Are there any resources for students of Mandarin Chinese that allow them to listen or read Chinese news or literature in simple versions, preferably in podcast or e-book format respectively?

By that I do not mean Simplified Chinese as used in Mainland China, but rather what is known e.g. as Français facile in the case of French, i.e. resources that employ only well-defined, limited sets of words to support students in their initial encounters.

Resources aligned with the HSK levels would be most valuable for me at this time. I am currently aware of the Graded Chinese Readers mentioned here, but of no other material. What I'd like best is a simple/graded podcast from the BBC World Service, say ...

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    Good question. I don't have an answer, but I'd like to butt in before others do offer some suggestions: Little kids books are really pretty bad for language learners, in my experience. The educational system seems designed to pack useless chengyu in children's heads from an early age. Jan 16, 2013 at 7:01
  • I see your point, and these abbreviated works (e.g. Les Miserables in 1,500 mots) cannot do the authors any real justice. On the other hand they got me (as an adult student and avid reader) started in French, so there is definitely an upside as well. In my experience interests and sources of motivations differ widely between students, so it is important to offer a whole range of choices. Here is another fun one: podcast with daily news in Latin from Finland :)
    – Drux
    Jan 16, 2013 at 7:49

1 Answer 1


小王子 (Xiao3 Wang3 zi: Little Prince), 还游世界八十天 (huan2 you2 shi4 jie4 ba shi2 tian: Around the World in 80 Days) by 企鹅 (qi3 e2: Penguin) books were pretty interesting books.

They aren't too packed with useless ChengYu (idioms), and tell a nice story (They also have some pictures... Which I find really helpful in pairing with Chinese to remember). You can download them on your smart phone and read them there.

If you have Android, download the Hanping Pro for like $.99... will help you with any characters you don't understand.

I'd also recommend you read some 漫画 (man4 hua4:Manga)... The pictures along with the words are great for learning.

  • +1 esp. for suggestion about Manga.
    – Drux
    Jan 17, 2013 at 0:25
  • +1 When I said "Little kids books", I meant the kind they're forced to read for school. Your suggestion is great! I recall reading some of a book of translated folk tales (Ali Baba was one of them), and I thought the level of reading was quite appropriate. Jan 17, 2013 at 17:55
  • it should be 环游 not 还游...
    – phoeagon
    Dec 11, 2013 at 15:17

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