Favorite Chinese New Year Books, some in more than one language
Chinese New Year is upon us once again, this year it is the year of the Ox. Our town is painted red, as we speak. Decorations on every door, orange and plum blossom trees are appearing everywhere to bring in good luck for the new year. The Spring Festival or Lunar New Year is a beautiful sight and comes with so many fun traditions that you can enjoy with your kids.
It is still cold, but as usual, the weather will have changed for Chinese New Year ( the main Chinese New year Days are 12th, 13th and 14 of February 2021) and this year more than ever do we need the flowers to bloom just in time, as a good omen in the year of the Ox.
So, as we had an amazing response to our favorite Christmas books, we thought it might be interesting to list all our favorite Chinese New Year books. There are so many Chinese New Year books, though, some with gorgeous illustrations and intricate pop-up elements. However, we have not been able to find many Chinese New Year books published in various languages. Here is a list of mainly Chinese and English books, but also some German, Spanish, and French. If you have found any other Chinese New Year books, you and your kids enjoy, please tell us about them.
Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin
Grace Lin, is probably the Julia Donaldson of books that focus on Chinese Traditions. Bringing in the New Year is a wonderful tale of a Chinese-American family preparing for Chinese New Year. Many of the Chinese New Year traditions are carried out by the different family members so that the reader gets a brief introduction to each of these Chinese New Year customs.
Nian Shou, le monstre du Nouvel An chinois by Véronique Massenot and Sebastien Chebret
On New Year’s Eve, the inhabitants of the village go out to the fields, just as Nian, the dragon comes out of his hole. Grandma Fang is too old to hide, though.
A beautiful work of art with intricate pop-up elements. However, watch out, this book is probably best for older kids, as the book has loads of little pieces and can be easily ripped.
My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz
This story describes and briefly explains a different Chinese New Year custom on each page. We read it when the kids were very small 2 and 4 and it was the perfect introduction to Chinese New Year traditions. Also, has some explanations for parents in the last few pages.
12 Lucky Animals – a bilingual Baby book by Vicky Lee and Joey Chu
A board book for the little ones, describing each of the 12 characters of the Chinese zodiac, Beautiful illustrations accompany each of the animals. The same duo is responsible also for Ruby’s Chinese New Year. In which the animals of the Chinese Zodiac help Ruby deliver a present to her grandmother.
Celebrate Chinese New Year with the Fong Family by F. Isabel Campoy & Alma Flor Ada
Family Fong has invited their good friends the Sanchez for Chinese New Year celebrations. Nico learns about many Chinese New Year traditions, as he tries to take pictures of all the events while getting into a bit of trouble.
A New Year’s Reunion by Yu Li-Qiong
It is a beautiful story about a family reuniting for Chinese New Year, just as many migrant workers in China reunite with their families every year for this occasion. It is an emotional tale of a little girl, MaoMao who is looking forward to reuniting with her father for this yearly celebration.
D IS for Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine
This book takes us through each letter of the alphabet, linking each letter to a Chinese New Year tradition. For example, as the name says, D is for Dragon Dance, H is for haircut, Z is for Zodiac, the Chinese Zodiac calendar.
Basti – Leben als Expat Hund by Rabea Maria Glotz
This book was recommended to us by a dear German friend, thanks a million Katharina! It is a trilingual German, English, Chinese book. The book is written as a rhyme and it tells the story of a dog that moves to China just in time for Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year Wishes by Jilian Lin
Children learn about the festivities and traditions around Chinese New Year. It is written in English and simplified Chinese.
Busy Chinese New Year by Campell Books
Part of the Busy series, a board book for smaller kids with loads of fun activities, so even the little ones can learn about dragon dance and fireworks, and family celebrations. The kids will pull and turn and press to their delight.
Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan are celebrating Chinese New Year with their family! This pop-up book is full of interactive elements and beautiful pop-ups. Maybe something for older kids. It explains the origins of many traditions and legends.
It’s Chinese New Year by Richard Sabre
Simple text and vibrant pictures that captivate kids to learn about New Year’s traditions. Richard Sebra has a whole series of books for festivals and celebrations around the world (Diwali, Cinco De Mayo, Christmas, Hannukah, etc.)
Raconte-Moi le Nouvel An Chinois by Kayleigh Evans and Karen Hayes
Ying, a little girl, is about to celebrate her first Chinese New Year. Her big brother Chen explains the traditions to her. Gorgeously illustrated. Also, a Ramadan version exists written by this duo.
Tastes of Lunar New Year by Big Cities Little Foodies
A fresh newcomer by Big Cities Little Foodies, you might know their gorgeous board books about the different foods of Hong Kong and Tokyo. This book introduces 12 unique dishes celebrating Lunar New Year around the world and it is available in English or in bilingual (Traditional Chinese/English) version.
And last not least, not necessarily a book about Chinese New Year, but a gorgeous book to teach your kids a few Chinese characters
Pet Dragon by Christoph Niemann
Beautiful illustrations that easily explain a few Chinese characters. You will have the kids writing in Chinese in no time.
Tell us what your favourite Chinese New Year books are, we would love to hear what your family has enjoyed reading the most.
And on this note Happy Chinese New Year!
Happy Year of the Ox to everyone!