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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

China retreats on Internet Filtering Software

Surprising... I did not expect this.

China backs away from Internet filter Washington Post

There were some good reasons to back away:
  1. Filtering software had copied code from a US application and a lawsuit has been filed. Translation - bad publicity.
  2. Lots of complaints within China on this.
  3. US and EU outside of China were very vocal on this.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Iraq + Oil = China's Partner...

As Iraq Stabilizes, China Eyes Its Oil Fields - NY Times.

Interesting, but not surprising. China is very worried about making sure of a secure energy supply to keep their economy going.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why Learn Chinese - Job Security

I had breakfast with a supplier this morning and she mentioned another reason on why to Learn Chinese. Her husband works in the Financial Industry and speaks Chinese, and because of this has kept his job while other people around him have not.

Only negative is now my wife may be expecting me to improve my Chinese beyond the good enough to be laughed at by native Chinese speakers :-)


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chinese Bookstore, Retail Location for ChildBook?

I have been from time to time asked if ChildBook.com has a retail location, since we are a Chinese bookstore. Or if there are future plans to open a store.

At this time, no plans to open a store. Web stuff I understand, but a physical store I don't have the background/experience for. I would rather put my energy into improving the web site, than getting a bookstore going.

My warehouse is not made for visitors (and I don't have the right type of insurance). I am open to meeting customers at the beautiful Rowland Heights Post Office, but once I mention I have free shipping for orders over $25 the need for the meeting usually disappears.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Chinatown Chicago and LA - Both used to be Italian?

This story in the Chicago Tribune, Chinatown: a hidden jewel worth seeking mentions that it used to be heavily populated by ethnic Italians. So was the LA Chinatown. There is still a Catholic Church down there and there used to be an Italian restaurant, Little Joe's. The original LA Chinatown was where Union Station is now, and then moved into Little Italy when the train station was constructed. More on the history of LA's Newer Chinatown.



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

U.S. Objects to China’s Web Filtering

U.S. Objects to China’s Web Filtering - NY Times.
Not sure how much good this will do. There is a lot of uproar within China on this issue. And it seems the software that is being used was also pirated from a US company (that is suing).


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yeh Shen - China's (More Original?) Cinderella

One of the books that people ask for regularly is Yeh-Shen, a Cinderella Story from China, the version of Ai-Ling Louie and illustrated by Ed Young.

Yeh-Shen's story is about an orphan girl who is overworked to serve her stepmother and sister. She befriends a fish, which her stepmother cooks and eats. Nobody knew the fish was magical and Yeh-Shen soon found out that the fish's bones can be asked wishes from. Yeh Shen also gets to attend a big party while her stepmother thinks she was at home doing housework. Yeh Shen leaves behind one shoe that somehow gets into the king's possession.

All sounds familiar? While Yeh Shen may sound like a copycat straight from the plagiarism department of Cinderella, guess again. Yeh Shen was written around the 850 A. D., about a cool thousand years older than the earliest version of Cinderella. So definitely, mo plagiarism case in court for this one.

Anyway, I'm sharing this because I know how Cinderella-crazy little girls can get. Admit it, when you were younger, you liked Cinderella much better than the other fairy tales (Or if not you, then someone you know.)

Little girls will surely also like Yeh Shen, so please do take a peek over at the Yeh Shen Page and get a copy for your little girl.


Monday, June 22, 2009

California Schools

My daughter's school will no longer offer students the ability to take 7 classes, so there goes Orchestra for my daughter. The secretary of Education made an excellent comment, that California Schools have lost their way. They used to be first in the nation, and now on average on achievement they are 47th. And it is not all funding related... A great documentary to watch, or just read the synopsis - First to Worst

Good article from the Washington Post - Budget Crisis Forces Deep Cuts at Calif. Schools


Two students, two schools -- 20 miles and a world apart

Two students, two schools -- 20 miles and a world apart - LA Times. Excellent read.

There is a poem called a tale of two schools that was mentioned in the movie Walkout that chronicles the demonstrations of 1968. I would so like to read that poem, I have not found it online. Paula Christomo (Senior Director of community and government relations at Occidental College) wrote this after visiting Palos Verdes High School and comparing it to her school, Roosevelt High School of LAUSD in East LA with the difference in facilities. Palos Verdes High School is located in one of the richest areas of California.

What was mentioned in the LA Times article comparing Jefferson High School to La Canada High School seems like deja vu. What was talked about here was not the differences in facilities, but the attitude. When I went through my student teaching in LAUSD I saw the same thing, very nice students, but the lack of motivation was so frustrating! Missing the PSAT because there were friends visiting. Another student missed class time because she had to take care of her baby sister, so she flunked the class and had to retake it in intermission (school was year round). And the La Canada School seems so similar to my daughters High School.


Chinese Harry Potter in "The Adventurous Prince"?

Oh my, accusations of plagiarism in children's books do abound today. After the string of financial successes in children's books, especially of Harry Potter, people seem more suspicious of everybody else lifting somebody else's work.

A Chinese book due for release this month is said to have copied 18 details from the Harry Potter books. The author denies this and finds the accusation "ridiculous". He says he has never heard of JK Rowling and Harry Potter. A 100,000 copies are being tested in schools and it is said The Adventurous Prince is being received warmly by the children.

My 2 cents on the plagiarism: Harry Potter, though wonderfully woven and told, doesn't have 100% super out-of-this world details that will make it impossible to be totally unique. When you follow a story writing formula, similarities will definitely surface between two characters of the same age/ status/ whatever. This is why Ms. Rowling also has a problem with the accusation of plagiarism. Similar basic characteristics of a hero will tend to produce similar contexts sometimes.

I also find it odd for an author to copy something that is currently hot around the world. Easier to be found out. Copycats ought to copy from totally obscure, under the rock pieces to be not found out *wink wink*. Why copy something so popular?

We'll see how The Adventurous Prince fares, and if general feedback will claim it as the Chinese Harry Potter?

I wish Ray will be able to get his hand on The Adventurous Prince so children outside China will also be able to enjoy it. But of course this will be subject to availability, so let's wait and see...

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Swine Flu & China Travel

If you sit within 3 rows of somebody found with Swine Flu on your flight, you are automatically quarantined (great way to ruin a vacation , business trip, etc). The Chinese partners I was with at the trade show are each doing a voluntary 7 day quarantine at their homes.

H1N1 flu has Beijing taking a hard line on safety precautions - LA Times.

An example of a trip gone wrong:
Carlsbad students, teachers home after quarantine in China


Beijing Olympic Pollution

I find it exciting that this was measured at all, results are interesting and I hope they spur China's government for more efforts that are effective on cleaning up the pollution there.

Pollution of Olympic proportions - SF Gate

Beijing air pollution was up to 3.5 times higher than at Summer Games in Athens, Atlanta and Sydney.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

We can't resist but greet the father of ChildBook on this special occassion.

Happy Father's Day, Ray!

Ray is like a father to us (he might contest with the age basis though, heehee), he patiently teaches us and listens and yep, he's funny too.

One of the roles he prizes the most is being a dad to his daughter, so he most deserves a warm greeting on this special day.

Hope you have a great day ahead, Ray!


Friday, June 19, 2009

Kids Perform Better in School with 30 Minutes a Day of Language Instruction

I received an interesting letter from one of our customers, Patricia. She sent me a nice set of links of studies that presented results of linking language skills to the different facets of cognitive intelligence. One of these studies proved that kids exposed to short sessions of language instruction (30 minutes daily) perform better in the different subjects in school, including science, english and math. It's wonderful to think how such a tiny effort, if done consistently, can help improve our kids so much and for the better.

I so appreciate the gesture, Patricia :-) We will make more articles based on the researches and also make it more reader-friendly for our other parents.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Women Imbalance - It's worse than you think

Some Facts:

1. 120 boy to 100 girl babies currently. China's Boy Surplus
2. As women have their own careers in Taiwan and Japan, the percentage that marry is decreasing. Birth rate in Taiwan is 1.1 per woman.
3. Women as their education increase marry at a later age.
4. Women when their are more men will marry at a later age per research in the US.

The first one, the gender imbalance is what everyone is talking about. Add items 2-3 and it becomes much worse...


ChildBook Wants to Learn about What You Want

It's been quite sometime that we wanted to hear about what YOU'd like to see in ChildBook. We'd like to make site changes about what you expect from us as your kids go about Learning Chinese.

So today, janan! We finally sent a little email asking a favor to please fill us in on what you want us to provide and sell.

We are really committed to changing things over here at ChildBook according to what you want. As marketers and sellers, there is the tendency to share the product's features and quite forgetting about your entire day-to-day experience with your children learning Chinese over the years.

So please do share how we can improve. We promise to make things better so more children will benefit from having the Chinese language advantage.

Please answer our few questions in the email we sent. Thank you thank you! Xie Xie!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ChildBook's Chinese Coloring Pages can also be Free Blog Resource

This came up as nice compliment in our sister site, EliteDresses, about a nice lady asking permission to use EliteDresses coloring pictures.

We'd just like to clarify that yes, we allow the use of our coloring pictures for your blogs or hard copy designs. For bloggers who wish to use our Chinese coloring pictures, if you would be kind enough to add us a link, that is enough. A note to lead us to the url where you used it is nice also. For those who would like to use it in their hard copy designs, you can shoot a photo and post it at your blog or web page, or send us an email of the finished product.

For those who'd like to post pictures in their blogs, you may choose from the following Chinese coloring pages:

Chinese festivals like Chinese New Year, Mid Autumn Festival, Dragon Boat Festival.
Coloring pictures of kids in Chinese dress,
Chinese zodiac animals,
Chinese characters,
Chinese families,
Chinese weddings ,

and more. Please browse our Chinese Coloring Pictures section to see if you'd like to use any.

It is always our pleasure to help out :-)

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

ChildBook's Review of the Week

We are pleased to feature for this blog post ChildBook's Review of the Week by Hyojung Kuo.

Review of the week for ChildBook product - "The Adventures of Walker and PingPing: The Great Wall" DVD

"Along with "the river dragon king", walker and ping ping series are great. I wish there are more of these dvds- fun and effective. I believe you need to study the country's history and culture to be fluent in a foreign lanuage and I especailly like this dvd because of that."

Thank you for your comment.

We'd also like to invite other people who have our products to please write a review. If you got the books we have from other places other than ChildBook, it is alright to join as well. Please write a review so other customers - parents like you, can choose better materials for their children.

Please do write a review, and rate others' reviews as well. Thanks.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Another ChildBook Item Won an Award!

Just in : One of ChildBook's favorite products for toddlers won an award. Yay!

We have always been proud of carrying the Global Toddlers: Adventures in Mexico DVD . Besides the 2008 DVD of the year Award by Creative Child Magazine ((Educational DVDs for babies, toddlers, and kids category), we have always liked its content and how families liked it as well.

This year, Dr. Toy Awarded Global Toddlers DVD the Best Vacation Product Award.

We always try to partner with premium quality publishers so that you only get the best products. Congratulations to Global Toddlers!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

U.S. Births Hint at Bias for Boys in Some Asians

U.S. Births Hint at Bias for Boys in Some Asians - NY Times.

Especially with how I have seen some only kids treat their parents (ethnic Chinese) in the US. The parents sacrifice so much for their kids and sometimes, when the kids grow up, they don't treat their parents well.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Learning Chinese Product Reviews

Review of the week. -

For some reason I am having a terrible time getting reviews this month. I am not sure why. I am not requiring people to have brought the product from me - childbook.com I have $100 prize for reviews awarded monthly, and unless I get more reviews this may be the last month for that. Or may be it's a case of somebody will do reviews, but only 2 people have done them this month so far...

Reviews are nice, but they are sure hard to get people to do! Even though they can be done anonymously.

fun and efficient
June 5, 2009
Reviewer: Hyojung Koo from Narberth, PA United States
i definitely recommend "little pim" over "baby learns Chinese." this set has many repeating sentences that can be easily modified and used in real life.

Little Pim: Playtime, 3-Pack Bundle
Little Pim: Playtime, 3-Pack Bundle, Learning Chinese for Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers
Our Price: $74.85
Sale Price: $49.95
You Save $24.90!

Little Pim 3pc-DVD Bundle

Immerse your Baby in Chinese language this early!

Little Pim helps teach Chinese phrases that small children actually use, such as "I'm hungry," or "Let's play."

  • 3-DVDs set
  • High quality production, award-winning
  • with free Parents-Teachers Guide and Pinyin Pronunciation Guide
Sample video available


Friday, June 12, 2009

Working with Chinese - Advice

I have worked with a number of ethnic Chinese in the US, as well as being married to one for 20 years. A few observations on successfully working with them, as a non-Chinese...


  1. If doing a project, always define and get agreement in writing of what the deliverables will be. This way you avoid doing extra work for free.
  2. Get a 50% deposit. I did not do this on one project and the person stiffed me. Not a Chinese, but still good advice unless you are working with a close friend or family.
  3. Avoid doing projects for family. They will never feel OK about the price unless it's free, and will probably even then complain. Which is why I no longer do home improvements, it's easier to hire a contractor and have them get the blame. I heard for to many years about a marble floor I put in...
  4. If your Father-in-law wants to do something a certain way, even if not the best way, just do it unless it creates problems. There is the right way, wrong way, and your Father-in-laws way.
  5. If your boss... See #4. Very similar to the experience of working with entrepreneurs.
  6. If the person trys to get you to do more work by promising a future promotion, job opportunity, etc. get it in writing. And even if you get it writing you may still not get it. I have seen this where people are hired, but since you don't have experience in this industry we need to start you out at X salary. Then in 6 months when the person knows the industry, there is another reason not to increase the pay (company is doing poorly, we have stopped giving bonuses, it's not fair to other people in the same position, etc.).
  7. If a Chinese customer calls up, have them speak to a non-Chinese to limit the amount of negotiations. Chinese customers have a higher level of expectations they will be able to negotiate with a Chinese speaker, than a non-Chinese speaker.
  8. Be trusting, but always verify :-)


Thursday, June 11, 2009

My First Chinese Reader - Learn Chinese through Stories

Am happy to see that people are getting My First Chinese Reader as the summer has started. Maybe parents are already giving their kids a headstart on learning Chinese this vacation?

My First Chinese Reader is a favorite because their entire line is based on the principle of Learning Chinese through stories. Everyone likes stories, it is somehow easier to remember. How many of us in our adult years still fondly remember obscure short stories we read (or saw) when we were kids?

My First Chinese Reader was designed to be used by 2nd grade to 6th grade students just starting to learn Chinese. Each level has a textbook, workbook, Teacher's/ Parent's Guide and software (each sold separately). You can also choose from Simplified or Traditional Chinese.

sample pages inside

Tip: if you see Better Chinese materials in our website, please do connect this with My First Chinese Reader because they have an assortment of helpful materials in different levels. Better Chinese materials include My First Chinese Words for the Very Beginner and Discovering Chinese for the bigger kids.

Better Chinese also has supplement materials for My First Chinese Reader that kids will like, like
  • 10-in-1 game set
  • a writing exercise book
  • dictionary that feature words in the lessons
  • other CD-ROM software for stories, idioms, etc.
  • Audio CDs to hear the tones
  • Chinese games instruction book for teachers and parents.
Big Bonus: Since kids are expected to learn Chinese through stories, parents and teachers can also gain access to more Chinese stories that the children can use daily.

Yes, it does look fun, doesn't it? Go check out My First Chinese Reader at ChildBook.


Why is China not in the News?

There were a lot of articles going up to June 4th, the anniversary of Tienanmen Square, but since then there has been a lack of articles about China. Not sure why.

The top story in the NY Times that mentions China is China Faces Criticism Over New Software Censor (interesting story from so many angles, the NY Times only touched the surface). This is an interesting story Palau to Take Chinese Guantánamo Detainees. Basically the US had to pay $11 Million a person to find a place that would take them, since China regards them as terrorists.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Next Week Tradeshow Time

Next week I am helping out a friend again at a trade show in Florida. My first time to Florida! The headache is it's on business :-( And we are so close to Disneyworld. We are flying in Monday and flying out Friday night.

And I am still in catch up from last week from my daughter's finals. Her AP Euro Teacher had a really nice comment on her report card (excellent teacher, who is also known to be a GPA killer). Good news is a web site I was doing for a client is almost done! Yes, on the side when I am not running childbook.com and helping out with EliteDresses in my spare time (ya, right), I also do Search Engine Optimization, Marketing Consulting, and E-Commerce Web Design. The good news is it keeps me from getting bored!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Daughter's School in CA

Business Week recently ranked her school as one of the top in the nation. To my surprise ahead of Walnut and Arcadia.

It seems the school district we live in is upset that so many of their top students go to the Walnut School District, which has my daughter's school in it. Under a school choice initiative. So they want to stop that district of choice one (it's all about funding), and actually force students who have been going to other districts, to return to their home district.

The editorial in the LA Times, Smart choice for California schools, is in support of renewing the school choice, but has some strange comments. They are surprised at the high number of Asians who decide they would rather attend Walnut School District (with better scores) than Rowland. With a high focus on education in the Chinese and Korean communities, taking the extra effort to commute to Walnut just makes sense. It would be a lot easier if I did not have to drive my daughter to school every morning, especially when she had zero period at 7AM, but I like her school much better than the ones I saw in Rowland. And she is doing very well there. I know of a teacher in Rowland who is also sending her kids to the Walnut District because of the same reasons (and had to go through a huge battle to make that happen).


Monday, June 8, 2009

China Requires Censoring on New PCs

China Requires Censoring on New PCs - NY Times.
So what do you do if your a Dell? Do you allow the censoring software to be shipped with your product, and then be labeled as abetting censorship? The challenges of doing business in China!

Google, Yahoo, and Skype have all run aground on similar issues.


ChildBook's Top Learning Resources - Chinese Coloring Pictures, etc.

Just wanted to share the top-most viewed pages in our Learning Resources Section as you may want to share this with your children also. Most viewed is the Chinese Coloring Pictures section, followed by coloring pictures of Chinese zodiac animals, coloring pictures of Chinese characters and Chinese games for kids.

Most viewed this 2009 are:

Chinese Coloring Pictures featuring kids, animals, Chinese new year and other Chinese festivals
Coloring Pictures of Chinese Zodiac Animals
Coloring Pictures of Chinese characters
Chinese games for Kids - Instructions

Hope you find these useful, especially this summer ! :-)

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mother-in-law Domino Theory of Rooms

Parental respect is huge in Chinese Culture, traditionally. When my in-laws speak, my wife jumps. So my in-laws room has a bit of a paint smell, so what to do? My wonderful wife decided this morning that her home office on the 2nd floor should be converted back to a bedroom, and that her stuff would evict me out of my at home office, since I am not using it. I have an office outside the home and when at home, I work next to my daughter on the computer at the kitchen table. My office had become a storage area truthfully that I was trying to ignore.

The good thing is everything got moved! And we found a lot of stuff that we could get rid of (always good). And my in-laws are happy!

The negative is my aching back and we still have a lot more stuff, now in my bedroom, that needs to be gone through. The good thing when you move is you get rid of a lot of stuff. If you have not touched it in a couple of years, you probably don't need it. The challenge is organizing everything and not keeping it in boxes after you move. Unfortunately, there were a number of items still in boxes from our last move a couple of years ago in my office.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

High School Father = Exhausted

Today was SAT II World History, then Cello Recital, then Chinese Choir Performance.

I am exhausted, and all I had to do was help review for the SAT II - she took AP Euro, so I thought how hard could the SAT II be for world history...

Drive and be in the audience for the Cello Recital

And drive and be in the audience to watch my daughter's solo etc. in her Choir.

And this follows the great clean up! As well as finals week for my daughter. We are both exhausted, at least there is nothing major scheduled for tomorrow I know of.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Emergency Cleaning - Mother in law due back!

My Mother-in-law is due back tonight, plane arrives 8PM. You might ask, so what?

Umm, she lives with us when she is in the states, so we are in Emergency Clean Up Mode to prepare for her arrival. Last night I got to bed after midnight, but the house and her room are much cleaner!

And the night previously, I was up till the early morning the other night helping my daughter with a project for her AP Euro class. She got an A+ on the project, but I missed a bit of sleep so I came in to work late yesterday and today.

Good news was yesterday was my daughter's last day of school! So no more late nights for a while due to school! And once my mother-in-law arrives the emergency clean up comes to an end and she starts cleaning up (amazing lady, who has more energy than anyone else I know).

Amazing how your efficiency can drop when you don't have enough sleep. This was also the reason for no blog post yesterday.

So I am in catch up mode. And I still have cleaning to do :-)


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tiananmen Square 20 Years Later

I am surprised by inside of China what has happened since the protests 20 years ago. The huge change that has happened in a society that has become much wealthier/prosperous and in many ways freer (outside of politics). I did not realize that Tiananmen Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times was in the square that day. His OpEd remembering that day and the changes since then in China. Bullets over Beijing. I believe his wife is from China.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Chinese Only, vis-a-vis Chinese English books

When I browse through Chinese bookstores, one of the things I notice is that the books for children are mostly only Chinese.

Most parents with Chinese background look for pure Chinese materials. However, there are those parents who cannot speak, more so read Chinese, but still want their kids to get ahead with Chinese as their secondary language. So I think one of the nice offerings that ChildBook has is it has Chinese-English books as well. The store caters to both families that have Chinese-speaking parents, and those that know only English.

The free learning resources, such as the coloring pictures, also has Chinese English words. Sometimes the teachers guides have 100% Chinese text, so that is another thing that parents may want to check out and see what matches their family's needs.

In our reviews, some parents want pure Chinese only books, and others want Chinese English books. We have both so I hope everybody is covered.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Chinese SAT II - Should you take it if your Chinese?

Interesting discussion at SAT II Chinese - College Discussion asking if you should take it.

  1. Preparation material is available! 2 Volumes of Chinese SAT ii Test Review Books with hints and 6 sample tests.
  2. Relatively easy SAT II to add for your college application.
  3. Shows your proficiency in a Foreign Language.
  4. For the UC's, you need to take 3 SAT II's currently.
  5. Some private colleges also require 3 SAT II's

  1. It's imposssible to be in the top 1% on this test, sincesince so many native Chinese take the test and ace it (getting perfect scores).
  2. If your native Chinese, the college will discount your score.
  3. You could get less than a perfect score if you don't study, especially if your Chinese is not that great.


Kids Chinese Craft Time for Children's day?

Children's Day in China is celebrated during June 1, with shops giving away freebies to the kids.

Here at ChildBook, everyday is Children's Day. Kids can enjoy our freebies everyday so that they can enjoy and appreciate the Chinese language and culture.

Since today is Children's Day, why not spend some 1-on-1 down time with your child. Prepare a snack, then you both can make projects from our Kids Chinese Craft section. You can choose to make cards, puppets, paper crafts. Our latest addition to the project instructions is the Zong Zi wall hanging.

And most importantly, as she concentrates on the Chinese craft she's making, indulge in some easy talk with your child today, especially if you've been busy the past days -- how did her day go, what's her favorite cartoon now, stuff they have been doing with friends.

With some easy talk and laughter, for sure, the result of your kid's Chinese craft project will be fabulous. After the project is done, swap some more stories over the snack you prepared. You can even give her a star if she's up for those. Enjoy!

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