Chinese New Year is a time when families come together for celebration and reflection. We've gathered some great picture books about Chinese New Year to help your students learn about this special holiday celebrated worldwide.
Why Read Picture Books about Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year?
There is a growing number of picture books about Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year. They illustrate the cultural significance of the celebration and the importance of family at this time.
These picture books help your students learn about the history and traditions and how Chinese New Year is celebrated worldwide.
Some books use the name Chinese New Year and others Lunar New Year. The latter is increasingly used to refer to the celebration in countries other than China. While the celebrations have the same meaning, different countries celebrate in their own unique ways.
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Picture Books about Chinese New Year
Angel in Beijing by Belle Yang
A girl's cat jumps to catch one of the colourful dragon kites during the Dragon Boat Festival in Tiananmen Square. As the girl searches through Beijing she wonders if she will ever be reunited with her pet cat.
Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin
Three daughters wait with excitement for the Chinese New Year. The New Year is ushered in with the awakening of a dragon by the surrounding banging of drums and gongs.
Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac by Ed Young
The Jade Emperor challenges the animals to a race. Cat and Rat are best friends but the temptation to win the race is too much for Rat. He tricks Cat, causing it to miss out on becoming one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac
Chinese New Year Colors by Richard Lo
Discover the colours of Chinese New Year, including food, gifts, fireworks, and lucky coins. This bilingual book about one of the large festivals in the world introduces Chinese and English words for colours.
Dragon Dancer by Joyce Chng
On the eve of Chinese New Year, Yao wakes the ancient sky dragon, Shen Long. Yao starts a magical journey to bring in the good luck for the new year.
Friends Are Friends, Forever by Dane Liu
Dandan spends her last night in China before immigrating to America with her best friend, Yueyue. It is Chinese New Year’s Eve, and the girls make red snowflakes and hang them outside. Yueyue gives Dandan red paper and a spool of red thread for her to carry on their tradition in America. It takes time, but Dandan finds a new friend to make red paper snowflakes with.
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim
Set during the Chinese New Year, Goldy Luck's mother sends her to visit the neighbouring pandas with turnip cakes. When the Chan’s return they find the sleeping Goldy Luck. Embarrassed, she runs home but soon returns to the Chan’s home to apologise and clean up her mess.
How to Catch a Dragon by Adam Wallace
A group of children in China chase a dragon through Chinese New Year celebrations, passing through paper lanterns, red envelopes, and fireworks.
New Clothes for New Year's Day by Hyun-Joo Bae
In Korea, the new year means the start of everything new. A young girl wears a new and special hanbok made by her mother and prepares to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Read to promote discussions on the Lunar New Year, family, celebrations and traditions.
A New Year's Reunion by Li-Qiong Yu
When Maomao’s father visits, the family prepare sticky rice balls with special fortune coins hidden inside. When Maomao loses her special coin, her devastation is heightened by the impending departure of her father. The lucky token is found just in time for Maomao to give it to her father as they say goodbye.
Nian, The Chinese New Year Dragon by Virginia Loh-Hagan
This retelling of the Nian legend sees Mei set out to defeat the dragon Nian. Every Spring the fierce dragon threatens Mei's village and it this young girl's destiny to defeat it. The book explains to origins of the Chinese New Year traditions.
Red is a Dragon: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Thong
A Chinese American girl describes the colour of important objects in her life. Many of the items relate to her Chinese heritage and touch on festivals such as Chinese New Year.
Ruby's Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee
Ruby meets the twelve zodiac animals on her journey to deliver a Chinese New Year card to her grandmother.
Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn
It is Chinese New Year and Sam receives four red envelopes, each containing a dollar. He visits Chinatown to spend his lucky money but doesn’t have enough to buy what he wants. When he encounters a barefoot stranger, Sam realises he is “the lucky one” and thoughtfully gives his lucky money to the man.
The Race for the Chinese Zodiac by Gabrielle Wang
The Jade Emperor initiates a race, promising the first 12 animals who finish they will have a year of the Chinese Zodiac named after them. Thirteen animals find different ways to cross the river. Initially, Cat and Rat work together only for Rat to push Cat into the water, resulting in no Year of the Cat.
The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by Ying Chang Compestine
A poor man, Ming Zhang, works for, Li, the richest man in Beijing. He sends his son to trade their last eggs for a bag of rice, but he returns with a singing wok. The wok hops to the greedy Li family, filling itself with food and gold once stolen from others. The Ming family share the fortune and food with other needy villagers.
This Next New Year by Janet S. Wong
A Chinese-Korean family celebrate a multicultural Luna New Year. They eat Korean soup and listen to noisy firecrackers. His cousin Evelyn, part Hopi and part Mexican and his French-German best friend Glenn loves the food and red money envelopes.
Do you use picture books about the Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year in your classroom? I would like to discover more Lunar New Year picture books. Let me know in the comments!
You may find these resources useful to use with your students.
BBC Newsround: What is Chinese New Year?
Encyclopaedia Britannica: Chinese New Year