Where to find free eBooks and e-Magazines in Traditional Chinese for Kids

繁體整體中文兒童書繪本

For many of us outside of Asia, we do not have as much access to Traditional Chinese books, or the budget to buy as many as we would like. Fortunately, there are a hundreds of e-books and e-magazines that you that you can read for free online, and some are even available for download for you to keep forever.

Here are links to hundreds of free-eBooks and over a thousand e-magazines:

 

1. General Kids e-Books

HuayuWorld eBook 電子書城

In the eBook 電子書城 section, there are many ebooks available. You will need to set up an account to access them. eBooks and other resources available including textbook and educational storybooks covering topics such as:

 

Hong Kong Children’s Literature Series 《兒童文學叢書》 by the Hong Kong Public Library.

This collection comprises winning works from the writing competitions organized by HKPL. The 168 e-books can be read online (without registering) at the website of the Hong Kong Public Library.

《兒童文學叢書》

Storybooks Canada

Many Cantonese speakers know of Storybooks Canada for their Colloquial Cantonese stories. They do have also Standard Chinese stories in Traditional Chinese on the Hong Kong page of Storybooks. (There are 5 levels, 40 stories in all in Traditional Chinese, but the audio is only in Mandarin, not Cantonese. To learn more about the different versions of Storybooks that you can download, including colour version, black and white as well as how to download them most efficiently, please check out our review.  or go straight to the Storybooks Hong Kong香港故事書.)

 

Meizhou Huayu 美洲華語

There are Leveled Readers on the Meizhou Huayu website (which also offers free teaching resources based on the textbooks) –  about 71 short stories in total,  of which 48 come with audio. It takes a while to figure out the website (or rather, it took me a while) and to download the right files. I have more details about how to download the stories, and the audio in this blogpost. The website has been updated and videos (MP4s) are available in Mandarin (previous Adobe flash files have been removed).

美洲華語故事

 

Story Weaver

StoryWeaver from Pratham Books, is a platform where you can read, create, translate, or download thousands of books that are openly licensed under the Creative Commons 4.0 license. Over 100 of these are in Traditional Chinese. There is also a category “Cantonese -Traditional, but those I have taken a look at are also written in Standard Chinese. There are five reading levels. Please note that these books can be translated by anyone, so please check how well it is translated before reading. You can sort books by popularity or by the number of reads. You can also choose to translate books so that there will be more books for others to read. If you are translating books, I would urge you to categorize books written in Standard Chinese under Chinese- Traditional, and books written in Colloquial Cantonese under Cantonese- Traditional.

 

World Stories

There are 20 stories available in Cantonese (廣東話). Some are classic Chinese stories such as 月亮上的女子 and 神筆馬良. If you click Mandarin, the books appear in Simplified, so if you are a Mandarin speaker looking for Traditional Chinese, select Cantonese. The stories are rather wordy.

 

Maomi Books

A series of 4 board books written in Traditional Chinese, with Mandarin rhyming. The digital copies are generously made free for download during COVID. To download, visit their page and follow the instructions. These are really delightful stories for young kids.

 

Sunya 新雅

During the COVID lockdown, Sunya made a number of stories available for free in PDF (please note it is not the entire book, but a selection of stories from each book). The stories are categorized by age groups (3-66-9, and 9 and above).I’ve even come across one of the stories with a QR code that you can scan to hear the story.

 

2. E- magazines and periodicals

Children Paradise Magazines 《兒童樂園》

If you had spent any part of your childhood between 1950s to 1990s, you are likely to have read some of these magazines. Child Paradise was the first full-colour children’s magazine published in the territory. Now over a thousand issues published over four decades have been made available online, for you to download (from Google Drive). (Do note they take up a lot of space). All 1006 issues are also available to be read online at the Hong Kong Public Library website (without logging in) if you prefer not to download the files from Google Drive. The library edition has a watermark.

The Children’s Paradise features popular comics, historical stories, fairy tales, nursery rhymes and folk songs, comic strips, riddles, games, common knowledge etc. You can watch a short video clip (in Cantonese) about it on YouTube.

 

HuayuWorld 僑教雙週刊教材專區 Biweekly periodical 

This section has been changed to include animations and so on. Under the videos, look for ‘刊物’ to download the PDF. 30 past issues of the periodical are available here. There were more issues, but I can no longer find  them on the website. The past issues can be downloaded from the website as a PDF and each issue is about 8 pages. To download PDF , scroll to the bottom, of the page for each issue and look for the button ‘平面版 PDF 下載/列印’.  There is audio, in Mandarin, for some of the articles. to download the PDF.

 

3. Themed E-Books

A number of organizations have also developed a series of free e-books for kids to help promote certain messages.

Picture eBooks about Sustainability

There are three books by the Environmental Campaign Committee (Hong Kong)  available for download here :

環保童學 –環境運動委員會免費幼兒繪本

 

Picture eBooks on Healthy Living

The “StartSmart Series” of  bilingual storybooks is developed by the  Department of Health for promoting healthy diet among children. These are suitable for reading to young children, and includes parent tips.

 健康教育教材故事書

There’s also a Cook and Move Smart with Your Kids! – kid-friendly and healthy recipe guide. If you are looking for more resources on health, check out this Exercising and Staying Healthy for kids – Cantonese and Chinese Resources blogpost.

 

Picture e-Books and Audio Books on Moral Education

The ICAC Moral Education 德育資源網 website includes

  • Picture e-Books – You can download various picture books in PDF as well as accompanying worksheets. Some of the earlier books also include online games
  • Audio ebooks  – you can listen to the books read in either Cantonese or Mandarin, and download the PDFs. Books are categorized into  幼稚園/初小 (kindergarten and lower Primary)  and 高小 (Upper Primary)

Of note, is  a set of four-volume moral education picture books (《野豬麵包店》, 《只有繩子的玩具箱?》, 《你先 我先》, 《花開的時候》) for kindergarten children and elementary school students. These books were published in 2020 in partnership with parent-child education experts and local illustrators. They depicts scenes, shops, vehicles and animals that Hong Kong children are familiar with. Then through simple and easy-to-understand short stories, the children are introduced to positive values ​​such as sharing, caring, fairness, and keeping. At the end of each picture book, there are a list of references relating to the story, as well as post-reading activities. There are also tips for parents when reading to their children.

I saw that they also have Comics for teens, though I have not looked into that, as it is not relevant for us.

廉署德育資源網中文故事繪本

 

Picture eBooks on Social and Emotional Skills Development 幼兒社交情緒發展

To date, three books have been developed by the Centre for Child and Family Science.

COVID related stories

Lots of ebooks about COVID as well as some Back to School books to help young children make sense of what is happening. I have covered this in a previous blogpost – there are various storybooks, activity books, and parents guides.  Some are in Chinese only, some are bilingual.

3. Borrowing e-Books and e-Magazines

If you are looking for other books, you can consider borrowing eBooks and e-Audiobooks from the library. Both adults and kids books are available. Here are some libraries that have Hyread, an eBook platform in Traditional Chinese for adults, teens, and children. HyRead offers Chinese language eBooks, multimedia enhanced eBooks, and eMagazines from over 600 publishers popular in Taiwan and Hong Kong (China).
Libraries that have the service include all public and college libraries in Taiwan, Hong Kong Public Library, Macau Public Library, National Library in Singapore, and some US libraries (e.g. Santa Clara, Queens, Los Angeles). These are some of what I had found on google, so you can check your local library to see if they offer it. Please note the platform is entirely in Traditional Chinese.
Here are details of some of the libraries where you can access HyRead:

HuayuWorld – HyRead

You can (easily) register for an account and borrow eBooks here. The loan period is 7 days, with 3 renewals allowed for ebooks and one for e-magazines. Both adult and kids books are available. From last check, there are 411 親子童書 (parent-children books). Books are to be read online.

Taipei Library – HyRead

If you wish to access this library, I recommend you read Guavarama’s post Accessing Taipei Library ebooks for free.

Hong Kong Public Library – HyRead

If you are a Hong Kong PR who meet certain requirements, you can borrow e-books from Hyread via the Hong Kong library. Check the website to see if you qualify, as well as instructions on how to register. You can also watch the instructions in Cantonese on YouTube.  If you succeed, you can access HyRead  and a few other digital resources.

Have I missed anything?

If you know of any other free, and legal, sources for e-Books for kids in Traditional Chinese, please let me know, and I’ll add them to the list, so that more people can enjoy Traditional Chinese books.

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