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Will you be celebrating the Chinese New Year? The date of the holiday varies each year on the Gregorian calendar, but in 2023 the Year of the Rabbit begins on January 22. Chinese New Year is arguably the most widely celebrated holiday in the world, with festivals and observations occurring all around the globe.
Angela’s kids are very fortunate to attend a public school with a very diverse student population, and each year they’ve had several students in their class from China whose parents are visiting professors at the local university. Through these friends, and through classroom lessons, they’ve both learned a lot about the Chinese New Year celebration and traditions like red envelopes.
Since they have loved learning about other cultural celebrations, we thought it could be helpful to put together a book list about the Chinese New Year for them and other kids!
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Chinese New Year Books for Kids
To help your children understand the history and significance of the Chinese New Year, we have put together a great list to read with your kids!
Playing with Lanterns
Originally published in China, this Chinese New Year picture book invites readers to join Zhao Di and her friends as they go out at night to celebrate with their paper lanterns. Every night, until the fifteenth day of New Year, the friends take part in this fun tradition.
Bringing in the New Year
Nian, The Chinese New Year Dragon
Nian, The Chinese New Year Dragon is part of Chinese legends. In this retelling, children will learn about the origins of several Chinese New Year traditions. First through third graders will love the compelling story of Mei and her destiny of saving her village by defeating Nian.
Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book
This engaging lift-the-flap book introduces Chinese New Year customs like lion dancers to even the smallest of readers.
Home for Chinese New Year: A Story Told in English and Chinese
This book focuses on the importance of family when it comes to celebrating the Chinese New Year. It tells the story of family reunion after Jia Jun's dad has a long journey home just in time for the Chinese New Year celebration. We love that the story is told in both English and Chinese!
This one is great for kids in pre-school through 3rd grade.
Peppa's Chinese New Year
If you have a Peppa Pig fan in your home, this is a great introduction to Chinese New Year for 4-8 year olds. The book includes a fun story about Peppa celebrating this grand holiday, as well as holiday facts and information at the end of the book.
Chelsea's Chinese New Year
Sometimes kids understand a topic better when they can imagine themselves in the role of the main character. That’s what makes Chelsea’s Chinese New Year so much fun for early elementary kids to read. They can put themselves in Chelsea’s place and pretend that they are celebrating too!
Ruby's Chinese New Year
Ruby is a little girl on her way to deliver a letter to her grandmother for the Chinese New Year. Along the way, she meets a succession of animals who join her on her journey. This story is described as reminiscent of "The Gingerbread Man" and "Little Red Hen," while incorporating Chinese zodiac animals. This book also has instructions for several craft projects great for 4 to 8 year olds at the end.
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
Introduce your kids to the Chinese New Year with this fun retelling of the classic Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas is a festive and fun story for pre-school and early elementary children.
Happy, Happy Chinese New Year!
This book shares the rituals that make up the Chinese New Year Festival in a picture book format for young children. It talks about what is expected during the last 15 days of the old year, as well as what to do in the new one.
The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac
Filled with gorgeous illustrations, this book is a retelling of the classic Chinese legend that tells the story of the Chinese Zodiac. As the new year approaches, each animal wants it to be named after them, but no one can agree. The Jade Emperor decides there should be a race to decide the winner. The book includes both Chinese characters and English.
The New Year Dragon Dilemma
A to Z Mysteries are always a hit in the 2nd-5th grade range. In this edition, Dink, Josh and Ruth Rose go to San Francisco's Chinatown during the Chinese New Year. When Miss Chinatown disappears, they have help clear the name of their guide, Holden.
China: Land of the Emperor's Great Wall - Magic Tree House Fact Tracker
The popular Magic Tree House series has a series of non-fiction companion books, including one about China. While the title is about the Great Wall, there is a section of the book that covers Chinese New Year. Pick this up for your 2nd to 5th graders along with Magic Tree House #14: Day of the Dragon King.
Celebrate Chinese New Year: With Fireworks, Dragons, and Lanterns
This National Geographic Kids book is part of the Holidays Around the World Series. Perfect for young readers in 1st - 4th grades, kids will be introduced to cultural traditions in a non-fiction format.
The Year of the Dog (A Pacy Lin Novel, 1)
The Year of the Dog is a great book for older children in the 8-12 year old range. Written by award winner Grace Lin, The Year of the Dog follows Pacy through a year her mom has told her will be lucky for friends, family, and herself.
Lunar New Year
Another great board book for little ones that will help them learn all about the celebration with three names: Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, and Lunar New Year. With beautiful artwork by Chinese illustrator Alina Chau, this book brings the magic of Chinese New Year to life for preschool and early elementary kids.
Chinese New Year Coloring Book
While it's not a reading book, this holiday craft activity book for kids (and adults) is a great way to introduce your kids to the Chinese New Year and all of the exciting things that take place within it.