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.
Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels, tells the story of 108 heroes at the end of Northern Song Dynasty, Song Jiang as their head, who gathered together and rose in rebellion and then were recruited by the government to fight battles. There are four books in this series based on this novel, namely Driven to Join the Liangshan Rebels, The Corrupt Official’s Birthday Gift, Wu Song, and Song Jiang.
Song Jiang tells the story of Songjiang, an obliging man who was forced to join the Liangshan rebels after a series of incidents. Song Jiang was friends with Chao Gai and others on Liangshan. His letters with them were discovered by his concubine Yan Poxi, who tried to take this opportunity to blackmail him. Song Jiang killed her out of desperation and ran away to take refuge. When visiting his friend Hua Rong, Song Jiang was framed and therefore decided to go to Liangshan leading the forces of Qingfeng Mountain. However, having fallen for a trick played by his father, he went home and was punished by the royal court with a facial tattoo and banishment to Jiangzhou. One day when he was drunk, Song Jiang wrote a “rebellious” poem, which was taken advantage of by Huang Wenbing and for which he was given the death penalty. Thanks to Chao Gai and the group he led, Song Jiang was rescued and went to Liangshan. After Chao Gai died, Song Jiang set his mind on being recruited by the government. After being recruited, most of the Liangshan heroes died. Song Jiang and his sworn brother Li Kui also died from poisoned wine and had a tragic ending.