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 Chinese culture, and Chinese people all over the world take part. In fact, one-sixth of the world’s population celebrates Chinese New Year!
If you’re looking to learn more about the holiday or plan your own celebration, our family recommends these Chinese New Year Books.
11 Children’s Books About Chinese 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. 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.
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. Sam learns an important lesson about gratitude that kids from every culture will understand.
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.
D is for Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine — Another great choice for preschoolers, this gorgeous book walks through the elements of a Chinese New Year parade from A to Z. You’ll fall in love with the gorgeous illustrations by Yongsheng Xuan.
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. 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 little boy is anticipating the new year. 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.
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 the family learns an important lesson about generosity and sharing.
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?
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!
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