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Chinese New Year


The symbols and activities of the Chinese New Year / Lunar New Year come to life in these children's picture books about the fifteen-day celebration of the Chinese New Year / Lunar New Year that takes place each year sometime between late January and late February. These books provide a fascinating look at this holiday as it is celebrated in the United States, Korea, and in China.


Celebrating Chinese New Year

What's it like to celebrate Chinese New Year in the United States? This delightful 32-page book by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith documents the celebration of fourth grader Ryan Leong and his family, who lives in San Francisco. The crisp, colorful photographs by Lawrence Migdale show Ryan and his family as they prepare for the holiday and the text explains the reasons for the various activities. The book includes both a glossary and an index. (Holiday House, 1998. ISBN: 0823415201)


New Clothes for New Year's Day

This charming picture book from South Korea is the story of a little girl who is getting ready to celebrate Solnal, the first day of the Lunar New Year, by putting on her special new holiday clothing. In words and artwork author and illustrator Hyun-Joo Bae portrays the little girl's joy in her new clothes as she carefully dresses herself in the colorful clothing, including a long crimson skirt, embroidered socks, rainbow-striped jacket, flowered shoes, furry vest, winter hat, and lucky bag. At book's end, there is more information about the Lunar New Year in Korea. (Kane/Miller, 2007. ISBN: 9781933605296)


Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year

This factual story, done in picture book format, is about the first Lion Dance of a young boy who lives in Chinatown in New York City. While the focus is on Ernie Wan's preparations for, and enjoyment of, the Lion Dance, authors Kate Waters and Madeline Slovenz-Low include a lot of other information about how Ernie and his family celebrate Chinese New Year. The color photographs by Martha Cooper illustrate many of the holiday activities. (Scholastic, 1990. ISBN: 0590430467)


Sam and the Lucky Money

This picture book by Karen Chinn stresses the joy that comes from giving to others. Sam and his mother celebrate Chinese New Year's day with a visit to Chinatown where Sam plans to buy himself something special with his "lucky money," a New Year's gift. The watercolor illustrations by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu capture all of the excitement of the celebration in the bustling streets of Chinatown. Despite the temptation of sweets from the bakery and the frustration of not having enough money for a basketball, Sam ultimately decides to give his money to a poor old man.(Lee & Low Books, 1995. ISBN:9781880000533)


Happy, Happy Chinese New Year!

This book by author and illustrator Demi is enfused with the joy of the Chinese New Year, both its preparations and celebrations. With simple text and captivating illustrations, Demi provides an overview of the activities in which the Chinese participate before and during Chinese New Year. I would recommend this book for four- to eight-year-olds as well as for adults who enjoy Demi's artwork. (Crown Books for Young Readers,2003. ISBN:

Celebrating Chinese New Year
by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith, Lawrence Migdale (Illustrator)
Go along with Ryan as he and his family prepare to celebrate Chinese New Year in their home and community.


The Chinese New Year Mystery (Nancy Drew Notebooks, No 39)
by Carolyn Keene, Jan Naimo Jones (Illustrator)
The third-grade classes at Nancy's school are learning about Chinese culture, and they'll celebrate the Chinese New Year with a special parade. The highlight of the parade will be a dragon costume that Nancy's class is making out of feathers, sequins, gold tassels, and red silk. But right before the big day, the dragon disappears!


The Dancing Dragon
by Marcia K. Vaughan, Stanley Wong Hoo Foon (Illustrator), Stanley W. Foon (Illustrator)
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.


Happy New Year! Kung-Hsi Fa-Ts'Ai : Kung-Hsi Fa-Ts'Ai
by Demi (Illustrator)
Children examine the flurry of activity associated with the Chinese New Year. Includes descriptions of everything from heavenly beings to candied cocunut. Children will also find their own animal sign of the Chinese New Year based on the year of their birth.


Lion Dancer : Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year
by Kate Waters, Madeline Slovenz-Low, Martha Cooper (Photographer)
On the Chinese New Year, six-year-old Ernie will perform his first Lion Dance. An intimate look at a Chinese household as the family shares a proud moment with Ernie.

Sam and the Lucky Money
by Karen Chinn, Cornelius Van Wright (Illustrator), Ying-Hwa Hu (Illustrator), Wright Cornelius Van (Illustrator)
A tale of a young boy eager to spend his lucky money on Chinese New Year day. As Sam searches the streets of Chinatown for ways to spend his four dollars, he stumbles upon a stranger in need. After he decides to give, rather than spend, his money, Sam realizes that he's he lucky one.


My First Chinese New Year. 

Karen Katz. Henry Holt and Company, 2004. 
Bright/vibrant collages illustrate this simple introduction to Chinese New Year.


This Next New Year

Janet S. Wong. Illustrated by YangSook Choi.  Frances Foster, 2000.
A young boy describes how his Chinese-Korean family prepares for and celebrates the Lunar New Year.

Grade Schoolers (Ages 5-7 = K-2nd Grade)

Chinese New Year Crafts.

Karen E. Bledsoe. Enslow PubPublishers, 2005.
Ten simple crafts for Chinese New Year.


The Roosterís Antlers: A Story of the Chinese Zodiac

Eric A Kimmel. Illustrated by YongSheng Xuan. Holiday House, 1999.
Dragon and Centipede trick Rooster into giving up his beautiful golden horns. Also explains how and why the zodiac animals were chosen. The colorful illustrations are  reminiscent of traditional Chinese papercuts.


Story of the Chinese Zodiac. 

Retold by Monica Chang. Illustrated by Arthur Lee. English Translation by Rick Charette. Yuan-Liou, 1994
Cut paper 3-dimensional collage retelling the animalsí race,  ratís treachery and explains why cat is not one of the zodiac animals.


Tweens (Ages 8-12 = 3rd-6th Grade)

Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac. 

Ed Young.  H.  Holt, 1995.
Tells of the animals' race, Ratís betrayal and why Cat is not one of the zodiac animals. The illustrations are charcoal and pastels on a dark background, making this more appropriate for the older crowd.


The Chinese Book of Animal Powers. 

Al Chung-liang Huang.  HarperCollins, 1999.
Large calligraphy-like illustrations depict each of the zodiac animals and explain their strengths and weaknesses.


Exploring Chinatown: A Childrenís Guide to Chinese Culture. 

Carol Stepanchuk.  Illustrated by Leland Wong.  Pacific View Press, 2002.
By taking a tour of a fictitious generic Chinatown, Chinese food, traditional medicine, language and writing, festivals, religion and art are explored. Includes recipes and suggestions for activities.


Moonbeams, Dumplings and Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities and Recipes.

Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz & The Childrenís Museum of Boston. Gulliver Bks/Harcourt Inc, 2002.
Presents background information, related stories and activities for five Chinese holidays: Chinese New Year, the Lantern Festival, Qing Ming, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-autumn Moon Festival.

Celebrating Chinese New Year 
by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith, Lawrence Migdale (Photographer)

Chinese New Year for Kids 
by Cindy Roberts

Dim Sum for Everyone
by Grace Lin

Dragon Dance - A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book 
by Joan Holub, Benrei Huang

Fortune Cookie Fortunes
by Grace Lin

Happy, Happy Chinese New Year 
by Demi Hitz

Grandfather Tang's Story 
by Ann Tompert

Happy New Year 
by Demi Hitz

Lanterns and Firecrackers - A Chinese New Year Story (Festival Time)

by Jonny Zucker, Jan Barger Cohen

Lion Dancer 
by Kate Waters, Martha Cooper (Illustrator)

Moonbeams, Dumplings, and Dragon Boats 
by Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz, and The Children's Museum, Boston

One Is a Drummer: A Book of Numbers
by Roseanne Thong

Round Is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes
by Roseanne Thong

Ruby's Wish
by Shirin Yim Bridges

Sam and the Lucky Money
by Karen Chinn, Cornelius Van Wright (Illustrator), Ying-Hwa Hu (Illustrator)

The Dancing Dragon 
by Marcia K. Vaughan, Stanley Wong Hoo Foon (Illustrator)

The Five Chinese Brothers 
by Claire Huchet Bishop

The Runaway Rice Cake 
by Ying Chang Compestine, Tungwai Chau (Illustrator)

This Next New Year 
by Janet S. Wong, Yangsook Choi (Illustrator)

Tikki Tikki Tembo
by Arlene Mosel


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