The first time you pick up a book written in Japanese it may seem a bit intimidating, especially if you’re still a beginning student. You flip through the pages and see that there are no spaces between words and there is probably kanji all over the place that you’ve never seen before.

Next time you’re in a Japanese bookstore, take a walk over to the children’s book section instead. Children’s books make great learning tools, especially for beginning students, for a variety of reasons:

  • Children’s books often have a lot of pictures (and let’s be honest, pictures are cool!)
  • Children’s books usually put spaces between the words which makes reading much easier when you are just learning
  • Children’s books usually don’t have much kanji, but if they do, they usually include furigana (little hiragana written above or next to the kanji that show the pronunciation)
  • Children’s books use simple (but still correct) grammar so you are getting real world experience reading realistic Japanese text

They’re also not very expensive.  There’s no reason to pay more for a more advance book that you won’t be able to read very much in when for only a few dollars you can get a much simpler book that you will have a much better chance at understanding.