Submerge your child in a new language while following along with a childhood adventure
Dean & Ethan are not only on a learning journey, but they are plotting for an overseas adventure! Through language immersion a friendship is formed, but how will two young boys cope if they need to move apart from one another? Will their T.L. See plan work?
We are delighted to introduce you today to a series of travel adventure books written bilingually in English, Simplified Chinese and Pinyin. These beautifully illustrated children’s book series, authored by Dr Edna Ma, take on a unique childhood adventure of everyday children, learning and growing from their friendship.
What to expect from the Travel, Learn & See Book Series
There are currently two published books in the Travel, Learn and See series:
Travel, Learn and See Your Friends: Bilingual Adventure
A story about two first-graders attending a Mandarin Immersion school in the US, Dean and Ethan quickly become best of friends. Dean is ethnically Chinese American, and his reasons for learning Mandarin are more cultural whilst Ethan is an African-American and through his language journey, he learns about himself, his family, and the world.
The story is based on a real friendship between Dr. Ma’s son and his friend.
Whilst the characters are indeed diverse, and the Chinese culture is important, the focus of the story is on friendship and the dreams of adventure the two young boys share; it is far from your typical Chinese story and feels very relatable for small children.
Travel, Learn and See Shanghai: Mandarin Immersion Adventure
Next up, it looks like their T.L. See plan has worked! Dean and Ethan are now on an international adventure, taking them with sister Genevieve to experience Summer Camp in Shanghai. How will they settle with a new language and a new culture?
This second book explores deeper into the sibling dynamic, as well as cultural immersion and guiding children through many of the landmarks of Shanghai.
Coming Soon: The Great Wall
The next instalment of Dean, Ethan and Genevieve’s adventure will see them exploring the Great Wall of China – just a little snippet here of where they’ll be headed next!
Travel, Learn and See books are written by Edna Ma, translated by Jessica Feng Sanford and illustrations by Irfan Budhiharjo.
A review from a native Mandarin speake
Without speaking a word of Mandarin myself, I cannot directly comment on the Chinese translation and Pinyin, however, we understand there are regional differences and nuances that some may interpret differently.
I’ve called in the help of my friend Mel who grew up in Wuhan, China and is now raising her son in Australia to review these books too.
Like many Asian languages, the writing and phonetic system can be quite separate from one another. Added to the fact that there is a huge vocabulary based on old, middle and classical Chinese, it’s a very difficult language to learn. With or without a Chinese background, it’s important for kids to understand why they learn this language and how they would use it in different settings.
I could imagine myself reading these books with William and expand on why he learns Mandarin, compare the city of Shanghai and Melbourne geographically, culturally, economically etc. to him, and how learning Mandarin can help him understand more the differences.
Overall, I find these books very interesting with storytelling, rich in culture and diversity. And can be easily integrated with parents experiences while sharing with kids.
Who would the Travel, Learn & See book series suit?
In addition to children who are being raised bilingually with English and Mandarin, these storybooks would make an excellent gift for anyone considering Mandarin immersion programs for their children.
Additionally, families who are embarking on an expat journey to China, or any child with a curiosity around languages would benefit from and enjoy these bilingual adventure story books.
Globetrotters Recommend Travel, Learn & See
Beautiful written and presented books, we would see these stories as a wonderful addition to a bilingual household and an expat child’s bookshelf.
Of course, it’s not a proper children’s book review without the opinion of a child! I asked our Master L (8) to put these stories to the test;
I can’t read any of the Chinese but the story looks like the type of adventures I’d like to have with my friends so I think it’s good. I would find something like this really helpful if it was in Arabic too.
It is great to see books that cater to specific sectors of our Global community like this and we are sure for any of you about to embark on a China posting this will be an invaluable resource.
Where can I buy Travel Learn & See Bilingual Adventures
If you’d prefer a bilingual narration, pop on over here to hear Linda Yi of Panda Cub Stories narrating Travel, Learn and See Your Friends in English and Mandarin.
A little more about the author
Dr Edna Ma is a physician anesthesiologist and mom. Her inspiration to write a bilingual Chinese children’s book was her own son’s friendship after he enrolled in a Mandarin immersion school.
Although not a native speaker of Mandarin, she wanted to be able to read to her children in Mandarin. Finding a limited selection of books for this age group she set about creating her own to celebrate friendship and cultural diversity.
When’s she’s not in the operating room, she enjoys travelling with her family. You can learn more about Edna on her website www.ednama.com
Pop on over to our Expatriate Life section of the blog too to hear more fabulous tales and advice on living abroad with a family
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary e-copy of these books for the purposes of providing an honest review, all views are my own. I am an Amazon Associate and may earn a small commission on any purchases made at no additional cost to you. Our full terms and conditions can be found here.
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