Please Vote for Me-Award Winning Documentary

Though China's government is Communist, the third grade election for the prestigious position of Class Monitor at the Evergreen Primary School in Wuhan is being decided by a democratic vote. In this enlightening documentary, filmmaker Weijun Chen captures all the action as the three candidates -- two boys and a girl -- go all out to win: performing in a talent show, debating each other and delivering speeches to their classmates.

My Beijing Birthday, Great for family viewing
My Beijing Birthday is a 52-minute documentary that takes a heart-felt and humorous look at the rapidly changing lives of a group of young Beijingers through the eyes of an American, Howie Snyder.

The story shows us the group as 8 year olds in 1996 studying Chinese stand-up comedy with Howie and their teacher Mrs Ma. We visit the group again in 2008 as they reflect on their lives and their new dreams for the future.

This generation of children, known as China's new little emperors, is the first in the world to grow up without brothers and sisters. They have grown up amid the most rapid economic growth the world has ever seen.

In "My Beijing Birthday" Howie breaks through language and cultural barriers to show us how these children - and Beijingers in general - are a lot like his native New Yorkers: rough on the outside, but tender on the inside. This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Good for high school students:

Together: Together-Liu-Peiqi/dp/ B0000C2IW7/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd& ie=UTF8&qid=1291345333&sr=1-1

Director Chen Kaige moves from the epic sweep of Farewell My Concubine to a small, intimate story about a boy and his father--but creates just as rich an emotional impact. Liu Cheng (Liu Peiqi) takes his 13-year-old son Xiaochung (Tang Yun) to Beijing in the hope of finding a teacher who will foster the boy's talent on the violin. The adolescent boy soon becomes infatuated with one of their neighbors, a golddigger named Lili (the lovely Chen Hong), and becomes a pupil of Professor Jiang (Wang Zhiwen). But Liu discovers that a good teacher is not enough; if Xiaochung is to succeed in the world, he must have a teacher with connections--even if this ambition threatens to pull father and son apart. Together would be sappy if it weren't for the emotional honesty of the actors; under Kaige's clean direction, the movie is graceful and deeply moving. --Bret Fetzer

The king of masks: King-Masks-VHS-Zhigang-Zhang/ dp/0767844386/ref=sr_1_1?s= dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1291345522&sr= 1-1

The King of Masks tells a tale steeped in ancient tradition, simultaneously challenging the sociosexual inequity still plaguing China today. On the streets of Szechuan Province in the 1930s, the aged King of Masks, sole living master of "change-face" opera, delights and frightens audiences with the secret art of lightning-quick mask-shifting. His fondest wish is to pass on his skill to a male heir before he dies. Famous female impersonator Liang Sao Lang craves knowledge of the king's secret technique, offering to relieve the old man's poverty by taking him into his opera troupe. The king declines: what sort of heir would this half-female creature make? Instead, he buys an orphan on the black market, joyously showing him off as his grandson and heir. But soon the child is forced to disclose a dreaded secret--one that effectively renders him a person of no value according to Chinese custom. In the king's eyes, the kid goes from "beloved grandson" to "stupid crook," and both the old man and the child must pay dearly for his bigotry before they can know joy again. A deeply moving film, simply told and superbly acted. --Laura Mirsky

Weixiao Pasta 微笑 Pasta v=-7ClGo-YgZ0&feature=related
Soap opera aired in Taiwan, about relations between and among a group of college students. Youtube has neatly cut 7-10-minute segments.

Students Abroad 小留学生 v=udq5zmUt0lU&feature=related
Soap opera aired in China, about life of a group of high school students who went to Canada to study. Easy to understand language, hilarious theme song and some fun and clever language. Youtube has convenient 7-10-minute segments.

Say Goodbye to Vancouver 别了温哥华 XMTIxODY1MjA=.html Crime, fuss and suspence, a Mainland China soap set in Vancouver, BC with Jiang Wu. about young wife of a gangster who escaped to Vancouver and the subsequent 猫追老鼠game and friendship and love...Youku has well labelled full episode listing. Youtube has short clips, not so easily traced as the segment labelling is not clear.

眼花缭乱 view/SdXCqdpQ7y0/ full episodes. Very Beijing beautiful language. Life of a bunch of young people foreign and local, their life in Beijing.

Harold and the Purple Crayon. It's such a classic, and the quality is quite good. The speech is clear and slow, and follows the text in the books so that helps with discerning what they say.

Dora the Explorer DVDs. As a non-native speaker learning Mandarin myself, I find that the speech is less clear than Harold, though it is still fairly simple in vocabulary, and repetitive. She and her friends spend hours playing very excitedly about the "dao3 dan4 gui3."

The Charlie and Lola series is fun for slightly older children but the speech is must faster, and *I* have difficult understanding all they say - so not for those just learning Chinese. My daughter enjoys them, and culturally these translated DVDs seem good for the learners in this culture:

There are some sample episodes on and youtube such as here:

There is a series from Taiwan that is good for younger children, but meant for native speakers. As someone learning Chinese, it is one of those where I don't understand everything, so might be difficult for new learners. Still, catchy songs and generally no scary material for the little ones:

This is another series from Taiwan that seems fun for kids. I'm not sure why it is hosted by a Mrs. Doubtfire character (seems to disturb some of the younger kids), and also might be difficult for earlier level students to follow:

A music CD that I quite like is this one... I like that the pronounciation is clear, the songs are not translated Western songs, and they cover different rhythms of speech:

Speaking Tongues-an inspiration to those of us learning and teaching children Chinese (and any second/third/multi-) languages.

Great list of resources for parents of children learning Chinese:

For preschoolers learning Chinese I recommend "My first Chinese Words" by Better Chinese LLC for preschool thru second graders. It is a collection of 36 little books and comes with a DVD. I use them in class, but they are also great for home use (my daughter loves to thumb through them while listening to the DVD).