MCBD 2023 Book Review: First Mandarin Sounds and Little Bun

by | Blog, Teaching Chinese at Home

Having regular reading time with kids is a top priority in our Chinese learning journey. When things are chaotic at home, I may skip lessons and planned activities but will make time for reading.

Today, I’m excited to share with you two Chinese English bilingual children’s books, both written by “Miss Panda” Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, that are worth adding to your home library.

In this blog post, I’m going to give you a detailed review of each book and show you how they can help teach your kids Chinese.

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First Mandarin Sounds: An Awesome Chinese Word Book


First Mandarin Sounds: An Awesome Chinese Word Book focused on helping kids learn sounds and words in Mandarin Chinese. Amanda combines both Mandarin sounds and Chinese words to help kids understand the content in a playful way.

This book contains 37 important sounds (22 consonants 15 vowels) of Mandarin Chinese. With each sound introduced, you will receive a Chinese word with its picture, a romanization symbol (pinyin), and mini-game.

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37 Sounds You are Going to Learn


  • b
  • p
  • m
  • f
  • d
  • t
  • n
  • l
  • g
  • k
  • h
  • j
  • q
  • x
  • zh
  • ch
  • sh
  • r
  • z
  • c
  • s



  • i
  • u
  • ü
  • a
  • o
  • e
  • ye
  • ai
  • ei
  • ao
  • ou
  • an
  • en
  • ang
  • eng
  • er

What Age Group is this book for?

I would say from age 0-10, and any older kids and adults that are beginner level who want to continue to learn.



What language versions can you get?

  • English, Traditional Chinese and Pinyin
  • English, Simplified Chinese and Pinyin



What I love about this book

Simple & Fun

I love how the focal point of this entire book is to learn the sounds and pronunciation of Mandarin Chinese . All other components (pictures, romanization symbols, and English translation) focus on helping the reader learn pronunciation.

Amanda didn’t overload the information in the book. She makes it simple, fun, and less overwhelming for the reader.


Use Visualization

I also love how Amanda placed each letter of the sound within a picture. It helps us make connections and improve memorization because the letters stand out.

For examples:

Rabbit (tùzǐ): The consonant “t” is part of the rabbit’s nose.

Goose (é): The consonant “e” is part of the goose’s neck.



There is an audio recording of 37 sounds for us to listen and practice to. The quality of the audio is easy to follow and crystal clear.

When I first played the audio, my 4 year old walked in and started to sound it out loud with the speaker. That’s so cute!


Supplementary support

This is not another bilingual Chinese book; it allows parents and children to sound out each word. I’m so glad to see all the supplementary support that goes along with this book.

  • Introduction (Must Read!): It shows you how to use this book effectively.
  • Glossary: It includes a complete list of all sounds and words from this book. There are also 15 suggested Chinese sentences for us to use.
  • Pronunciation chart: It includes English, Pinyin, and Zhuyin.
  • Audio: I have mentioned above.
  • Exclusive bonuses: It includes some extra printables to practice with.





How would this book benefit your kids to learn Chinese at home?

Parents First

Mandarin is not my native language, so for parents like me, it’s a great book to use when learning each sound. With practice and consistency, we will feel more confident talking to our kids in Mandarin Chinese.


First Chinese Bilingual to Own

For both fluent and non-fluent families, overseeing our kids’ pronunciation is top priority. I will start to read this book and teach my kids each sound, so they practice pronunciation. The best thing about the book is the “look & find” mini-game. Kids can practice the sound and word while playing I-Spy with three sets of Chinese characters hidden within a picture.


Applying Chinese in Our Family Conversation

If your child needs more challenging material, you can use the 15 Chinese pattern sentences while reading this book.

You can ask questions and ask your kids to respond in Mandarin Chinese.




What would I want more from this book?

The only thing I can think of is videos. Videos allow us to see how the lips, teeth, and mouth move when we pronounce each sound. I have read a lot of research that suggests that babies learn to speak while watching other’s lips. It’s good for both kids and adults.

The book itself is brilliant.



Where can you get this book?

Little Bun: A Bilingual Storybook about Feelings

Little Bun: A Bilingual Storybook about Feelings is a Chinese bilingual children’s book that teaches kids how to express their emotions with a steam bun.

It shows the characteristics, common body language, behaviors, and actions that come with each emotion.



These are the 12 emotions that mentioned from the book

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  • 開心 (kāi xīn) happy
  • 不開心 (bù kāi xīn) not happy
  • 興奮 (xīng fèn) excited
  • 擔心 (dān xīn) worried
  • 驚訝 (jīng yà) surprised
  • 害怕 (hài pà) scared
  • 勇敢 (yǒng gǎn) brave
  • 害羞 (hài xīu) shy
  • 好奇 (hào qí) curious
  • 生氣 (shēng qì) angry
  • 傷心 (shāng xīn) sad
  • 累 (lèi) tired




What Age Group is this book for?

  • 2-6 years old



What language versions can you get?

  • English, Traditional Chinese and Pinyin
  • English, Simplified Chinese and Pinyin



What I love about this book

Mother-daughter duo

Amanda and her daughter wrote this book together. They’re a dream team. I’m glad we can get both parent and child perspectives on how to talk, explain, and support our emotions.


Chinese Cultural Food

Steam buns are an iconic Chinese food that everyone loves. It’s a perfect character for a Chinese English bilingual book. It is attractive to kids because it’s cute and smooth.


Awareness of our emotions

This book allows us to teach our kids 12 emotional terms that we can use in daily life. It’s very useful.


Provides opportunities to talk about emotions

After introducing all 12 emotions, I love how the author ask the readers how they feel. That’s a perfect ending, and leaves us a moment to discuss our emotions together.


Audio support

Of course, it has high-quality audio that is easy to access, so we can use it to listen while reading.




How would this book benefit your kids to learn Chinese at home?

youdao dictionary pen 3 for learning Chinese

Incorporate into lessons and discussion

It’s a great book to introduce and incorporate into lessons/discussions at home. If you love creating hands-on activities after reading, there are exclusive materials available. You can easily create a mini lesson of your own.


Role play with parents and siblings while reading the books

Try to role play while reading this book with your kids and family. Each person can take turns to read an emotion, or parents can read it first and then kids can follow after.


Practice feeling words in the proper vocabulary of Chinese and English

For very young kids (age 0-1), I would pick out only the emotional vocabulary and short terms to teach.  Then, mention and name them again when the emotion appears in your daily life.

For young kids (2-4), I may add some fun hands-on activities to teach these emotions along with the book.

 For example,
  • Use playdough to make steam buns, and even have a pretend Chinese restaurant and kitchen.
  • Learn to make actual steam buns in the kitchen
  • Order steam buns in a Chinese restaurant
  • Play a family game: Have everyone taking turns acting out an emotion and have others guess what it is.

For older kids (5+), hold a one-on-one discussion with them and talk about their own emotions. Ask questions, share your past experiences, and discuss with them about what they can do when these emotions appear.




What would I want more from this book?

A recipe for steam buns: It would be nice to learn how to make the actual steam buns after reading. It could be a fun cultural activity for families.



Where can you get this book?

About the Author

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Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett is the founder of Miss Panda Chinese and the host of the Playful Chinese podcast. She is also the Chinese language consultant for NETFLIX Word Party dual language seasons.

Amanda, known as “Miss Panda,” has taught ESL and the Chinese language on four continents. She encourages children to play in Mandarin, experience early Chinese literacy, and connect with Chinese culture.

Amanda graduated from the University of Taiwan and Austin, Texas with a background in international communications and bilingual education. She’s certified 5/5 in the Chinese language by the Foreign Service Institute, Department of State.

She currently lives in Washington D.C. with her husband, two teens, one trilingual cat, and one bilingual parakeet.




About the MCBD


Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 (1/26/22) is in its 10th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

Ten years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Pragmaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (

🏅 Super Platinum Sponsor: Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media

🏅 Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages 

🏅 Gold Sponsors: Interlink Books, Publisher Spotlight 

🏅 Silver Sponsors: Cardinal Rule Press, Lee & Low, Barefoot Books, Kimberly Gordon Biddle

🏅 Bronze Sponsors: Vivian Kirkfield, Patrice McLaurin , Quarto Group, Carole P. Roman, Star Bright Books,, Redfin Canada, Bay Equity Home Loans,, Title Forward

Poster Artist:  Lisa Wee

Classroom Kit Poster: Led Bradshaw



MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Authors: Sivan Hong, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, Josh Funk , Stephanie M. Wildman, Gwen Jackson, Diana Huang, Afsaneh Moradian, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Eugenia Chu, Jacqueline Jules, Alejandra Domenzain, Gaia Cornwall, Ruth Spiro, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Tonya Duncan Ellis, Kiyanda and Benjamin Young/Twin Powers Books, Kimberly Lee , Tameka Fryer Brown, Talia Aikens-Nuñez, Marcia Argueta Mickelson, Kerry O’Malley Cerra, Jennie Liu, Heather Murphy Capps, Diane Wilson, Sun Yung Shin, Shannon Gibney, John Coy, Irene Latham and Charles Waters, Maritza M Mejia, Lois Petren, J.C. Kato and J.C.², CultureGroove, Lindsey Rowe Parker, Red Comet Press, Shifa Saltagi Safadi, Nancy Tupper Ling, Deborah Acio, Asha Hagood, Priya Kumari, Chris Singleton, Padma Venkatraman, Teresa Robeson, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Martha Seif Simpson, Rochelle Melander, Alva Sachs, Moni Ritchie Hadley, Gea Meijering, Frances Díaz Evans, Michael Genhart, Angela H. Dale, Courtney Kelly, Queenbe Monyei, Jamia Wilson, Charnaie Gordon, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Debbie Zapata, Jacquetta Nammar Feldman, Natasha Yim, Tracy T. Agnelli, Kitty Feld, Anna Maria DiDio, Ko Kim, Shachi Kaushik 

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

📌 FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

📌 Register for the MCBD Read Your World Virtual Party

Join us on Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 9 pm EST for the 10th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Read Your World Virtual Party!

This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away a 10-Book Bundle during the virtual party plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, and connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. We look forward to seeing you all on January 26, 2023, at our virtual party!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
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身为职业妈妈的我,常常牺牲睡眠来自作教材。版主全方位学习的新年教材真让我省下不少宝贵的时间找资料。四岁的女儿对中文学习有点抗拒。我们善用版主提供的迷你故事书和生字卡来增强她对语文的认识。版主的中文单词棋盘游戏更让女儿投入学习, 因为她想赢嘛!版主的教材可让小孩边玩边学, 太棒了。



This is the second 5-Day Challenge that we have done with Fortune Cookie Mom. Both have been very beneficial to our family. I am a homeschool mom of three little kids. We are not Chinese and do not speak any Chinese. With the help of Fortune Cookie Mom, we are slowly learning! The challenges have given me fun activities to do at home with the kids. Each one has reignited my kid's interest in learning. It has been a fun experience for everybody!


Homeschooling Mom of Three


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