This is an incomplete list of all the Level 2 books available from the Seattle Public Library; it’ll be updated as I keep reading them.
From Extensive Reading in Japanese, the definition of a Level 2 book:
Level 2: Mainly hiragana and katakana text. If there are kanji, furigana is given for each kanji. The text is longer but still contains a lot of pictures to aid student comprehension. Japanese native readers would be five to eight years old.
I’ve added Amazon links for the benefit of having title images and just in case anyone wants to subsidize my reading, but if you’re interested in ordering any of these, I’d also recommend you look them up on Kinokuniya’s website and compare shipping costs. Also, all title translations are my own unless otherwise indicated, names are family name first, then given name, and 作 and 絵 mean “author” and “illustrator,” respectively.
The Yellow Bird
Level 2 絵本, 24 pages, 175 words (est.) ★★★★☆ hardcover
This one is by Dick Bruna, who did the Miffy books, and I do love the Miffy books (although I read them in Ann Arbor, so I haven’t written about them here) so I read this even though there’s no Miffy in it. A little yellow bird visits a farm and hears all about farm life from a friendly dog.
Spooky Town’s Slurpy Festival
Level 2 絵本, 32 pages, 350 words (est.) ★★★★★ Hardcover
This one was awesome, so it got its own review.
“Hermit Crab” Real Estate Agency
作：穂高順也（ほたかじゅんや, Hotaka Jun’ya）
絵：石井聖岳（いしいきよたか, Ishii Kiyotaka）
Level 2 絵本, 32 pages, 550 words (est.) ★★★★★ Hardcover
I pretty much just got this one because I like hermit crabs, but it was awfully cute, and a good example of how the right picture books can be a great foundation for more advanced reading; in this book, the reader learns the word for “real estate agency,” what a real estate agent does and how he or she talks, which is a better start than having to memorize twenty real-estate related words in difficult kanji all at once.
Why did I put “hermit crab” in quotes? Well, hermit crab is usually 宿借り, or “home-renter,” which makes sense if you know how hermit crabs move from shell to shell; this hermit crab is a 宿貸し, or “home-lender” because he’s in the business of finding other animals the perfect home!
Boris and the Blue Umbrella
Level 2 絵本, 28 pages, 140 words (est.) ★★★☆☆ Hardcover
I’ve mentioned my fondness for Dick Bruna’s books before: they’re on the easy end of level 2, but the sentences are complex enough to save them from level 1, and the Miffy books I came across in Ann Arbor were the first books that really made me understand the idea of extensive reading, so even though I’m beyond them at this point I can’t help but pick them up when I see them. In this book, Boris has various adventures with his blue umbrella.
We Can All Do Level 7!
作：宮川ひろ（みやかわひろ, Miyakawa Hiro）
絵：長谷川知子（はせがわともこ Hasegawa Tomoko）
Level 2 絵本, 40 pages, 700 words (est.) ★★★★☆ Hardcover
Atsuko has decreased use of her left arm and leg because of a childhood illness, so PE class is a challenge for her; when the class has to practice jumping over the vaulting box, she can barely make it over the first levels. (This is not a gadget I was aware of before, as I’m decidedly not a gymnast; it’s an adjustable hurdle, or 跳び箱.) Will she ever be able to pass level 7 along with her classmates? This one, as the word count indicates, is on the higher end of level 2.
- Extensive reading is known as 多読, or tadoku in Japanese. To try it, start with very easy books (ones with no more than two or three unknown words per page), and follow these principles:
1. Don’t look up words in the dictionary while reading.
2. Skip over parts you don’t understand.
3. If you aren’t enjoying one book, toss it aside and get another.
Find something to read!
Hundreds of free books and stories online
Local bookstores and libraries
Buying new and used books online
For more information, read "What Is Extensive Reading?" and "Classification System."
To learn more about Kunihide Sakai, who developed the three principles of tadoku and has worked to popularize it in Japan for years, read this interview with him.
Finally, for more than you ever wanted to know about why I believe extensive reading is worth your time, read my tadoku manifesto.
Superfluous StatsBooks read: 303
Word count (since starting the blog): 380,500
- About Myself
- Books from my own collection
- Classification System
- Detailed Reviews of Graded Readers
- Detailed Reviews of Level 2 Books
- Detailed Reviews of Level 3 Books
- Detailed Reviews of Level 4 Books
- Detailed Reviews of Level 5 Books
- EhonNavi Books
- Extensive Reading Basics
- Extensive Reading Materials Online
- Extensive Reading Paper Summaries and Notes
- Extensive Reading Resources
- Illustrated Reference Books
- Japanese Language Learning Resources
- Mini Reviews of Level 1 Books
- Mini Reviews of Level 2 Books
- Mini Reviews of Level 3 Books
- Mini Reviews of Level 4 Books
- Mini Reviews of Level 5 Books
- Mini-Reviews of Level 6 Books
- Nikkei Bunko Library Books
- Picture Books
- Pierce County Library Books
- Reading in a Foreign Language
- Seattle Library Books
- Short Stories
- Society and Culture
- Tacoma Library Books
- Tadoku Contest
- Weekly Updates