A few weeks ago I wrote about Japanese culture for kids and I noticed that some interest in the alphabet. I get it. I think it’s so fun to learn about So, on my path to helping share about Japan for kids, I figured I’d focus on it. Below you’ll find books that teach Japanese to Children, including alphabet resources. I’m so excited to share this with you.
Kid-friendliest Introduction to Learning the Japanese Language
Teach me… Everyday Japanese
This book and CD combination will not teach your kids Japanese. Instead, it will make it fun for them. The songs will be fun for kids to sing along to and, maybe, along the way they’ll pick up a phrase or two.
Japanese Language: Step 1, the Alphabet
Japan has two alphabets: Hiragana and Katakana. Hiragana is meant for native Japanese words and Katakana is for foreign words. Here are some books for kids for each of those.
My first Hiragana Activity Books
For a Japanee hiragana introduction, I think this book is perfect. Each page is dedicated to each letter, some writing practice, and samples of words that use that letter.
My First Japanese Katakana Alphabets: Picture Book with Engish Translations
I couldn’t find a book similar to the one above for Katakana, but this one does the same idea without devoting as much space for each letter.
Japanese Language: Step 2, the Words
Just like the Japanese language has two types of alphabets, there are two types of ways words could be written. They can be written with a combination of Hiragana or Katakana letters – where each letter can be pronounced. Or they can be written with one character, known as Kanji, where the character represents the whole word.
The recommendations below will first be kanji, and then general words that could use any of the methods.
My First Japanese Kanji Book: Learning Kanji the Fun and Easy Way!
Because of the structure of the Japanese language, this can be a big jump – going from the alphabets directly to Kanji. The missing part is the grammar. That said, though, if you focus more on the words in this and circle back to this book when you’re more familiar with the grammar – it’s almost like a two for one.
Lonely Planet Kids: First Words Japanese
Since this is from Lonely Planet Kids, it does something spectacular. It introduces kids to the words they’ll need on a trip to Japan. It includes a simple illustration, the word in English, the word in Japanese, and the pronunciation.
My First Book of Japanese Words: An ABC Rhyming Book of Japanee Language and Culture
This is a fun way to learn 26 Japanese words. One for each letter of the English Alphabet. It includes the word written in Japanese, the pronunciation, and some rhyme to help explain the word.
Japanese Language: Step 3, the Grammar
Finding good resources for learning Japanese grammar for kids has been difficult. However, I found a group of books geared to Japanese children starting at level 1 – 3.
Japanese Language Flash Cards
Flashcards – they speak for themselves
Japanese Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji Writing Practice
Japanese children use a special paper to practice their writing. You can find some here and pick the cover your children would prefer.
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