17 Picture Books for Chinese New Year
Bringing in the New Year
by Grace Lin
published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
In a brightly colored board book, perfect for the youngest child, Newbery Honoree Grace Lin tells the tale of a Chinese American family as they prepare for the Lunar New Year. Each family member lends a hand as they sweep out the dust of the old year, hang decorations, and make dumplings. Then it's time to celebrate. There will be fireworks and lion dancers, shining lanterns, and a great, long dragon parade at the end!
Lin's bold and gloriously patterned artwork makes for an unforgettable holiday tale. Her story is simple and tailor-made for reading aloud to young children, and she includes an informative author's note for parents, teachers and children who want to learn even more.
My First Chinese New Year
by Karen Katz
published by Square Fish
Chinese New Year is a time of new beginnings. Follow one little girl as she learns how to welcome the coming year and experience all the festivities surrounding it. Karen Katz's warm and lively introduction to a special holiday will make even the youngest child want to start a Chinese New Year tradition!
A New Year's Reunion
by Yu Li Qiong
illustrated by Zhu Cheng Liang
published by Candlewick
This poignant, vibrantly illustrated tale, which won the prestigious Feng Zikai Chinese Children’s Picture Book Award in 2009, is sure to resonate with every child who misses relatives when they are away — and shows how a family’s love is strong enough to endure over time and distance.
Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats
by Nina Simonds and Leslie Swartz
illustrated by Meilo So
published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Filled with delectable recipes, hands-on family activities, and traditional tales to read aloud, this extraordinary collection will inspire families everywhere to re-create the magic of Chinese holidays in their own homes. They can feast on golden New Year's dumplings and tasty moon cakes, build a miniature boat for the Dragon Boat Festival and a kite at Qing Ming, or share the story of the greedy Kitchen God or the valiant warrior Hou Yi.
Emma's American Chinese New Year
by Amy Meadows
illustrated by Soon Kuong Teo
published by Outskirts Press
It's time to celebrate the Chinese New Year - in America! Emma was adopted from China, and every year she eagerly awaits the celebration of the Chinese New Year. She and her family observe the special holiday by participating in traditional customs and activities that honor Emma's Chinese heritage-all with an American twist. It's time to decorate the house, bake moon cakes, make Chinese lanterns, and ring in the Lunar New Year with friends and family. Join Emma in her very own American Chinese New Year! This colorful, delightfully illustrated book just begs to be read aloud, celebrating diverse culture and the joy adopted children bring to a family. Gung Hay Fat Choy!
The Runaway Wok
by Ying Chang Compestine
illustrated by Sebastia Serra
published by Dutton Juvenile
When a boy goes to the market to buy food and comes home with an old wok instead, his parents wonder what they'll eat for dinner. But then the wok rolls out of the poor family's house with a skippity-hoppity-ho! and returns from the rich man's home with a feast in tow!
With spirited text and lively illustrations, this story reminds readers about the importance of generosity.
Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-lan
by Lauren Silverhardt
illustrated by Jason Fruchter and Aka Chickasawa
published by Simon Spotlight/Nickelodeon
Join Kai-lan for a Chinese New Year celebration! Kai-lan and her friends get to carry the dragon costume in the big parade - but can they work together to make the dragon dance?
The Dancing Dragon
by Marcia K. Vaughn
illustrated by Stanley Wong Hoo Foon
published by Mondo Pub
The Chinese New Year is about to begin. There's lots to do--tie strings of firecrackers outside, hang up red scrolls, bake special cakes, and sing New Year's songs. And when family and friends are gathered together, it's time for the parade to begin. This book folds out to reveal all the color and excitement of a traditional Chinese New Year celebration, complete with dancing dragon!
Ten Mice for Tet
by Pegi Deitz Shea and Cynthia Weill
illustrated by To Ngoc Trang
published by Chronicle Books
It's time for Tet! This vibrant, unique counting book introduces children to the rich traditions of the Vietnamese New Year. A playful village of mice lead young readers through the joyful celebration, as exquisitely embroidered illustrations recreate ten scenes of preparation, gift giving, feasting, and firework displays. With simple text followed by an informative afterword, Ten Mice for Tet is a joyful tribute to a special holiday.
Happy, Happy Chinese New Year
published by Crown Books for Young Readers
In a book that is itself a celebration, Demi explains the rituals and ideas behind the Chinese New Year festival. The last 15 days of the old year are spent cleaning and preparing (‘Wash your hair and get a new haircut. Pay the debts that you owe and collect what is owed to you!’). On the eve of the new moon, a special feast is prepared. . . . The first 15 days of the new year are spent celebrating with lion dances, firecrackers, and other activities. Demi’s characteristic tiny, lively figures illustrate each page, with several spreads devoted to small, labeled pictures identifying things associated with the holiday. Infused with joy and filled with information
Lucky New Year
by Mary Man-Kong
illustrated by Chi Chung
published by Golden Books
Come celebrate the Chinese New Year with its magical traditions— from giving gifts to watching parades! Children will love to scratch and sniff the sweet oranges, turn the wheel to find their Chinese animal year, lift the flap to find the lucky money, and watch the big dragon pop up to wish them a year filled with wisdom, wealth, and happiness. Happy Chinese New Year!
D is for Dragon Dance
by Ying Chang Compestine
illustrated by Yongsheng Kuan
published by Scholastic
The most important part of the New Year's festivities - the New Year parades - features dancing dragons,symbols of goodness and strength.
Celebrate Chinese New Year with the Fong Family
by Alma F. Ada and F. Isabel Campoy
published by Alfaguara Infantil
A Chinese-American family invites their good friends the Sánchez, a Latino family, to celebrate with them the Chinese New Year. Nico, one of the Latino kids takes the reader through the magnificence of the celebration as he takes pictures of everything he finds interesting not without getting in trouble. Contains an informative section about the Chinese New Year.
This Next New Year
by Janet S. Wong
illustrated by Yangsook Choi
published by Frances Foster Books
A young boy looks forward to Chinese New Year - also known as the Lunar New Year, the day of the first new moon. It is a time of hope, and you don't have to be Chinese to celebrate it! His best friend, Glenn, who is French and German, and his cousin Evelyn, part Hopi and part Mexican, like the food and the envelopes of money, while he celebrates the fresh start the day offers. He cleans the house to make room for luck, and is glad the palms of his hands itch - that means he is coming into money. Most of all, he vows not to say things such as "can't do / don't have / why me" because he has dreams he is ready to make come true. Janet S. Wong's spare, lyrical couplets voice a child's determination to face the new year with courage and optimism. Yangsook Choi captures the spirit of celebration in her vibrant, energetic pictures.
Lanterns and Fireworks
by Jonny Zucker
illustrated by Jan Barger Cohen
published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books
A simple introduction to the Chinese New Year festival. Follow a family as they let off firecrackers, watch the amazing dragon dances and light their beautiful lanterns to celebrate the start of their New Year. This book introduces young children to world religions and focuses on the way the festival is celebrated today. There is detailed historical and cultural information at the end for parents and teachers.
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
by Natasha Yim
illustrated by Grace Zong
published by Charlesbridge
In this Chinese American retelling of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," a careless Goldy Luck wreaks havoc on the home of a family of panda bears. She eats up the littlest panda’s rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and rumples all the blankets on his futon. When Goldy takes responsibility for her actions, she makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!) just in time for Chinese New Year.
Chelsea's Chinese New Year
by Lisa Bullard
illustrated by Katie Saunders
published by Cloverleaf Books
Chelsea's family is celebrating Chinese New Year! Chelsea gets to stay up late. She watches fireworks and a parade with a dragon! She and her family have a big feast. Find out the different ways people celebrate this special day!
Learn the history behind the days people celebrate in the Holidays and Special Days series, part of the Cloverleaf Books™ collection. These nonfiction picture books feature kid-friendly text and illustrations to make learning fun!
Fun Facts About Chinese New Year
I visited www.chinahighlights.com (along with several other sites) to research Chinese New Year. Here are some interesting facts I learned:
Chinese New Year 2015 begins on Thursday 19 February, and end on 3 March. It is day one month one of the Chinese lunar calendar, and its date in January or February varies from year to year (always somewhere in the period January 21 to February 20).
The Chinese lunar calendar goes by the Chinese zodiac
, it has 12 animal signs: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, Rooster, dog, and pig. Each animal represents one year in a 12-year cycle, and begins on Chinese New Year's Day.
Chinese New Year is a time for families to be together. Wherever they are, people come home to celebrate the festival with their families. Families celebrate with a dinner called a Reunion Dinner and believe it is the most important meal of the year. They eat "lucky" food like fish (which is believed to bring a surplus) and Chinese dumplings (because the shape look like Chinese money).
People exchange gifts during the Spring Festival, just as Americans do during the winter holidays. The most common gifts are red envelopes. Red envelopes contain money and are given to children and (retired) seniors.
You can buy plain red envelopes or you get pretty ones like this with that year's animal on them:
If you are looking for other fun ways to celebrate Chinese New Year with
your young readers, check out these awesome blogs:
And if you are all about learning and appreciating other cultures, click on the image below for a link to tons of awesome multicultural books!