The series Graded Readers for Chinese Language Learners is composed of 50 books, divided into three subseries, namely folktales, literary stories and historical stories, corresponding to Levels 1-3 respectively. The rich and fun content and easy-to-understand language makes it easy for everyone, whether they are foreigners learning Chinese, children with parents of Chinese origin, ethnic minority students of the Chinese language, or even primary school students in China, to read this series. It enables the readers to gradually improve their Chinese reading skills and enhance their understanding of Chinese culture by reading and enjoying stories.
The “Literary Stories” subseries is based on the Four Great Classical Novels in ancient China. From each novel some epic snippets are extracted and adapted into 4-6 books, each with 20-30 thousand characters. Altogether there are 20 books in the subseries, six of which are from Romance of the Three Kingdoms, four from Water Margin, six from Journey to the West and four from Dream of the Red Chamber.
Dream of the Red Chamber is a novel of worldwide influence by the Qing dynasty writer Cao Xueqin. It depicts the rise and fall of four great families—Jia, Xue, Wang and Shi, and tells the love story of Jia Baoyu, Lin Daiyu and Xue Baochai, etc. There are four books in this series based on this novel, namely The Rongguo Mansion and the Ningguo Mansion, The Grand View Garden, A Few Incidents in the Rongguo Mansion, and The Decline.
The Rongguo Mansion and the Ningguo Mansion introduces the origin of Dream of the Red Chamber and the main characters in the novel. The Rongguo Mansion and the Ningguo Mansion were two celebrated noble households in the capital back in the day. Jia Zheng’s wife gave birth to a son who carried a piece of jade in the mouth at birth. The boy was named Baoyu, meaning “precious jade”. As a young boy Baoyu always loved to hang around with girls. His cousin Lin Daiyu lost her mother when she was young, so their grandmother had her taken to the Rongguo Mansion. The young cousins Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu spent a lot of time together and got along very well. The peasant Liu Laolao and her poverty-stricken family came from the suburbs to the capital seeking help from the Rongguo Mansion. Did the manager of Rongguo Mansion Wang Xifeng help her or not?