Chinese New Year is believed to be about 3,500 years old, originating in the Shang Dynasty. Lasting about 15 days, anywhere between January 21 to February 20, people in China and Chinese communities around the world celebrate the new moon that occurs. Celebrating the new moon, sometimes the holiday is referred to as Lunar New Year. It is also sometimes called the Spring Festival.
During the Chinese New Year celebration, many traditions take place. One tradition is the cleaning of homes to get rid of any bad luck that may be lurking about. Another tradition is to cook a ton of delicious foods on certain days of the holiday. Then there is the lantern festival, where people carry them during parades or to their nearest temples. Being that dragons are a Chinese symbol of good fortune, a dragon dance is usually included during celebrations.
The following books break down Chinese New Year in kid-friendly ways that your kiddos can understand!
1. Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vicki Lee
Ruby is eager to get to her grandmother’s house so she can give her grandmother a gift. On her journey to her grandmother’s house, Ruby meets all 12 zodiac animals, learning all about their history and meaning. Full of color, the illustrations in this book are bound to keep your child entertained while educating them on this holiday. The suggested age range for this book is 4 to 8 years old.
2. The Lunar New Year Surprise by Jade Wang
Gege and his family are preparing for Lunar New Year, but he wonders if he’ll ever find the perfect time to give his sister the gift he made for her. Focusing on food, this book will get your stomach growling as it follows Gege and his family while they cook a bunch of food, like noodles and rice balls. The recommended age group for this book is 8 to 9 years.
3. How to Catch a Dragon by Adam Wallace
Follow the How To Catch kids as they try to capture a dragon during the Chinese New Year celebrations. Taking place in China during the Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year, the dragon will have to dodge traps as the kids run through paper lanterns, fireworks, and more. The recommended age for this book is 4 to 8 years old.
4. Chloe’s Lunar New Year by Lily Lamotte
In preparation for the Lunar New Year, Chloe and her family are putting together a big feast. They assemble their red envelopes, place good luck oranges in a bowl, make a turnip cake, and buy new shoes. Once it’s all completed, Chloe’s family all comes together to enjoy their delicious food, saving a plate for A-má. The suggested age for this book is 4 to 8 years old.
5. Lunar New Year by Hannah Eliot
In this beautifully illustrated book, Eliot teaches readers about the celebrations that come after the winter solstice. Sometimes called Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, and Lunar New Year, people participate in all sorts of traditions and customs that bring families together. The recommended age group for this book is 2 to 4 years old.
6. Lunar New Year: A First Look by Percy Leed
In this nonfiction book, Leed shares what Lunar New Year is all about with young readers. Using photographs and easy-to-read text, readers are able to learn the facts and traditions that come along with the Lunar New Year. This book would be a great addition to a classroom library. The suggested age group is 6 to 7 years old.
7. Baby Loves Lunar New Year Phases on Chinese New Year by Ruth Spiro
Teach your baby all about the lunar phases with this book! Discussing the moon’s shape, the moon’s orbit, and the lunar calendar, this read will not only teach your baby something but might teach parents something as well! While it’s written in simple terms for your child to understand, it’s still eye-catching, entertaining, and colorful enough for your baby to be interested. The recommended age group for this book is 3 months to 3 years old.
8. Playing with Lanterns by Wang Yage
Every year, until the fifteenth of New Year, Zhao Di and her friends celebrate by lighting lanterns. Each of them has a different color lantern, lit by a candle. They hang out in the village, trying to avoid the sneaky boys and the wind. Celebrate with Zhao Di and learn all about Chinese folk traditions. The suggested age group for this book is 4 to 7 years old.
9. Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim
In this twist on Goldilocks, Goldy Luck is tasked with delivering turnip cakes to her neighbors, the Chans. The neighbors aren’t home, but Goldy Luck still takes it upon herself to try their rice pudding and sleep in their beds. Eventually taking accountability, Goldy Luck finds herself with a new friend. This is a great retelling of the original story and would be a great classroom read for younger kids. The recommended age group for this book is 4 to 8 years old.
10. Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year Lift the Flap Book by Joan Holub
Meant for younger readers, this flap book is a great way to engage your kiddos. This book tells the customs and traditions that take place during Chinese New Year. Flip your way through as the author teaches about preparing food, red envelopes, and the Lunar New Year parade. The recommended age group for this book is 2 to 5 years old.
Whether you are a teacher or a parent, each and every one of these books would be an extraordinary option to help educate your children on Chinese New Year. Happy reading!
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