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Book Review: Squid for Brains Chapter Books

This review looks at the Squid for Brains Readers (also called Mandarin Chapter Books) published by none other than Squid for Brains.  These are different from the Squid for Brains Picture Books which I’ve reviewed earlier, however the Readers are just as zany and unique.

One thing I try really hard to do with this blog is to share content about resources which have been helpful to our family and for which very little information exists; this Squid For Brains series is certainly one of those gems.

Key Information on Squid for Brains Chapter Books

Background to Squid for Brains Chapter Books

Squid for Brains is the brainchild of Dr Terry Waltz, a talented translator, interpreter and language educator extraordinaire. The intent of all Dr Waltz’s books is to have readable and accessible content for students learning Chinese as a second language.   The books are cemented in the theory of comprehensible input to gain fluency in a language, and having meaningful literature for beginners (for older children and adults, especially).

Comprehensible input in Chinese is a rare genre – it means purposefully written books for an older learner, that are more interesting and longer than children’s literature, but deliberately simpler in vocabulary.  As a Chinese language teacher of 30+ years, Dr Waltz has written these books for use in her middle school and adult classes and has mastered this type of literature.

Specifically these Chinese Readers focus on high-frequency vocabulary used during year 1 of most American middle school / high school Chinese programs.

Synopsis of Squid for Brains Simplified Chinese Readers

What my daughter likes about the series

What a parent will like about Squid for Brains Simplified Chinese Readers

Pinyin is shown on the reverse page from the Chinese characters
Easy-to-reference glossary at the back of the books

Insides of the Squid For Brains Readers

Example page from Susan, one of the easier books in the Squid for Brains Reader series
Example page from Susan’, one of the easier books in the Squid for Brains Reader series
Example page from Kaleo, one of the most difficult books in the Squid for Brains Reader series
Example page from Josh, the most difficult books in the Squid for Brains Reader series

Some watch outs and considerations

Where to buy Squid for Brains Chinese books

I bought ours direct from Squid for Brains website.    There are some copies on Amazon and other online bookstores, but largest variety is at the author’s website herself.

If my child likes this, what are other similar books in Simplified Chinese?

Some books which my children have enjoyed at a sort-of-similar reading level are:

I hope you found this introduction to Squid for Brains Readers helpful. I would also love to know what other books you think are great at this same emergent reader level for older children. Please share any ideas below. I”d love for this page to be a resource to sharing other book at a similar level.

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