Currently viewing the category: "Extensive Reading Resources"

I suppose it’s a little too similar to my previous post, but registration for the 2013 Tadoku Contest round 4 is open! Milo is gradually switching to taking one nap a day, instead of two naps a day, but I should still have time to get some reading in.

EhonNavi now has over 1,000 Japanese picture books available for free! If you are new to tadoku, whatever your ability level is, it’s probably one of the best ways to start. I find that word count is, with a few exceptions, the best way to judge a book’s difficulty level, and so I’ve been reading through them and sorting them by estimated word count. So if you’re a beginning learner, pick out a book from the list! If it turns out to be too hard, find one with fewer words, and if it’s too easy, find one with more words. If you’re advanced enough not to need this kind of guidance, Ehon Navi split the available books by age and that’s probably the best way to find ones within your level. Either way, don’t forget Sakai-sensei’s tadoku guidelines: don’t look up words while reading, skip parts you don’t understand, and if you’re not enjoying the book, get another one.

To access all these free books, you’ll have to register. For help with this, please see my registration walkthrough. And don’t forget that the site is finicky; they want you to be using Windows and Firefox and it might not work otherwise, you have 15 minutes to load the story, and you can only read a story once. For more information on how to successfully use the page, please refer to the EhonNavi entry in my list of reading material.

Tagged with:
 

All of these books are available for free online, once you’ve signed up for EhonNavi. Click here for my EhonNavi registration walkthrough. To read the book, find the orange button marked 全ページためしよみする, but be aware you can only read the book once and EhonNavi is rather buggy, or maybe just picky; they recommend IE or Firefox on Windows. They’re sorted by word count, because not all picture books are the same difficulty, and in my experience it’s the quickest way to find out how hard the book really is. In the interest of not taking forever to catalog them, I just have the name translation and word count.

I’ve added a ♬ next to books I think have some cultural content. This is pretty subjective, of course.
I’ve added a ❤ next to books I particularly liked.

Continue reading »

 

Help me expand this list! If you know of anywhere outside Japan where you can buy or borrow Japanese children’s books, or if you have more information about any of the places already on this list, e-mail me and let me know. Please include a link, if possible, and a general idea of things like how big the store is or how many books are available. (If it’s a library, see if there’s a way to search for all Japanese children’s books: for example, with the Tacoma library, if you search for “JAJ” (JApanese Juvenile) all the available books are returned.)

USA

California

Costa Mesa

  • Kinokuniya: I’ve never been to this location but I presume it’s like the one in Seattle: that is, a spectacular source for new Japanese books, including children’s books and manga.

Los Angeles

San Francisco

  • San Francisco Public Library – Western Addition Branch: Only this branch specializes in Japanese books. It is west of SF Japan town. There are hundreds of Japanese kids books. They have all levels from kid’s picture books to juvenile books. They also have adult level books in a different section. (Thanks to Wayne for the description!)
  • Kinokuniya: It’s been many years since I’ve been to this location, but like the Seattle branch, it was, and presumably still is, a huge Japanese-language bookstore with a good selection of children’s books and manga.

San Jose

Michigan

Ann Arbor

Novi

  • Mirai: medium-sized store with a good amount of new and some used books.

New York

New York City

Oregon

Portland

Tennessee

Nashville

  • The Nashville Public Library: has about 20 children’s books in Japanese, ranging from high level 1 to low level 3. These seem to all be at the main branch. Not much, but it is a place to start. (Thanks to e_dub_kendo for the description!)
  • McKay Used Books: I can’t speak for their other 2 locations, but the Nashville location is an enormous used book store, with an entire bookcase of Asian books. Generally these are about 70% Japanese. I usually only find 1 or 2 children’s books per visit, but there’s always plenty of manga. Prices are incredibly cheap. Generally I pay less than $1 per book. Sometimes you can find manga and light novels in really decent condition being sold for .25 cents. Definitely a resource worth checking out. (Thanks again to e_dub_kendo!)

Washington State

Pierce County

  • Pierce County Library: there are around 800 Japanese books of all levels spread among the various branches, though I can’t say how many of those are children’s books. The Lakewood branch and University Place branch seem to have the most.

Tacoma

Seattle

 

I’ve come across various books that are collections of short stories or essays designed for different elementary school grades, and I think that they might be useful for those of us doing extensive reading in Japanese.

Pros:

  • Because they’re divided by grade, you already have a good idea of how difficult they’ll be.
  • I’ve read two of these kinds of books; they were both level 3 by my system, but both of them had more content than the average level 3 book, which usually has around 1,000 – 3,000 words: “New Stories That Linger In The Heart for First Graders” had around 5,300 words and “Heartwarming Stories for Second Graders” had around 4,700. So at least at the lower grades, one of these books will most likely last you longer than an average book.
  • They seem to be fairly widely available (I haven’t checked every book on my list, but Kinokuniya had both of the books that I’ve read), not too expensive new, and if you can get them used many of them are extremely cheap.
  • They’re divided into different stories by different authors, so one book gives you not just varying subjects to amuse yourself with, but also examples of how short stories in Japanese are written and what different writing styles are like.
  • There are fewer pictures; depending on your reading level this might be a good thing or a bad one, but it does mean that there’s more room for words.
  • There are different kinds of collections: some based on literature, some about science, and even some about ghosts.
  • If you try one book and particularly enjoy it, finding the next book is as simple as moving up a grade or seeing if there are more books at the same grade in a related series; you might also be able to look up other books by an author who particularly caught your attention.

Cons:

  • Of the two books I’ve read, not all of the stories were extremely interesting in and of themselves, and I’d go so far as to call “Heartwarming Stories for Second Graders” boring (and my threshold for being amused is generally pretty low). I am sure that some series are better than others, but I think that these are probably the kinds of things you read to add to your general ability and not so much for their own sake. The books generally felt, to me, like extensions of what kids might read in school, so they had that vibe of “what adults think would be beneficial for proper child development.” That can be a good point if you’re interested in Japanese educational culture or want to try to mimic that experience. (If you want fart jokes instead, my Zorori series review is right this way.)
  • Just because these are for kids doesn’t necessarily mean they’re easy: I would recommend that someone new to extensive reading get some experience reading shorter stories or graded readers before tackling even the ones for first graders, because with less pictures and more text, even the book for first-graders I read was on the harder end of level 3.
  • e_dub_kendo points out that that they have the potential to get pretty repetitive, especially if you pick up some of the more specialized ones like the collections of fairy tales.

I’m going to list as many of these series as I can find, but I’ve only read two of these books: if you read any of them, feel free to send me a short review with what kinds of stories it had, what level it was, the approximate number of words and your rating. Also, if you find any other series like these, let me know and I’ll add them.

I’ve added Amazon links because it’s easier to collect them all in one place this way, I like to be able to see the covers and I certainly wouldn’t complain if someone used the links to order through (as an affiliate I get a percentage), but check around for the most cost-efficient way to buy before you actually order any of these, because the odds are good it’s not Amazon. Click here for suggestions on where to find these books.

新心にのこる◯年生の読みもの
New Stories That Linger In The Heart For 1st-6th Graders
The book for first graders had ten short stories, and the subjects were varied: there were standard pieces of short fiction, a non-fiction piece, some folk tales and a story by Nankichi Niimi, a famous children’s author. (This one: 一年生たちとひよめ. It was unabridged, but had fewer kanji.) Had a soft cover, so would cost less to ship if shipping costs are calculated by weight. ★★★★☆
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


なぜ?どうして?科学のお話 ◯年生
Why? How? Scientific Stories for 1st-6th Graders
I haven’t read any of these, but Kanjiguy highly recommended the one for first-graders. Each story was about 2-3 pages long, so with 183 pages that’s quite a few stories!
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


10分で読めるお話 ◯年生
Stories You Can Read In 10 Minutes for 1st-6th Graders
Fembassist has been reading these, and says they’re mostly short stories from Japan.
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


10分で読める名作 ◯年生
Classics You Can Read In 10 Minutes for 1st-6th Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


10分で読める物語 ◯年生
Tales You Can Read In 10 Minutes for 1st-6th Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


10分で読める伝記 ◯年生
Biographies You Can Read In 10 Minutes for 1st-6th Graders
This series isn’t completely available yet, but I assume they’ll be going to 6th grade eventually!
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


なぜ?どうして? みぢかなぎもん◯年生
Why? How? Answers to Everyday Questions for 1st-6th graders
Another new series.
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


なぜ?どうして?科学なぞとき物語 ◯年生
Why? How? Stories about Solving Mysteries of Science for 1st-6th Graders
I guess someone has found that there’s really a market for books like these.
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


心があったかくなる話 ◯年生
Heartwarming Stories for 1st-4th Graders
The 2nd grade book of this series was level 3, 158 pages and 4,700 words (est.), and contained 14 stories. The stories were all slice-of-life short fiction, and, to me, weren’t as interesting or varied as the ones in 新心にのこる1年生の読みもの; it is pretty much what you would expect from a book with this kind of title. Hard cover. ★★☆☆☆
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


ほんとうに心があったかくなる話 ◯年生
Truly Heartwarming Stories for 1st-4th Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


心にしみるお母さんの話 ◯年生
Mother’s Heart-Piercing Stories for 1st-4th Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


読書の時間に読む本 小学◯年生
A Book To Read During Reading Time for 1st-6th Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


読書の時間に読む本〈2〉小学◯年生
A Book To Read During Reading Time (2) for 1st-6th Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


読んでおきたい ◯年生の読みもの
Must-Read Stories For 1st-6th Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


齋藤孝のイッキによめる!名作選 小学◯年生
Takashi Saitō’s Selection Of Classics To Read At One Go for 1st-6th Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


齋藤孝のイッキによめる!音読名作選 小学◯年生
Takashi Saitō’s Selection Of Classics To Read Aloud At One Go for 1st-3rd Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


米村でんじろうのイッキによめる! おもしろ科学 小学◯年生
Yonemura Denjirō’s Interesting Science To Read At One Go for 1st-3rd Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


日本のむかし話 ◯年生
Tales of Old Japan for 1st-3rd Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


◯年生の読みものー理科や算数が好きになる
Reading Material for 1st-6th Graders: Start To Enjoy Science And Math
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


おばけ・ゆうれい話 ◯年生
Ghost and Spirit Stories for 1st-3rd Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.



(There are also older versions of these that are very cheap used: おばけ・ゆうれい話〈1年生, おばけ・ゆうれい話〈2年生〉, おばけ・ゆうれい話〈3年生〉)

科学なぜどうして ◯年生
The Whys and Hows of Science for 1st-3rd Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


世界のわらい話 ◯年生
Funny Stories from Around The World for 1st-3rd Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.



(There are also older versions of these, although the used price for them isn’t always better than the used price for the newer ones. 世界のわらい話〈1年生〉, 世界のわらい話〈2年生〉, 世界のわらい話〈3年生〉)

グリム童話 ◯年生
Grimm Fairy Tales for 1st-3rd Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


アンデルセン童話 ◯年生
Andersen Fairy Tales for 1st-3rd Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


ことわざ物語 ◯年生
Proverb Tales for 1st-3rd Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


(There is an older version of this series as well, which may be cheaper used: ことわざものがたり 一年生 , ことわざものがたり 二年生 , ことわざ物語 三年生 )

イソップ童話 ◯年生
Aesop’s Fables for 1st-3rd Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


世界の名作童話 ◯年生
Famous Children’s Stories from Around The World for 1st-3rd Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.


親も子も読む名作 ◯年生の読みもの
Masterpieces for Parents and Children: Reading Material for 1st-6th Graders
Click here for other suggestions on where to find these books.