Level 2 Japanese Children’s Books Available from the Pierce County Library
This is an incomplete list of all the Level 2 books available from the Pierce County 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.
Miffy and Melanie
Level 2 絵本, 26 pages, 180 words (est.) ★★★★☆ Hardcover
I actually started trying out extensive reading last spring, when I lived in Ann Arbor, and the A2 library system had four or five of these translations of the Miffy books. I loved them! Reading them almost as quickly as I could read English made me happy. By now I am only reading picture books out of a vague sense of obligation to my poorly thought-out resolution of reading all the Japanese children’s books in the Tacoma library, but when I saw this one on the Pierce county library shelf I couldn’t help but check it out.
A Harp Seal Mother and Child
写真：福田 幸広（ふくだ ゆきひろ, Fukuda Yukihiro）
文：結城 モイラ（ゆうき もいら, Yūki Moira）
Level 2 絵本, 28 pages, 500 words (est.) ★★★★☆ Hardcover
I’ve got a strong preference for this kind of level 2 book with regards to adult extensive reading, and not just because there is an adorable picture of an upside-down baby seal: it’s nice to follow a baby seal’s life and learn something new at the same time you’re practicing Japanese.
- 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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