Level 2 Japanese Children’s Books from Nikkei Bunko
This is an incomplete list of all the Level 2 books available from Nikkei Bunko, a Japanese-language library operated by the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington; 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 or YesAsia.com and compare prices and shipping costs. They may also be available at a library near you or be available through inter-library loan; you can look them up at WorldCat.org. 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 Cat with a Million Lives
作／絵：佐野 洋子（さの ようこ, Sano Yōko）
Level 2 絵本, 31 pages, 750 words (est.) ★★★★★ Hardcover
This book was recommended to me by a couple of people on lang-8, and quite a few people using 読書メーター (Reading Meter) have read it, so you could consider it one of those thoughtful, classic picture books that appeals to adults, and would therefore be a good book for an extensive reading collection. The cat of the title has lived a million lives, and been mourned by a million owners; he’s never cried once.
The One-Inch Boy
作：長谷川 彰（はせがわ あきら, Hasegawa Akira）
絵：金山 通弘（かなやま みちひろ, Kanayama Michihiro）
Level 2 絵本, 48 pages, 600 words (est.) ★★★☆☆ Hardcover
I don’t know why I felt the need to revisit this story — I guess I’m just a sucker for fairy tales. So-so pictures for this one, but more details compared to the version I read before.
- 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
- Extensive Reading group
- Goodreads Tadoku Group
- Overview of the "Start with Simple Stories" method
- Read More or Die
- Reading in a Foreign Language
- Tadoku Livejournal Community
- tadoku.org (in Japanese)
- Talk to the Clouds
- The Extensive Reading Foundation
- The Extensive Reading Pages
- 日本多読研究会 (Japanese Graded Readers Research Group)
Japanese Language Learning Resources