Book Mama: Books for the Chinese New Year

Books for the Chinese New Year

chinese new year books from boy mama teacher mama

I have always been intrigued by the Chinese New Year and all the traditions and festivities that surround it.  While living in Australia, I was able to experience many of the these traditions first hand. I have collected quite a few wonderful books about the Chinese New Year and wanted to share them with you. I hope you find something you like!

Note:  All these books and more are now availabe through BMTM’s aStore. Click here for more information.


Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year by Kate Waters

(ages 4 and up)

This is the story of 6 year old, Ernie Wan, who is preparing to perform his first Lion Dance for the Chinese New Year. This book takes a close look at how a Chinese family prepares for the new year and how they share in a very proud moment with their son.

Rookie Read-About Holidays: Chinese New Year by David Marx

(4 and up)

A excellent introduction to the Chinese New Year with a photo and one or two sentences on each page, it is a perfect first look at the celebration.

Celebrating Chinese New Year by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith

(ages 4 and up)

This book is best suited for grade schoolers although a 4 year old would enjoy it as well. There is a great deal of text accompanied by photos which share many of the traditions associated with the Chinese New Year. A great book for adults who know little about the Chinese New Year as well!

Celebrations in my World: Chinese New Year by Carrie Gleason

(ages 5 and up)

In this book, a combination text, photos and illustrations, tell the story of the Chinese New Year.  This is probably my favorite non-fiction books about the Chinese New Year because of its simplicity and its gorgeous photos.

 D is for Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine

A is for acrobat, b is for balls, c is for calligraphy. This alphabet book explores the Chinese New Year with simple text and beautiful illustrations. My favorite? D is for dragon dance of course!


Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin

(3 and up)

This is the story of a Chinese American family preparing  for the Lunar New Year. Each member of the family helps out with the preparations- the cleaning, the decorating and the cooking.  New clothes, fireworks, lion dancers, lanterns and even a parade help bring in the new year.  There is even an extra-long fold out page at the end of the story depicting the dragon parade.

Dragon Dance : A Chinese New Year Lift the Flap by Joan Holub

(ages 2 and up)

This book introduces the youngest of children to the traditions of the Chinese New Year– preparing for the celebration, sharing meals with family and friends, receiving red envelopes and watching the parade are just some of the fun things to do during the Chinese New Year.

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn

(ages 5 and up)

This year Sam is allowed to spend the money in his red envelopes anyway he likes.  He and his mom shop in Chinatown, but everything Sam sees is too expensive.  Finally, he decides to skip the tasty treats and new toys for himself and instead gives his New Year’s money to a homeless man he meets in town.

Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim

(ages 4 and up)

Ruby’s wish is to go to college like her brothers.  She is convinced that she will only be allowed to marry and be a wife and mother. But on the Chinese New Year, the red envelope given to her by her grandfather holds not the money it usually contains, but something even more special.

This Next New Year by Janet S. Wong

(ages 4 and up)

A young boy looks forward to the Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year- a time of hope and a celebration not only for people of Chinese decent.  The boy’s friends all enjoy the celebration just as much as he does for a variety of reasons- some for the food  and others for the red envelopes filled with money. The boy helps with the preparations for the New Year and looks forward to the fresh start the day offers.

The Day the Dragon Danced by Kay Haugaard

(ages 4 and up)

Sugar and her grandma are headed for the Chinese New Year’s Day parade. Sugar’s grandma is  unsure about a February new year’s parade and the scary dragons. Young Sugar, who learned all about the Chinese New Year from her teacher at school, is excited as can be for the parade and to watch her father perform the dragon dance in the parade. As Sugar watches the dance, she tries to remember what her father’s shoes look like so she can watch him closely.  Soon she notices, however, that the dragon isn’t dancing so well and realizes that it is because her father’s shoe is untied!  Sugar’s quick thinking and shoe tying skills save the not only the dance, but the parade as well.

Paper Lanterns by Stefan Czernecki

(ages 5 and up)

Chen is getting too old to make his beautiful paper lanterns, but has no one to carry on his tradition until a boys shows up.  The old man gives the boy chores to do around the shop and while working, the boy observes the master’s work and practices at home.  When the Lantern Festival comes around, Chen is too tired to finish the dragon masterpiece so the boy does it for him and Chen has finally found a worthy apprentice.

Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan

(ages 4 and up)

Dumpling Soup takes place in the Hawaiian Islands where young Marisa helps make the dumplings to celebrate the New Year. Her dumplings don’t quite look like the others and she worries that no one will want to eat her strange-looking dumplings.  

The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine

(6 and up)

Such a great story! This book is a combination of Gingerbread Boy and Jack and the Beanstalk, but instead of a gingerbread boy and beans, it is about a old wok that runs runs away from the poor family’s home with a “skippity-hoppity-ho!” and returns with food and treasures from the rich man’s home.

The Runaway Rice Cake by Ying Chang Compestine

It is the Chinese New Year and the Change family has only enough rice to make one nian-gao or rice cake.  But once the rice cake is out of the pot, it comes to like and takes off crying, “Ai yo! I don’t think so.” The rice cake escapes being eaten by several members of the village and eventually bumps into an old, very hungry woman.  The hungry family catches up to the rice cake and agrees to give the rice cake to the old woman instead of eating it themselves.  When the family returns home they are still hungry, but are pleasantly surprised when they find what the Kitchen God has left for them.

A New Year’s Reunion by Yu Li-Qiong

Maomao’s father works faraway from home and only returns once a year for the Chinese New Year.  When her father first arrives home for the new year, she hardly recognizes him, but before long the family is happily preparing for the new year and it is like he never left.  All too soon, her father has to leave and Maomao’s family has to wait yet another year to see him again.  This is a great story for children who miss important people in their lives and how strong a family’s love can be.

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12 thoughts on “Book Mama: Books for the Chinese New Year

  1. Pingback: InCultureParent | 18 Ways to Celebrate the Lunar New Year with Crafts, Food and Children’s Books

  2. Pingback: Teacher Mama: Chinese New Year Activities and Resources {After School Linky} | Boy Mama Teacher Mama

  3. That’s weird. I did my whole comment but when I submitted it, it said my session had timed out. I did a good comment too, haha, I can’t remember it now. lol.
    Thanks for this great resource! When I return to teaching and am back to hunting ideas and resources, your blog will be one of the first I’m back visiting 🙂

  4. WOW! I didn’t realise how many books were available for children on Chinese celebrations and traditions. Thanks for introducing me to such a great collection.

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