This is an incomplete list of all the Level 5 books available from the Tacoma Public Library; it’ll be updated as I keep reading them.
From Extensive Reading in Japanese, the definition of a Level 5 book:
Level 5: Beginning at this level, material is quantitatively and qualitatively different from the lower levels. Level 5 books usually have more than 100 pages and fewer illustrations. Some kanji have furigana, but not all of them. Stories are fully developed and more detailed. Japanese native readers would be ten to thirteen 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.
Let’s Go Walking!
作：北 ふうこ（きた ふうこ, Kita Fūko）
絵：岡本 美子（おかもと よしこ, Okamoto Yoshiko）
Level 5 本, 83 pages, 5,600 words (est.)
Takeshi’s family moves to the country to be closer to his grandpa and for the benefit of his asthmatic sister Akane; it’s nothing like their old home and it’s hard to get used to, but the more time he spends there, walking with his sister and grandpa and learning about things like what color cucumber flowers are and how to make bamboo dragonflies, the more he comes to like the country life. I just love these books that are essentially a peek inside a family’s day-to-day life, even if there’s not much plot in the way I’m used to thinking about it.
Suzu and Rin’s Secret Recipe!
作：堀 直子（ほり なおこ, Hori Naoko）
絵：木村 いこ（きむら いこ, Kimura Iko）
Level 5 本, 140 pages, 6,100 words (est.)
Suzu’s dad is so busy with his new restaurant that he has to live there, and Suzu learns that she likes to cook for her mom and two sisters as well as her beloved dog, Rin. Her friend suggests that she enter a cooking contest, and Suzu can’t help but think it would be an opportunity to prove the power of rice to a critic who recently panned her dad’s restaurant for featuring it…
- 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
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