Children can learn so much about Chinese language and culture from reading aloud short stories on Chinese proverbs. However, there is nothing “childish” about these stories. Here is dd#2 “Georgia” reading statagem #1 of the Thirty-Six Stratagems. This recording only took about a dozen take, LOL, to get only one mistake in pronunciation (at least that’s what I think).
Wikipedia on Thirty-Six Stratagems (三十六计）: The Thirty-Six Stratagems was a Chinese essay used to illustrate a series of stratagems used in politics, war, and civil interaction…….. The Thirty-Six Stratagems are divided into a preface, six chapters containing six stratagems each, and an afterword that was incomplete with missing text. The first three chapters generally describe tactics for use in advantageous situations, whereas the last three chapters contain stratagems that are more suitable for disadvantageous situations. The original text of the Thirty-Six Stratagems has a laconic style that is common to Classical Chinese. Each proverb is accompanied by a short comment, no longer than a sentence or two, that explains how said proverb is applicable to military tactics. These 36 Chinese proverbs are related to 36 battle scenarios in Chinese history and folklore, predominantly of the Warring States period and the Three Kingdoms Period.
The Chinese culture is rather pragmatic. Children raised in America read and listen to Disney and Mother Goose fairy tale stories. Though children in society of Chinese heritage read fairy tale stories too, they have the Thirty-Six Stratagems, amongst other cultural stories, proverb books, and poems. Children’s book on Thirty-Six Stratagems come in different levels too, some claimed to be more suitable for kindergarten and young grade schooler according to the publishers. In terms of content, adult readers of western culture may mistake such books as ones for college course on Chinese political theories, similar to the way students of Western political theory course study The Prince by Nicollo Machiavelli.