Lunar New Year, also called Chinese New Year or the Spring Celebration, indicates the beginning of the new year on the traditional Chinese lunar-solar calendar. The celebration is a very important part of many Asian cultures, and people all over the world take part. In fact, one-sixth of the world’s population celebrates Lunar New Year!
If you’re looking to learn more about the holiday or plan your own celebration, our family recommends these Lunar New Year Books.
14 Children’s Books About Lunar New Year
Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin
Everyone has a job to do as a Chinese-American family prepares for Chinese New Year. Family members sweep, clean, hang decorations, and prepare food to welcome in the new year.
This bright picture book is perfect for preschoolers, and has a fold-out picture of the dragon parade at the end.
A New Year’s Reunion: A Chinese Story by Yu Li-Quiong
Holidays can be hard when the family members we love are far away. This is a beautiful story of how love holds a family together even when the individual members are separated by miles and miles. Along the way, the reader learns about the special celebration of Chinese New Year.
This book is perfect for sharing with kids ages 4 and up.
Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn
Sam is so excited to spend the money he received in his leisees (red money envelopes) from his grandparents. However, there isn’t enough money to get the thing he really wants. But Sam soon finds a better use for his money than buying something for himself.
I recommend reading this book with children ages 4 and up.
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim
This retelling of a classic fairy tale has Goldy Luck visiting the home of a Panda family. The familiar elements of the original story have been replaced with traditional Chinese food and furnishings, and Goldy Luck is able to make things right just in time for the new year celebration.
This fun fairy tale is great for kids ages 2 and up.
D is for Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine
Another great choice for preschoolers, this bilingual book walks through the elements of a Chinese New Year parade from A to Z. Acrobats flip, dragons dance, and friends make decorations and share food. You’ll fall in love with the gorgeous illustrations by Yongsheng Xuan.
Kids ages 3 and up will love this beautiful book.
Emma’s American Chinese New Year by Amy Meadows
Emma was adopted from China, and every year she celebrates Chinese New Year with her family. Together they bake moon cakes, make lanterns, and enjoy their time together. Along the way, we see how this family blends cultures to celebrate everything that makes Emma who she is.
This is a great story of blending two cultures, it makes an excellent read-aloud for parents and teachers.
This Next New Year by Janet S. Wong
In this simple rhyming story, a Chinese Korean boy is anticipating the new year. His friends, who are not Chinese, join in the celebration as well! This book shares the hope and determination of facing a new year, something people of all cultures can understand.
You can find this book in both bilingual and English-only editions. It’s perfect for kids ages 3 and up.
The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine
A little boy’s parents are not amused when he brings home an old wok from the market, instead of food. However, the wok has magical powers, and it skips through the countryside, gathering food, toys, and other items. With a spirit of generosity, the boy’s family is then able to share those items with their neighbors.
This fun take on Jack and the Beanstalk is perfect for little ones ages 4 and up.
Moonbeams, Dumplings, and Dragonboats by Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz, and the Children’s Museum Boston
This book is a must-have for teachers and parents who want to plan their own Chinese New Year celebration. It includes recipes, crafts, and traditional Chinese stories so you can create your own festival in your home or classroom. An excellent resource!
The Race for the Chinese Zodiac by Gabrielle Wang
Chinese zodiac signs are an important part of the culture, and this beautifully-illustrated book tells the story of how they came to be. The Jade Emperor declares that the 12 animals to cross the river first will have a year of the zodiac named after them. Who will win, and how will they get there?
I recommend reading this book with children ages 5 and up.
Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book by Joan Holub
This interactive book takes the reader through all the parts of a Chinese New Year celebration. Young children will love lifting the flaps to see what is underneath, and all readers will enjoy the illustrations by Benrei Huang. I highly recommend this one as a parent-child read aloud; in my experience, lift-the-flap books don’t last long in a preschool setting!
Every Month is a New Year by Marilyn Singer
This fascinating book examines not only Chinese New Year, but all of the new year celebrations around the world. People in Thailand, Ethiopia, Iran, and other nations celebrate their own new year holidays with their own customs and traditions. No matter the month, there’s probably a new year happening!
This fun nonfiction book is great for kids ages 7 and up.
Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee
Ruby drew a beautiful picture for Chinese New Year, and she wants to give it to her grandmother as a gift. When she needs help delivering her artwork to her grandmother’s house, she enlists the help of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac.
This fun fantasy tale is perfect for children ages 4 and up.
Our Lunar New Year by Yobi Qiu
China isn’t the only country that celebrates Lunar New Year! This book follows children in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, and India as they celebrate the Lunar New Year. Each child celebrates differently, with customs and traditions that are all their own.
This book is a fun read for kids ages 4 and up.