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 Decline tells the story of how the Jias’ property was confiscated and the family declined. Jia Lian secretly married You Erjie, and the news came to Xifeng. When Jia Lian was not home, Xifeng ticked You Erjie into the Rongguo Mansion and tortured her to death. Baoyu lost his jade and became a fool. In order to “bring him good luck”, Grandma Jia decided to arrange a marriage for Baoyu, bringing Baoyu and Daiyu’s love to a tragic end. Baoyu married Xue Baochai, and Daiyu died. The emperor sent troops to search the Jia family and confiscate their property, and thus began the decline of the once prosperous family. At the end, Jia Baoyu left home and ran away.