The Little Mandarin Reaches the Stars

The Little Mandarin Reaches the Stars

I love bilingual books so I was excited to receive this adorable board book titled, The Little Mandarin Reaches the Stars by Elsa Anderson. Each page features both English and Chinese and includes a character guide in the back of the book. The book is also part of a series of bilingual books that are available on

The Little Mandarin Reaches the Stars tells the story of two friends who try to reach the moon. On the way, they learn about bravery and stretching oneself—and ultimately that what you’re really looking for may not be exactly what you thought.

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Author Interview with Elsa Anderson

Elsa Anderson is a native of Vermont and a transplant to NYC. She is mother of two bilingual children, a librarian and a student of the Chinese language. She creates the Little Mandarin stories to show the richness in language, life, and love, and to share her passion with other parents and children.

Can you tell me about how you began the board book series, The Little Mandarin?

I’m a Chinese language learner, and I love the beautiful characters but I’ve struggled with reading. When we started the iCanMandarin language program one piece we wanted to be sure was included was a simple, friendly way to show the characters, their meaning, and their simplicity and elegance. My kids are very young and we really want them to grow up bilingual, so I thought I would try writing a picture book for them.

How can parents get started with teaching their little ones a new language such as Mandarin?

I think the most important thing about teaching language for very young children is keeping it engaging. It doesn’t matter if they make mistakes, or what their pronunciation is like – I make mistakes all the time! But having the sounds in their ears, having a chance to play and read and listen in a new language, is such a special gift no matter what the new language might be.

I love the character guide in the back of the book. Can you tell me more about that?

I was really struggling with learning to read and write characters, until I started reading about the history. Even having a simple explanation and a picture of what the character originally looked like was so helpful to me! It seemed like a great way to make an abstract character concrete, by connecting it to the original drawings and meanings. I love learning the history and the character guide is was my way of trying to share the amazing world I discovered with others.



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