12 Amazing Picture Books Celebrating China
China is a country full of history and tradition. I have been lucky enough to visit several times and love visiting its historic sites as you can see below.
Using this collection of picture books is a great way to introduce children to Chinese culture and traditions. They bring China, a country of great history and beauty, alive. For your information, National Geographic Kids has 30 interesting facts about China from the ancient to the modern.
If you want to learn a few words and phrases in Mandarin try Miss Panda Chinese YouTube channel. She presents fun and engaging songs, movement and stories to learn Mandarin. The BBC has games on popular topics as a way to learn the language.
Many of the books celebrate the customs and traditions of Chinese New Year which people all over the world. If you would like to know more about this great celebration BBC Newsround and China Travel Guide both have a good overview.
Keep scrolling down for a great selection of picture books related to Chinese New Year and Chinese culture.
If you want to learn more about China why not try some of these craft activities for children.
*Disclosure: Amazon, Book and Depository buttons are affiliate links. I will earn a small percentage of any purchases made. It won’t cost you anything!
Picture Books about China
Giant: A Panda of the Enchanted Forest by Xuan Loc Xuan
“This is the story of Giant, a panda bear. Giant is lounging in the majestic Sichuan forest, chewing on his bamboo shoots. Suddenly a forest fire starts because people from the city are clear-burning the forest for development! Giant seeks help and tries to extinguish the fire, but everything seems lost. It will only be by the heroic sacrifices of Giant and his friends that the forest and its inhabitants are saved.” Happy Fox Books
Angel in Beijing by Belle Yang
“In busy Beijing, New Year’s Eve firecrackers scare a stray white cat into the courtyard of a young girl. On the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, the girl and the cat watch the kites soaring above crowded, chaotic Tiananmen Square. Kitty is enthralled by the enormous, colorful dragon kite, and she leaps to catch it as it sails up into the sky — taking Kitty with it and carrying her out of sight! The girl searches the city, visiting all their favorite spots and ringing her bell along the way, but Kitty is nowhere to be found. Will the two ever be reunited? Or could another unexpected friendship be in store — for both of them?” Candlewick
Dumpling Dreams by Carrie Clickard
“In this inspiring, mouthwatering story, get to know Chef Joyce Chen who is famous for popularizing Chinese food in the northeastern United States.
How far can an apron, a bowl, or a book take one small Chinese girl with a passion to cook? From peach blossom Beijing,to crisp Cambridge snow, how far will her dumpling dreams help Joyce Chen go?” Simon & Schuster
Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart by Dion Leonard
“Gobi, a scrappy little stray dog, latches onto a man named Dion and keeps pace alongside him for 77 miles of a long 155-mile race across China. Through cold nights and raging rivers, with little food and water, and through a long, hard journey, these two create a bond unlike any other.” Thomas Nelson
Red Butterfly by Deborah Noyes
“A young Chinese princess is sent from her father’s kingdom to marry the king of a far-off land. She must leave behind her home of splendors: sour plums and pink peach petals and — most precious and secret of all — the small silkworm. She begs her father to let her stay, but he insists that she go and fulfill her destiny as the queen of Khotan. Beautifully told and arrestingly illustrated, here is a coming-of-age tale of a brave young princess whose clever plan will go on to live in legend — and will ensure that her cherished home is with her always.” Candlewick
The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang
Tong tong! The legendary Nian monster has returned at Chinese New Year. With horns, scales, and wide, wicked jaws, “Nian is intent on devouring Shanghai, starting with Xingling! The old tricks to keep him away don’t work on Nian anymore, but Xingling is clever. Will her quick thinking be enough to save the city from the Nian Monster?” INDPB
The Dinner That Cooked Itself by J.C. Hsyu
“Long, long ago, in a small town in ancient China, there lived an honest and respectful man called Tuan. Tuan was lonely and looked hard for a wife, but even the matchmaker couldn’t help him. One night, however, Tuan’s luck changed. And so begins the story of Tuan, White Wave, and the Dinner that Cooked Itself. This beautiful and enchanting Chinese fairytale will captivate the imagination with the perfect blend of magic and realism!” Flying Eye Books
Noodle Magic by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
“Grandpa Tu is famous for his special noodles, and as the emperor’s birthday approaches, he teaches his granddaughter, Mei, the family trade. Mei struggles to find the magic needed to make noodles. Ultimately, she finds the magic–and the ability to succeed–within. Mei doesn’t just make noodles–her magic noodles in varied shapes and sizes rain down from the sky!” Orchard Books
Ruby's Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee
“Ruby has a special card to give to her grandmother for Chinese New Year. But who will help her get to grandmother’s house to deliver it? Will it be clever Rat, strong Ox, or cautious Rabbit? Ruby meets each of the twelve zodiac animals on her journey. This picture book includes back matter with a focus on the animals of the Chinese zodiac.” Henry Holt and Co
The Five Forms by Barbara McClintock
“When a young girl finds a mysterious, discarded book of martial arts poses, she ignores the warning printed in bold inside its cover: DO NOT ATTEMPT THESE FORMS WITHOUT AN EXPERIENCED TEACHER! She decides to attempt them herself . . . but is shocked to find that doing so conjures real animals right into her home! The chaos escalates as she releases a leopard, a snake, and a dragon, each creature larger and more destructive than the last. It is only once she manages the fifth and final form that things return to normal. But will she be able to clean up the mess she’s created before her mother returns home?” Farrar, Straus and Giroux
A Gift by Yong Chen
“A surprise for Chinese New Year. A gift has come for Amy, all the way from China. The package has arrived just in time for Chinese New Year, the most important holiday in the Chinese culture. It’s a tradition to spend time with friends and family. Since Amy’s aunt and uncles live in China and are unable to make a new-year visit, they have sent their niece a special gift that expresses their love and their wish to keep the family together.” Boyds Mills Press
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