5 Best Free Chinese Audiobooks for Children learning Mandarin
What inspired us to share the 5 best free Chinese audiobooks for children learning Mandarin? Chinese audiobooks are one of the best ways to immerse your child in a Chinese-rich learning environment. Like storybooks, audiobooks take your child on a journey of explorations with animated voices and sounds. Not only that, they help your child get better at reading Chinese and you can access these audiobooks instantly from websites and apps. Exposure to different narrators also gives your child an opportunity to see how a storyteller can bring a story to life with tones, articulations, pacing, and cadence.
Chinese audiobooks really help your child learn Mandarin Chinese, especially audiobooks that help your little listener loses his or herself in a story. Great audiobooks have the ability to conjure a certain mood, create a sense of place, and bring the listener on an adventurous journey. Listening to a good Chinese audiobook is similar to giving your child a retreat of the mind where he or she can focus on one task - immerse in the magic of a storyteller, away from the modern distractions of digital screens, YouTube, games, and so on.
Chinese audiobooks are often used for bedtime and quiet time. You can also use them for active listening exercises. For example, ask your child what he or she thinks about the story. Prompt simple questions such as “what is your favorite part of the story?” or “which character do you like the most” help your child to express his or her thoughts and ideas.
Now that we’ve talked about all the wonderful benefits of listening to audiobooks to learn Mandarin Chinese, it’s time to unveil our top 5 best free Chinese Audiobooks for kids learning Mandarin. We’ve reviewed over 20 plus Chinese audiobook websites and apps using a list of criteria. The criteria are divide into two categories, one category assesses the features and quality of the audiobooks, the other evaluates the usability of the platform. While there are a lot of Chinese audiobook apps available, many cover more than children’s materials making them difficult to navigate and oftentimes, too many options to choose from.
We've also made a list of "Best Chinese Audiobooks for..." that you can use to find the ideal Chinese audiobooks for your little one.
How we assess the audiobooks
1. What level of comprehension is required to understand the audiobooks
2. What types of audiobooks are offered and how many? (classic stories, folktales, fairy tales, popular children's books, etc.)
3. What is the quality of the audio recording?
4. Do the audiobooks provide written scripts that your child can follow along or are they simply narrated?
5. Are the audiobooks in simplified or traditional Chinese. This is applicable if you want your child to read along while listening or print out the story.
6. Do the audiobooks offer downloadable PDF of the story or a storybook for purchase?
7. Do the audiobooks have offer vocabulary or activities that supplement the story?
8. Do the audiobooks come with animations and or pictures?
The other set of criteria is the usability of these resources. The ultimate goal is to find a website or app that you can use quickly and easily. Websites and apps that have too many ads or confusing navigation are ranked lower. Here are what we looked for:
1. Is registration required for free access? If so, how efficient is the sign up process?
2. What is the website or app’s interface language (English, Chinese or both*)
3. Is the website or app easy to navigate? (sorting, search, bookmark, etc.)
4. Other additional features.
5 Best Free Chinese Audiobooks for Kids Learning Mandarin
1. Children Story 儿童故事会
This interface of this app is simple and elegant, even my parents can use it with my nephews and nieces. The quality of the narration is excellent, with great melodies to accompany the narrations. The other wonderful feature of this Chinese audiobook app is the variety of story genres that you can choose from in one single list. It's the simplest and most effective interface among all the apps we reviewed.
2. Hua Yu World 僑教雙週刊
Hua Yu World has a huge collection of stories on Chinese culture, family and traditions. This one wins my vote for the best Chinese audiobook website with high quality audiobooks and supporting materials. Many of their audiobooks come with animations, printable audio script and exercises. Not only that, the topics are interesting and diverse with English subtitles. It’s a wonderful Chinese learning resource for your child.
3. KaDa Story KaDa故事
From ebooks to audiobooks, KaDa Story has over 10,000 audiobooks and storybooks! It’s beautifully designed and offers a lot of high quality free contents. You can access all the free audiobooks without signing up. Among the “mega all-in-one” apps for Chinese audiobooks, KaDa Story stands out from the rest for its child-centered design which you will discover as you use their app with your little one.
4. Ximalaya Children 喜马拉雅儿童
Similar to KaDa Story, Ximalaya is a visually appealing Chinese audiobook app with a huge audiobook library. Besides audiobooks, they also offer Chinese songs and animated ebooks. Due to their expansive resources, I found it a bit overwhelming to navigate the app at first. However, if you go straight to the free section (免费专区) in the top menu bar, it will feel more manageable as you explore the app for the first time.
5. Parenting Taiwan 親子天下有聲故事書
Parenting Taiwan is one of the top apps for multicultural Chinese audiobooks for children learning Mandarin Chinese. They have an international collection of audiobooks ranging from local Taiwanese folklore to world renowned children’s books. But the most impressive part about this app is the quality of each audiobook. The sound, voice and pace is well made. I highly recommend you to take advantage of their 7 day free trial to experience the breadth and quality of their contents. Make sure to sign up for free on their website instead of the app itself (use this format for the phone number entry field ie. +886912345678) You will receive a confirmation email with a link to verify your email. Afterward you can sign in to the app using your email address and password.
We've compared over 20 different websites and apps using this comparison chart. The top 5 Chinese audiobook websites and apps are selected based on the overall content quality and usability. To keep everything consistent, we reviewed only the free contents from each resource.
Here are some 3 more Chinese audiobook resources that are worth mentioning for their unique offerings.
6. Ministry of Culture, Taiwan 兒童文化部
This website is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of Taiwan. It features award winning children’s books and bestsellers. Everything is available for free. You can easily sort the books by genre, category, age (Preschooler, Early Elementary, Late Elementary) and even author. Some of the books were published as early as 1999, so the audio recording is more outdated. But the newer ones are well made. This is a great resource for teaching your child about Taiwan.
我變成一隻噴火龍了 I Became a Fire-Breathing Dragon!
白雲麵包 White Cloud Bread
打氣粥 Courage Porridge
7. Listen to Stories 聽故事-有聲童話故事館
This is a wonderful app for bedtime stories. The music is relaxing and the audio quality is great. They have levels from beginner to advanced. The only downside is the ads that pop up before each audio play. You can pay $9.99 to remove the ads.
8. QingTing FM 蜻蜓FM
QingTing FM is an internet radio station has a children's section rich with Chinese learning audiobooks. The audiobooks cover a wide range of levels. You can sort quickly by your child’s age and interest. It has one the biggest collection of audiobooks based on mainstream movies, TV and books such as Disney Frozen, Peppa Pig, Daniel Tiger and so on. You can access many of them for free.
粉红猪小妹-佩佩 Peppa Pig
冰雪奇缘 Disney Frozen
小老虎丹尼尔 Daniel the Tiger
Best Chinese Audiobooks For...
To make it to the top 5, all of these Chinese audiobooks have met, if not exceeded, the audio and content quality that we were looking for. I added an additional row at the bottom of the comparison chart called "Additional highlight" that might help you decide which one is best for your child. On top of that, I've compiled a short list of "Best for..." that just might be what you are looking for.
Learning to Read Traditional Chinese
How to Access Chinese Interface
*Many Chinese audiobook resources are in Chinese only, which can be daunting for non-Mandarin Chinese speaking parents. Fortunately, there are some tips and tricks that you can use to navigate Chinese only webpages and apps.
1. Translate the webpages. Use Google Chrome browser to translate the webpage to English. Open the website in Chrome and right click on the page to select “Translate to English”. Most texts will be translated to English to help you navigate. This is applicable for iPhone and Android as well. For more details, click here.
2. Look for key words on these Chinese audiobook resources:
Simplified | Traditional Chinese
儿童 | 兒童 (Children)
免费 | 免費 (Free)
免费专区 |免費專區 (Free Section)
排行榜 | 排行榜 (Most Popular)
睡前故事 | 睡前故事 (Bedtime Story)
童话 | 童話 (Tales)
故事 | 故事 (Stories)
分类 | 分類 (Category)
迪士尼 | 迪士尼 (Disney)
经典故事 | 經典故事 (Classic Story)
Hope you have enjoyed this compilation of Chinese audiobooks for kids. If you are looking for other Chinese learning resources for your child, please comment below so I can help you find them or other readers can also share their tips and tricks.