Whether you want to study for your next Chinese exam, learn Chinese for business purposes, or converse with native speakers on your next travel journey, there are many books that can help you improve your knowledge of the language. Many Chinese learning books offer helpful phrases, engaging stories, and study materials that will help you score higher in school and converse with others. 

Before choosing a Chinese learning book, it’s important to identify your current level and future learning goals. While some Chinese learning books are perfect for 5-10 year olds learning the first 50 characters of the language, others have been created for seasoned learners that are looking to expand their vocabulary. 

Once you’ve identified what you want to learn and how you want to improve your knowledge of the language, it’s important to figure out how you plan to reach these goals and how you best learn new material. While some books are audio-focused, others focus more on reading comprehension, making it best suited for visual learners. 

So, you may be wondering, what are the best books to learn Chinese? That's why we've done all the research and gathered up a list of the top choices below.

Best Books To Learn Chinese

The 10 books below will help you improve your knowledge of Chinese culture, phrases, and characters. Whether you’re preparing for your next test or trying to teach yourself the language, the books below provide comprehensive material that will help you reach those goals. More importantly, the books below provide engaging material that will keep you interested throughout the language learning process. 

1. New Practical Chinese Reader by Liu Xun

New Practical Chinese Reader by Liu Xun

New Practical Chinese Reader is one of the most popular books to learn Chinese. In this, you’ll find helpful exercises and guidance that will lead you through the entire process of learning the language. Whether you want to improve your reading comprehension skills, speak with native speakers, or write in Chinese, this book has the tools that will help you reach those goals.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive Chinese class in a book, New Practical Chinese Reader is the perfect pick. 

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2. Integrated Chinese by Yuehua Liu 

Integrated Chinese by Yuehua Liu

This must-have Chinese textbook is the leading introductory Chinese textbook at colleges and universities all around the world. Fully updated to meet the needs of today’s modern student, this book has communicative and interactive exercises, up-to-date vocabulary, and enhanced cultural coverage. 

With a diverse cast of characters and a realistic storyline, this book will help you stay engaged while learning new material. In the newest edition, you’ll find:

  • 20 lessons 
  • Student-centered learning objectives
  • Review material every 5 lessons 
  • Language applications
  • Full-color designs
  • Authentic materials in each lesson 
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3. Chinese Phrases for Dummies by Wendy Abraham 

Chinese Phrases for Dummies by Wendy Abraham

If you want hundreds of useful Chinese phrases at your fingertips, Chinese Phrases for Dummies is the book for you. Whether you want to speak up more in Chinese class or travel to China, this book will instantly help you kick up your conversation skills.

Perfect for beginners and seasoned learners looking to improve their vocabulary, this book will help you ask for directions, order meals at restaurants, discuss the weather, and much more. 

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4. Mandarin Chinese for Beginners by Yi Ren 

Mandarin Chinese for Beginners by Yi Ren

Mandarin Chinese for Beginners is a user-friendly guide to the basics that will help you learn Chinese quickly and easily. In this, you’ll be able to draw parallels with English and instantly speak better than before.

With manga illustrations, social media vocabulary, and new dialogues, this book is perfect for anyone who wants to learn and speak colloquial Chinese. This lighthearted guide brings Chinese to life in an easy-to-understand fashion, making language learning fun. In this, you’ll find: 

  • Real-life dialogues 
  • Drills to help you reinforce what you’ve learned
  • Native speaker audio recordings
  • Poems from Chinese culture 
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5. Chinese Short Stories for Beginners by Lingo Mastery

Chinese Short Stories for Beginners by Lingo Mastery

This #1 best-selling Chinese book includes 20 fascinating short stories that will help you learn Chinese and grow your vocabulary in a fun way. Although it’s hard to find reading material in Chinese, this book has perfect material that will help even beginners expand their vocabulary once they start reading.

Although language learning is helpful with lessons and practice, consistency is the most important factor. With Chinese Short Stories for Beginners, you’ll be able to put your knowledge to practice and engage with interesting learning material. 

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6. 2,000 Most Common Chinese Words in Context by Lingo Mastery

2,000 Most Common Chinese Words in Context by Lingo Mastery

Get fluent and increase your Chinese vocabulary with 2,000 Most Common Chinese Words in Context. Say goodbye to complicated stories that you can’t understand and say hello to the most simple way of expanding your vocabulary.

This list of terms will expand your vocabulary to levels previously unseen. In this, you’ll find tips on how to improve your learning, 2,000 of the most common words and their translations, an example sentence for each word in both Chinese and English, and a final list of tips at the end.  

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7. Learning Chinese The Easy Way by Sam Song

Learning Chinese The Easy Way by Sam Song

Read and understand the symbols of Chinese culture with Learning Chinese The Easy Way. Get an initial grasp of the amazing language by reading the collection of stories in this book. In this, Song provides helpful context to the language and the characters, helping you remember each story and each new word.

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8. Learning Mandarin Chinese Characters by Yi Ren

Learning Mandarin Chinese Characters by Yi Ren

Reinforce your written Chinese with Learning Mandarin Chinese Characters. This book helps students quickly learn the essential Chinese characters that are fundamental to the language. This user-friendly character workbook contains over 100 Chinese characters and over 500 words using these characters.

Perfect for both self-study and classroom use, this book shows how to write each character and how each is typically used. You’ll also find the meaning and pronunciation of each character as well as example sentences. 

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9. Chinese For Kids by Queenie Law

Chinese For Kids by Queenie Law

This #1 best-seller is a Chinese writing practice workbook that offers the first 50 characters in the language. Perfect for children aged 5 and older, this book offers a fun and easy way for kids to learn the first 50 characters. 

This book will help you develop early Chinese language skills, recognize each character instantly, and study the free flashcards that come with the book. 

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10. Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar by Claudia Ross

Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar by Claudia Ross

Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar is a practical guide that provides traditional and function-based grammar all together. Part A covers phrase order, nouns, verbs, and specifiers. In Part B, you’ll learn all about communication strategies, making comparisons, seeking information, and expressing apologies.

In this, examples are given in simplified characters, clear explanations, and accessible descriptions. 

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Final Thoughts: Best Books To Learn Chinese

The 10 Chinese learning books above will help you expand your vocabulary, recognize each character in the language, and immerse yourself in the Chinese culture. 

If you’re trying to revitalize your Chinese skills or get down to the basics, books with characters and phrases may be best for you while starting out your journey in language learning. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to finally become a fluent Chinese speaker, books with helpful dialogue and comprehensive lessons may be best suited for your learning needs.

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