Best Mandarin Chinese Textbooks You Can Get on Amazon

New Practical Chinese Reader (新实用汉语)

The New Chinese Practical Reader book, written by Liu Xun, is considered one of the most popular and classic Chinese textbooks on the market. It has an excellent mix of conversation, culture, reading and writing. The text emphasizes communication, starting with day to day situations.

This series of books has 6 levels. Level 1 and 2 are among the best ones in this series. Compared to the first two levels, level 5 and 6 are less recommended. It’s not the book’s fault. It’s just because of the simple fact that textbook language is fake. If your goal is to become native-like, you need to spend hours in reading Chinese newspaper and books extensively instead of relying on any sort of textbook.

Nevertheless, this is definitely one of the best ones you can start with. Characters are introduced right away, and the components of the characters are emphasized. One point to make is that the characters used are primarily in simplified form as used in mainland China, although the traditional forms are usually given too. Before choosing your textbook, make sure you select the right version (simplified/ traditional).

Pros:

  • Very affordable.

  • Firm explanation on grammar points.

  • Workbook available

  • Two written systems available, simplified or traditional.

  • Especially good for adults, students who want to learn reading and writing.

Cons:

  • Level 4, 5 and 6 are not challenging enough.

  • Level 3 is ok but can be replaced by other instructional materials.

  • Very few Pinyin available when you go to level 2, which can pose a huge challenge to those who have no knowledge in writing and reading Chinese characters.

HSK Standard Course (HSK标准教程)

Indacube Chinese Language School also uses the HSK Standard Course to help students prepare for the HSK test. The outcome showed that the serials have been proven very successful. All of students passed the test.

Authorized by Hanban, HSK Standard Course is developed under the joint efforts of Beijing Language and Culture University Press and Chinese Testing International (CTI). With HSK test papers as its primary source, Matching the HSK test in all aspects, from the content, form to the levels, it is a series of new-type course books embodying the idea of ""combining testing and teaching, and promoting learning and teaching by testing"". It is suitable for both Chinese teaching institutions and self-taught learners.

You can also get them from Amazon as well!

Pros:

  • Written in a very systematical way.

  • Perfect for HSK prep.

Cons

  • Focusing too much on drills and lack meaningful context.

  • Not versatile enough to prepare you for real day-to-day conversation.

  • Harder to purchase in the U.S.

Chinese Made Easy

This is a another series of textbooks we recommend. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to study the reading and writing, this is the book to go. It’s especially good with middle and high school students since it has a lot visuals in it.

They also have a kids version. If you’re child/student is under 12-year old, you definitely want to check this out.

They also come with 6 levels but only the first 3 levels are recommended. This series tends to be easier than other textbooks, which could be good and bad.

Pros:

  • Visuals can be super helpful when teaching young adults and kids.

  • Has a lot of Pinyin. Easy to read.

  • Workbooks available.

  • Kids version available.

  • Traditional version available.

Cons

  • Some levels are a little bit pricy on Amazon.

  • It’s visually compelling but sometimes might look a little childish to adults.

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