12 Best Mandarin Books for Beginners in 2023

Table of Contents

It’s thrilling to step into the unknown and learn a new language. Learning Mandarin, for one, will unlock multiple cultural opportunities. These options can be overwhelming, from YouTube courses to online classes. In this case, sticking to traditional textbooks and exercise samples can be your best bet.

Check out this curated list of twelve simple Mandarin learning books for beginners. It will be a great guide to know what your next step should be, no matter how early on in the process you are.

Top 12 books to learn Mandarin

  1. Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar

Whatever your Mandarin Grammar proficiency level may be, this Mandarin Grammar book is one of the best books to learn chinese for beginners. It will allow you to hone your grammar rules and eliminate all of the confusion once and for all. This book is separated into two overarching sections with a table of contents to help you find anything you need.

Where the earlier part of the book drives your focus to the basics with abundant examples, the latter half is a stepping stone to flesh out your Mandarin skills. 

Review: 4.5 stars (based on Amazon public review)

Amazon link: 


Ideal for: Anyone who wants to start learning Chinese

  1. HSK Chinese Grammar

HSK, short for Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, is a brilliant Chinese language book for beginners. It covers the basics of Mandarin literature and grammar rules in a concise and effective manner. The HSK Chinese grammar books are a series that tackle different proficiency levels for a more holistic approach.

With over 50 grammatical rules in every book and ample English translations, this Chinese grammar book for beginners will guide you well. Not only does it mark crucial points, but it also provides an overall glossary to brush up on the chapters.

Review: 5 stars (based on Amazon public review)

Amazon link:


Ideal for: Mandarin to English translation learners

  1. Basic Patterns of Chinese Grammar

Trace the basic patterns and drill them into your system using the best book to learn Mandarin. This book’s short yet precise chapters focus on grammatical rules that apply to common conversations. These cover word order, time-identifying, correct word choice, and common nouns and verbs in Mandarin.

This is a beginner-friendly book every Mandarin learner needs as a friend along their journey. Ace your fundamentals so that the building blocks of your language are firm.

Review: 4.5 stars (based on Amazon public review)

Amazon link:


Ideal for: Learning Mandarin fundamentals and grammar

  1. Complete Modern Chinese Grammar

If you want to scale up on difficulty, this Chinese language book for beginners is the way to go. It takes a deep dive into some of the most pronounced aspects of Mandarin grammar. A sub-total of 140 elaborate chapters provides relevant insights and key points to ensure a seamless learning process.

Every chapter is a step ahead of the game. As you go through each of these, you will realise that what you’ve just learned is preparing you for a test in the next chapter. It transitions from nouns to sentence structures over a bridged period. This simple Mandarin book for beginners will ensure that you make minimal errors.

Review: 4.5 stars (based on Amazon public review)

Amazon link: 


Ideal for: Beginners who want to learn further and test their knowledge

  1. Essential Mandarin Chinese Grammar: Write and Speak Like A Native!

Not one student learns without mistakes. How about a book highlighting some of the most common mistakes one can make while studying Mandarin? This book is a true lifesaver and an optimistic approach to representing the learning curve realistically. Every chapter briefs you on the topic and grammar structure and offers an exercise to put this knowledge to use.

This unique approach makes this book the best Chinese learning book for beginners. It takes the learning process to the next level by shedding a positive light on mistakes. From examples to native-like speech, this book will help you master it all.

Review: 4.5 stars (based on Amazon public review)

Amazon link: 


Ideal for: Learners mastering native-level Mandarin

  1. Chinese Grammar Wiki Book

If you’re a fan of the digital approach to learning, this Chinese language book for beginners will be your best friend. A distinct feature of this book is that it displays the information in the format used on Wikipedia pages. It is simpler to navigate and understand in a few minutes.

This Chinese grammar book for beginners breaks down the content into proficiency-based chapters. It challenges the learner while simultaneously keeping it manageable. This book explains grammar rules easily with a bunch of examples for you to solve and excel.

Review: 4.5 stars (based on Amazon public review)

Amazon link: 


Ideal for: Digital learners who want to study Mandarin

  1. 500 Common Chinese Idioms

No matter how well you know a language, a conversation does not sound 100 per cent natural without idioms. When it comes to Mandarin, its idioms are at the heart of this language. Grab your copy of this best Chinese book for beginners to speak Mandarin like a pro. This power move will help you gain confidence and be a fluent speaker in no time.

Chinese idioms not only offer proficiency but also help you convey what you mean in a clear way. To deliver these idioms effectively, this Chinese story book for beginners comes with a backstory to keep your interest peaked.

Review: 4.5 stars (based on Amazon public review)

Amazon link:


Ideal for: Learners who want to ace Mandarin down to the tee

  1. Colloquial Chinese


If you’re an amateur eager to learn Mandarin but unsure of where to start, this best Chinese learning book for beginners is your ticket to a smooth learning process. This book’s objective is to form a vocabulary and phrase bank of common words. Because a majority of the words revolve around casual conversation, it will truly prepare you for social interactions.

You can also learn Mandarin slang to be on top of your game. Pick this book for a straightforward and efficient learning source.

Review: 4.5 stars (based on Amazon public review)

Amazon link: 


Ideal for: Acing daily conversations in Mandarin.

  1. Integrated Chinese

The 4th edition of Integrated Chinese is a must-have if you want to be fluent in Mandarin. This book tackles the core technicalities of Chinese grammar, sentence structure and many other aspects of Mandarin. Listening, Speaking, Practicing, and reading are innate parts of this syllabus.

It blends educational audio clips with traditional exercises and visual prompts. Moreover, a summary after every set of 5 chapters will allow you to brush up on the earlier topics. This is the best book to learn Mandarin as it helps you achieve accurate pronunciation.

Review: 4.5 stars (based on Amazon public review)

Amazon link:


Ideal for: Beginners who aim to read, write and speak Mandarin

  1. Tuttle Learning Chinese Characters

Tuttle Learning Chinese characters is your guide as an absolute beginner. It will hone your Mandarin alphabet as no other book can. Equipped with an understandable demonstration of each of the 2000 characters in Mandarin, this book is the best book to learn Chinese for beginners. Most language schools incorporate it in their curriculum.

The structure of this book is fairly digestible. It lets you take baby steps and eases you into the more complex technicalities of Mandarin.

Review: 4.5 stars (based on Amazon public review)

Amazon link: 


Ideal for: One of the top choices of Mandarin classes, this book will make you an expert of basics.

  1. The Michael Thomas Method: Speak Mandarin Chinese for Beginners

This is the best coursework out there for speaking Mandarin with fluency. The author of this book incorporates a method called the Michael Thomas method. It dwells into colours as a trigger to recognise concepts faster. This powers your memory and hints to you at the cues to identify.

This way, you can easily master your basics. It is one of the best Chinese learning books for beginners to introduce Mandarin.

Review: 4 stars (based on Amazon public review)

Amazon link:


Ideal for: Creative learners who want to study Mandarin in a unique way.

  1. Mandarin Chinese Picture Dictionary

Regarding the demographic age group, this book is best suited for toddlers and kids studying in the elementary grade. It covers various topics with words that have relevance in this language. This is the best Chinese learning book for beginners you can get your hands on.

Furthermore, it involves plenty of illustrations to help you jog your memory. Besides children, this book will guide your learning journey and allow you the space and time to get the hang of it.

Review: 4.5 stars (based on Amazon public review)

Amazon link:


Ideal for: Visual learners of Mandarin

Wrapping Up
Now that you are up to date with the best books to learn Chinese for beginners, here comes the real part. Create a schedule that suits you and follow it with realistic goals. With effort, time, and dedication, these books are bound to benefit you.