GoBooBoo Books and CDs Teach Kids Mandarin – Review and 30% Off

It’s been a struggle for me to get my boys to learn Chinese, but since we’re headed to Taiwan in a few months, we’d better brush up! So when GoBooBoo approached me with the chance to try out this new system of books and CDs, I thought, why not?


Marisa Liu Hanke worked with the owners of A Little Dynasty Chinese School in Irvine, California to create the GoBooBoo curriculum. Hanke and her husband speak English at home, making it hard for her  son, who’s now six, to learn Mandarin. “Although I tried speaking to my son in Chinese and bought a ton of books and DVDs of all kinds, I was unsuccessful in capturing his attention to want to learn,” she says. That changed when she brought her son to A Little Dynasty two years ago.

She credit’s the school’s system of using both Pin Yin system (the Romanized form of phonetically spelling Mandarin, used on mainland China) as well as Zhu Yin system (otherwise known as bo po mo fo, used by Taiwanese school kids). While I find the Pin Yin translations easy, as that’s how I learned Chinese in college, all the X’s, Q’s and Z’s can be confusing to English speakers. “Since A Little Dynasty has a lot of families who are of mixed Asian backgrounds,” Hanke explains, “the school received a lot of requests for books to be translated and learning aids to be provided so they knew how to help their children learn the Chinese alphabet.”

GoBooBoo book


So Hanke, who was on maternity leave from a corporate job, worked together with the husband and wife team at A Little Dynasty to co-create the GoBooBoo program, which includes books, CDs, conversion charts. They are also working on digital apps for iPhone, iPad and Android which are scheduled to be released later this year.

We received three books: BooBoo’s Chinese Grooves for Toddlers, BooBoo’s Chinese Grooves for Kids, and My First Chinese Alphabet (pictured above). Each book comes with a professionally recorded CD, so kids can hear the language from a native speaker. Some of the songs are set to popular English nursery rhyme tunes and others are original melodies. “We specifically wanted all content to be created here in the U.S. since we know what it is children here respond to and like, versus having children learn Chinese by using materials created by overseas educators who do not understand what is COOL in America!” Hanke says.




I particularly like the song in the BooBoo’s Chinese Grooves for Kids book about the Night Market! That will really get us in the mood for Taiwan.


GoBooBoo Giveaway

Here’s your chance to win a BooBoo’s Chinese Grooves for Kids book and CD and a set of My First Chinese Alphabet flash cards (retail value $45) — just in time for Chinese New Year.

How to enter:

  • Simply leave a comment below!
  • For extra entries, you can do one or more of the following, and let us know about each in a separate comment below:


I’ll pick a winner on Friday, February 28.


30% Discount for HapaMama Readers

And because everyone loves a bargain, GoBooBoo is offering a special 30% off  coupon. Just enter: HMAMA  at checkout on the GoBooBoo website. Offer good through 2/10/13.

GoBooBoo sent us books and CDs for review and will provide a book and flash cards for the contest winner, but all the opinions expressed are my own.

Congratulations Stefanie Wong, winner of the Go Boo Boo set!



  1. Alithea says

    Would love to get this for my kids! My daughter is in a mandarin immersion program…and even though they aren’t learning the Bo po mo fo, most of the books they use all have it! So, if I learn it I may actually be able to help her :)

  2. says

    I’m definitely going to try these out — we have been accumulating plenty of Chinese / pinyin / bopomofo books, but as Hanke points out, there’s a huge culture gap across many of them. Especially bizarre is when the story is Western (e.g. Snow White), translated into Chinese, and then translated into English!

    Of course I have the opposite worry too – a lot of the more “native” bilingual books I find (there are not that many) show — how should I say this — “Chinese” ways of thinking that I also want my kids to learn. So I don’t want the stories to be *too* “American” either! But… you can’t have it all.

    Thanks for this great review!

  3. DBChen says

    I’ve been looking for materials to help me teach my daughter Chinese. These would be great.

    We are also heading to Taiwan in a few months. This would help me brush up on my Chinese too

  4. says

    A) I’m so jealous of your upcoming Taiwan trip! We’re trying to figure out when we can get back there next.

    B) This learning system sounds awesome! I’ve put our 6yo in classes with some luck, but this would be a great supplement.

  5. Cindy says

    My almost 3 yr old daughter has been exposed to various Chinese characters and I am interested in teaching her the functional and conversational aspects of it as I hope that it would reinforce her curiosity and interest. Since she really doesn’t have anyone to practise speaking with besides for me, I am actively searching for a way to keep her interest. We are currently visiting my parents in Singapore and we have been trying to immerse her in Chinese whenever we can. However, she doesn’t appear to be very keen and even the Chinese classes with other kids have not proved to be very inspiring. I am hoping that the GooBooBoo series will make a difference!

  6. Angela says

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve been looking for ways to teach my toddler mandarin… Grandma has taught him a lot, but the audio CDs sound great for the car. I just bought one with the discount code. Thanks!

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