Some Chinese parents always try to keep their children away from the cartoon book shelf, because most books there focus on war, violence and the darker side of life. [Photo: Ningxia Daily]
In bookstores, it's very easy for parents to find an attractive looking book for their child; however, many Chinese parents complain that it's difficult to select an appropriate and meaningful book for their child.
Zhang Wan takes a closer look.
One parent in a bookstore in Tianjian municipality says she always keeps her son away from the cartoon book shelf, because most books there focus on war, violence and the darker side of life.
Another parent says she often finds inappropriate content in children's books such as pornography and violence. She adds children's book should be meaningful and educational.
"No sermon or lectures, through children's books. Children should be taught how to give love to other people, and how to be a real person. That's something more important I think."
Han Yinghong, a department head at Tianjin Normal University says children's book should be based on the age of the children as well as their understanding capability. He said adults should combine what we want children to know in these books and unconsciously influence them through the stories.
Apart from inappropriate content, some parents also complain about the repeated themes in the books
"Some children's books are simply randomly compiled with similar stories; for example, in the 365 night stories, you can find so many versions of the same stories."
"When we are at the bookstores with our child, we usually won't spend much time selecting books. As long as the kid likes any book, we'll buy it and bring it home. However, after we brought the books home, we found 90 percent of the stories in the books are similar."
These books have similar stories as well as similar titles; the only difference is their publishing house. Those stories not only cost parents more money for repeated content, but also make children less interested in reading. Therefore, many parents turn to best sellers from abroad, although they wish to provide children with more stories about Chinese figures. Here is another parent.
"I want to buy some stories, which were popular in our childhood, for example, stories about heroic figures such as Ma Liang and the Magic Pen. Through these stories, children will get to know more about kindness and braveness and the precious spirit that we should pass on to our next generation. However, it's hard nowadays to get such stories in the market."
Industry insider Bai Bing, who is a chief editor of a publishing house, says domestic publishing houses think more about their revenues, therefore, they prefer imported books, which have proved to be successful and popular overseas. So there is less risk compared to original Chinese books.
When asked how to provide children with more meaningful and helpful books, Bai says China should learn from the industrial practices abroad.
"In Europe and the US, books are graded on 26 levels and children's reading capabilities are also defined on 26 levels. So children with different reading capability can select appropriate books to read. However, in China, grading books is still something new."
For CRI, I am Zhang Wan.