. So the bookstores may be impatient to trace the new book to be published out.

2. The price of each book is cheap, for example, RMB 15.00 yuan, RMB 16.00 yuan, they may think the profit for selling the books is too little, so they don’t want to sell them.

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1. As I mentioned in another thread, the speed of releasing every new book of Chinese Breeze is much slower than their expecting,

2. The price of each book is cheap, for example, RMB 15.00 yuan, RMB 16.00 yuan, they may think the profit for selling the books is too little, so they don’t want to sell them.

They should charge more for these books. It seems that books fit a special niche that no one else has been able to effectively fill. In other words, they do not really have any competitors, which is why everyone continues to patiently wait for years for a new addition to the series.

These books are a lot harder to write than many of the run-of-the-mill language books out there. It's not easy to write interesting stories using only 250 or 500 characters.

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These books are a lot harder to write than many of the run-of-the-mill language books out there. It's not easy to write interesting stories using only 250 or 500 characters.

Indeed. I think these books are a kind of 宝贝, step by step, easy and funny to read, systematic, will be altogether over 60 books at 8 language levels planned to be printed, with free CD, cheap, etc., so we will trace each new book and upload it to our site at the very first time.

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Either something is really wrong with their marketing, or the authors are really low paid and the distributors takes the biggest chunk of the revenues, which results in the authors focusing on other projects not realizing how much value is in these Chinese breeze books. I think it's just bad management.

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Thanks for the update!

不谢!

the authors are really low paid and the distributors takes the biggest chunk of the revenues,

The publisher priced the books of cheap RMB 16.00 yuan, with 1 free CD, with a lot of hard work mentioned by Gato above, so I guess the authors may be not paid high, even if the authors take the big chunk of the revenues.

I think it's just bad management.

我反正信了 ;)

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