Do you know what I LOVE? I love to see my children reading books. And I especially love it when they read Japanese books!
My oldest, now 8 years old, is getting a little bit old for our Japanese picture books. But her reading skills are not strong enough for a lot of Japanese chapter books. So I have been on the hunt for books that she can easily read by herself, and ones where the content would be interesting enough to keep her engaged. We tried Doraemon, Yokai Watch, and Chibi-marukochan, but she was like, “meh”. They didn’t hold her interest (she is picky).
I came across a review by Japan Info about how a comic book series called よつばと！/Yotsubato by Kiyohiko Azuma is great for people learning Japanese. I researched a little bit more and decided to give the series a shot. I got a great deal on Yotsubato Comic set Vol.1 to 12 (Japanese)through Amazon but they are sometimes available on eBay as well, and you can always get them from amazon.co.jp (but the shipping is expensive). There is an English translation of this series too, so make sure you are getting the right language when ordering.
ANYWAY… the よつばと！comics were a huge hit with my 8-year old! She read one, sometimes two books per day. Sometimes I found her laughing out loud as she read. As soon as she completed the entire series (books 1-13), she started reading book 1 again. She told me she likes the series because “Yotsubato is like me. A foreign girl who knows Japanese, and she’s silly.” I’m reading the books too (I’ve only read up to book 5 so far) but even I find them very engaging and fun to read.There’s not too many kanji, nothing inappropriate for a child, and you learn about Japanese culture as you read! 2 thumbs way up from my daughter and I!
Official Yotsubato website is HERE.
Preview some pages HERE.
Wikipedia article HERE.
Buy Volume One here: Yotsubato! Vol. 1 (Yotsubato!) (in Japanese) (Japanese Edition)
Buy books 1-12 in a set here: Yotsubato Comic set Vol.1 to 12 (Japanese)
This is a totally unbiased, unsponsored post about Yotsubato, but I will receive a small portion of any purchases made through Amazon to help fund my website. Thanks!