Every so often, parents ask other parents, "How did you...?" or "What do you do when...?" This section of the website is a compilation of FAQs, journalistic endeavors, and "hey, this is what worked for us." Note that each family, child, and situation is unique... so what worked for us may not work for you. But we're happy to share some things that helped us along the way.

How do you determine readability? (i.e., Is this language level appropriate for my child?)

The easiest method to check readability for your child is the “Five Finger Rule.” Have the child begin reading aloud any page of a book at random and raise your finger each time he or she struggles with a word. If your child reaches the end of the page before you have raised five fingers, your child should be able to read the book independently. (Source: JHU Center for Talented Youth)

Books by Age

Here are a few of the gifts that we've enjoyed giving (and receiving)...

1 / For Babies and One-Year-Olds

  • Indestructible book (Baby Animals) - made of Tyvek, so kids can chew on it, drool, wrinkle, etc., and you can even stick it in the dishwasher

    • Content: Baby animals and what you call them (e.g., dog/puppy, kangaroo/joey)

    • Language Level: One word per animal

2 / For Two-Year-Olds

3 / For Three-Year-Olds

4 / For Four-Year-Olds

  • Princess in Black - features a monster-fighting princess in disguise (black) with a rather droll commentary

    • Content: Princess Magnolia and her diverse friends band together to fight different kinds of monsters, with lots of onomatopoeia

    • Language Level: Simple sentences and short paragraphs

  • Fancy Nancy - features a fun girl who likes to dress up and "be fancy," with random vocabulary words

    • Language Level: Simple sentences and short paragraphs

5 / For Five-Year-Olds

  • Princess in Black (see above)

  • Katie Woo - a series with lots of books about a Chinese girl with glasses and her friends JoJo and Pedro as she tackles social and emotional dilemmas (e.g., a bully, not being nice, etc.)

6 / For Six-Year-Olds

  • Scratch and Sketch: All About Me - lets you scratch away the black part to draw in glittery patterns underneath

  • Dragon Masters (Book 1 = Rise of the Earth Dragon) - featuring a diverse cast of dragon master kids who each connect with a dragon that has a power with some element of nature (earth, fire, air, water, sun, moon, lightning, thunder, poison, etc.)

7 / For Seven-Year-Olds

  • Cam Jansen (Book 1 = Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds) - girl with a photographic memory solves crimes

  • Boxcar Children - four children run away and live with lots of fun ideas in an abandoned train car

  • Tales of Brave and Brilliant Girls Around the World - featuring Mulan, Nanabolele, Vasilisa, Moremi, Tokoyo. (This is an Usborne book, so you can potentially get it from an Usborne consultant:

  • Illustrated Stories from China - Chinese folk tales, featuring brush painting by a professor in Shanghai

  • Notebook of Doom (Book 1 = Rise of the Balloon Goons) - three kids fight innovative monsters, with detailed drawings of monster strengths and weaknesses, such as the jampire.

  • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

  • Cute as an Axolotl - features different animals that are astoundingly cute (one page of photo, and one page of fun facts)

8 / For Eight-Year-Olds

  • Encyclopedia Brown (Book 1 = Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective) - an elementary school boy that doesn't forget anything he learns solves mysteries for the town police and kids

Books by Level in Table

The "appropriate ages" is something that we solely base on our children. If you have questions, feel free to ask!

To see the spreadsheet in a new window, mouse over it and click on the icon with a square that has an arrow pointing up and out.

Books by Level

Books by Content

We are always on the look-out for good educational books, books that have diverse protagonists and feature multicultural kids, and books that react when you do something (like press a button).



Pictures and a few complicated sentences


Toddler Picture Books

Toddler Music Books

  • Bao Bao Learns Chinese (blue) - features a soothing voice that sings nursery rhymes in Chinese, with classic children's songs from America and China: I'm A Little Tea Pot (我是一个小茶壶), Good Baby Rabbit (小兔子乖乖), If You Are Happy And You Know It (如果感到幸福你就拍拍手), Happy New Year (新年好), My Dear Mama (我的好妈妈) and You Are My Sunshine (你是我阳光). Our 3 y/o and 7 y/o loved these and memorized all of the songs in a few weeks.

  • Bao Bao Learns Chinese (red) - features a soothing voice that sings nursery rhymes in Chinese, with classic children's songs from America and China: Itsy-Bitsy Spider (小小的蜘蛛), Two Tigers (两只老虎), Row Row Row Your Boat (划, 划, 划小船), Find A Friend (找朋友), Mama is the Best In This World (世上只有妈妈好) and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (一闪一闪小星星).

Beginning Reader (e.g., a few sentences per page)

  • Round is a Mooncake - describes shapes in the context of Asian culture/things you may find around the house

  • Red is a Dragon - about colors in the context of Asian culture

  • Sparkle Town Fairies: Alice the Amber Fairy - Alice and her family look Asian; the book is about Alice the inventor being true to herself amidst the family tradition of winning a prestigious music contest; also features a lot of fun sounds

  • Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao

Illustrated Longer Books

  • Cora Loves Pancit

Early Chapter Books



Toddler Picture Books

  • Numeros

Complicated Picture Books




For Kindergarten to 3rd Grade