chinese new year

24 Intriguing Children's Books about the Chinese New Year

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

This entertaining twist on Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a perfect choice to read around the Chinese New Year. Plucky little Goldy Luck heads to the Chan's house to deliver a gift of homemade turnip cakes. When she arrives, the house is empty, so she lets herself inside and explores her surroundings. Like the real fairytale, she tastes some porridge and tests out the furnishings with disastrous results. Fortunately, there is a happy ending with new friends celebrating the Chinese New Year together. Be sure to try the turnip cake recipe in the back!


chinese new year 


 Best Kids' Books about the Chinese New Year

The best picture books for kids about the Chinese New Year share the rich history and traditions surrounding this celebrated time of year. The holiday, also called the Lunar New Year, is centered around the phases of the moon. The start date falls sometime between January 21st and February 20th, and celebrations continue until the following full moon. In China, festivities last for 15 days!


chinese new year


Children's Books about the Lunar New Year Celebrate a Rich Culture

The basis for the celebration is the legendary monster, Nian, believed to attack villagers at the beginning of every new year.  People believed that loud noises, bright lights, and the color red would keep this menace away. Over time, parades, parties and festivals incorporated these elements to symbolize the safe-keeping  and good fortune of friends and family. Children's books about the Chinese New Year encapsulate these rich traditions, fascinating myths, and important values steeped in Chinese culture. 


chinese dragon


Kids' Fiction and Non-Fiction Picture Books about the Chinese New Year

There are so many interesting facets of the Chinese New Year to explore through these picture books. Some of these stories focus on one aspect of the holiday, like Nian or the lunar phases, and provide readers with a fascinating cultural lesson. Other titles share fun tales about families who gather together to celebrate, light fireworks, and hand out money in red envelopes to the young kids. To give your children a comprehensive education about this fascinating holiday, we suggest that you gather many different books, both fiction and non-fiction about the Chinese New Year. 

The Nian Monster

As Po Po and Xingling are busy preparing for the Chinese New Year, they talk about the reasons why red decorations and loud noises are included in their celebration. Xingling learns that the monster, Nian, used to devour entire villages, but that fireworks and bright red objects kept it away. Unfortunately, this tactic is no longer effective, so Xingling has to find other ways to procect the people of Shanghai. In a nail-biting but sometimes humorous tale, readers will be relieved to learn that resourceful Xingling has a few tricks up her sleeve.


Baby Loves Lunar Phases on Chinese New Year

A sturdy board book that introduces babies and toddlers to the lunar phases. The text is simple and accessible enough for little ones. And, the luminous illustrations support the scientific explanation of the moon's orbit and why it appears to change in appearance. A great cultural addition to a baby's book collection.

Lunar New Year

 A captivating book with beautiful pictures by a Chinese illustrator.  The Lunar New Year captures the energy, hope, and happiness of the people celebrating. All of the significant symbols of the holiday are depicted, like fireworks, dancing dragons, and bright lanterns. And most important of all, families gathers around to start the new year in living in harmony and appreciating their good fortune.


Peppa's Chinese New Year

Celebrating the Chinese New Year is so much fun with Peppa Pig! In this colorful picture book, Peppa and her friends get into the spirit by decorating with red lanterns and sharing fortune cookies. At the end of the party, they dress up in a dragon costume and do a special dance. This easy-to-understand story for preschoolers comes with a bonus page of stickers. For more fun reading, check out these Peppa Pig books. 



The 12 Days of Lunar New Year

 A cute, novelty book spinning the "12 Days of Christmas" into a fun Chinese New Year story. Young children will enjoy the illustrations of a family getting ready for all the festivities. The countdown, in rhyming, catchy verse, highlights all the ways people can honor their ancestors alongside their neighbors and community. A bonus page of stickers adds to the fun of this celebratory Chinese New Year book for preschoolers.



Bringing In the New Year

A meticulously illustrated book that takes readers into the home of a Chinese American family preparing for the Lunar New Year. Rituals around the home include sweeping out the dust from the past year and making dumplings together. Later in the day, extended family and friends gather to watch the lion dancers and enjoy the fireworks. The grand finale is a fabulous dragon parade, which continues across a page that unfolds.



Celebrate Chinese New Year

This National Geographic book is a photographic display of bold, brilliant, and colorful symbols and events of the Chinese New Year. Simple text provides an explanation of each picture. Many of the traditional festivities are featured, including a dragon dance, lanterns, feasts, and fireworks. For more cultural and holiday photo books, check out the Holidays Around the World book series.


How to Catch a Dragon

Kids will enjoy this wild chase as the dragon weaves through all of the revelers at the Chines New Year festival. The evasive, fire-breathing dragon avoids clever traps with the kids on his trail! This vibrant picture book is packed full of all the holiday elements, like paper lanterns, red envelopes, brilliant fireworks, and other meaningful objects. The book is geared toward preschool and kindergarten kids, but there are additional pages with in-depth content and Mandarin translations that old children will enjoy. For more fun, check out the other books in the How to Catch series for kids.



Celebrating Chinese New Year: History, Traditions, and Activities

This is one of the most comprehensive guides for children about the Chinese New Year, also referred to as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. Divided into chapters organized by topic, the author explains the history of the holiday, all the various ways people around the world celebrate, how dragons and lions are incorporated into the holiday, and all the different types of foods that are consumed. There are instructions for activities and crafts, like making paper lanterns, as well as a delicious recipe for dumplings. 




PoPo's Lucky Chinese New Year

A Chinese-American girl has celebrated the Chinese New Year in the past, but it isn't until her PoPo arrives from China that she finally learns about all the symbolism. For the child, this holiday that has always felt like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day combined. But PoPo takes time to share the rich history, traditions, and legends that make this particular celebration so distinct. From sweeping the floors to handing out money in red envelopes, there is meaning rooted in Chinese culture. This book is humorous, endearing and accessible to young readers. 



Baby's First Chinese New Year

This sturdy board book is a good introduction about the Chinese New Year. Vibrant gold and red tones highlight the eye-catching illustrations. Various symbols are presented on each page, including the special clothing, paper lanterns, food items, and of course, the infamous dragon. To expand your child's library, check out these other titles in Baby's First Holiday series.




Ruby's Chinese New Year

 A little girl, Ruby, has made a card that she wants to deliver to her grandmother for the Chinese New Year. However, she needs a bit of help delivering it. So, she calls upon all the animals from the Chinese zodiac to help her find the way. Readers will learn about the various critters, like  cautious Rabbit, clever Fox, and strong Ox, each of which has a characteristic or trait that helps along the journey. An interesting guide in the back of the book provides inquisitive readers with more in-depth information about the animals on the Chinese zodiac.




My First Chinese New Year

 Karen Katz's simple picture book about the Chinese New Year is a great introduction for toddlers. The story covers a lot of the traditions, like passing out money in red envelopes, and concludes with a spectacular dragon dance. The story describes the food items that are part of the festivities and emphasizes the importance of family that has gathered to celebrate.





Nian, The Chinese New Year Dragon

  An enthralling book about the legendary dragon that terrorizes Chinese villages every spring. A little girl, Mei, dreads the time of year when this beast appears from his underwater prison with plans to feast on the people. One night, a magical warrior visits Mei and convinces her that she has both the brains and the courage to defeat Nian once and for all. After an exhilarating fight, Mei emerges as the village hero where the people can once again celebrate the Chinese New Year without fear.



Chinese New Year Colors

A beautiful, bilingual book that teaches little ones all the vibrant colors that are part of the Chinese New Year symbols. Vibrant pictures of food, gifts, clothing, and decorations appear on each page. The colors of these objects are written in both English and Chinese. Kids will have fun learning how to pronounce the hues for fire crackers, lucky coins, peanut puffs, and more.



A Sweet New Year for Ren

 Ren's family makes the most delicious pineapple cakes to enjoy during their Chinese New Year celebration. When everyone gathers together in the kitchen, the room is filled with the sweet smell of dough and joyful camaraderie. Unfortunately, Ren has always been too small to help make the cakes, but maybe this year will be different! Lots of little ones will relate to Ren's predicament and desire to play an active role in the food preparation. This sweet story includes a recipe for pineapple cakes that your little one will want to try.



Alex's Good Fortune

There is something pretty special about sharing a cultural tradition with someone new. This is the story of Alex, a little girl who celebrates the Chinese New Year with her family every year. But this time her best friend, Ethan, is joining the festivities. Alex shows him all the ways her family prepares for the new year, like sweeping the house and making dumplings. He even joins her for the big parade and together they help to make the dragon dance. A charming story about friendship and tradition that introduces children to all the Chinese New Year customs.




The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale

This fun story that is reminiscent of two fairytales, The Gingerbread Man and Jack and the Beanstalk, is perfect to read for the Chinese New Year. It's the tale of a destitute little boy whose family does not have money to buy food for their feast. So his send him to the market with a some eggs from their chicken to trade for food. But instead, he returns with a magic wok and nothing to eat. In an entertaining, albeit predictable, series of events, the wok sneaks away and steals food from the rich to give to the poor. Fast paced and full of Chinese New Year symbols.



Maisy's Chinese New Year

 Maisy and her friends come together to celebrate the Chinese New Year in this vibrant picture book. Tiger arrives at the gathering to share some special stories about the holiday and hand out gifts that are symbolic of good luck. The friends are excited to receive red envelopes with money inside, after which the head outside to watch fireworks. The festivities conclude the following day when everyone participates in a dragon dance. 


The Runaway Rice Cake

 The Runaway Rice Cake is a heartwarming story with a message about giving to those in need. The Chang family makes just a single rice cake for their Chinese New Year celebration, using up the last bit of their rice flour. Just as they are getting ready to enjoy this treat, the feisty rice cake comes alive and escapes out the door. From there, readers are led on an action-packed chase through town as the family tries to capture it. The youngest boy in the family leads the way, and eventually catches the rice cake as it collides with a hungry, old woman. Without hesitation, he gives the cake to the woman, which leaves his family with nothing to eat. When they return home, the loving family finds that the Kitchen God has rewarded their generosity tenfold with a most delicious feast to fill their bellies.



Curious George Dragon Dance

Preschoolers will enjoy this fun book about all the festivities in Chinatown to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Of course, George doesn't want to miss out on any of the fun, so he joins his friend, Lily, as she parades around in a dragon costume. A simple introduction for youngsters that includes bonus material on Chinese New Year traditions and crafts.  



Chinese New Year Wishes

Written in both English and Chinese, this story follows Hong and his family as they prepare for their favorite holiday of the year. Little readers, ages 2-6, will enjoy watching Hong decorate for the Chinese New Year Festival. The back of the book is filled with important facts about this important Chinese holiday and the story behind it. 


Playing With Lanterns

There is something magical about colorful lanterns filling the night sky. Zhao Di and all her friends join the rest of the people in the village every night and admire the beautiful lanterns with candles lighting them up from the inside. Then on the 15th day of the New Year, they take part in the custom of smashing the lanterns. This wonderful addition to your child's Chinese New Year reading list includes additional pages about the history of the lantern tradition.


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chinese new year


Captivating Children's Books About the Chinese New Year

Bold, brilliant pictures of fiery dragons, red lanterns, and booming fireworks fill the pages of the best kids' books about the Chinese New Year. There are so many layers to unpeel in this days-long celebration that brings families together for epic parades, costume parties, and delicious feasts. Almost everything is done in the name of good fortune, wealth, and prosperity. Considered one of the most important gatherings of the year, the Chinese New Year is a joyous occasion when people take time to appreciate, reflect, and enjoy the surplus in their lives.


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