I shared a CNY book list in 2013 on resources available in our local National Libraries which we can read with our children to prepare for the Lunar New Year. I’ve found more titles to add to the list. Here are some of our picks:
All titles available for loan at our National Libraries.
Sugar and her Grandma are going to the Chinese New Year’s Day parade, but Grandma is skeptical about New Year’s in February and scary dragons. Sugar has learned all about what to expect from her teacher Miss Peng, though, and is more than ready to try dragon beard’s candy and watch her daddy dance in the New Year’s dragon. Finally, after all the other floats drive by, the huge red and gold dragon pokes his head around the corner and dances down the street. Sugar tries to remember which shoes are her daddy’s, and realizes the dragon isn’t dancing so well… Sugar’s quick thinking saves the day and the dragon’s dance, and everyone in the community is ready to celebrate the new lunar year. As the dragon dancers emerge from beneath the dragon, Sugar recognizes her neighbors, including shopkeeper Mr. Chu, barber Mr. Johnson, teacher Mr. Gonzalez, and her own African-American daddy. Kay Haugaard’s exuberant storytelling and Carolyn Reed Barritt’s equally colorful and lively paintings perfectly embody truly multicultural celebration of our American melting pot.
2. Celebrate Chinese New Year: With Fireworks, Dragons, and Lanterns. By Carolyn Otto. Call Number: English394.261 OTT
During Chinese New Year, red is all around. The color represents luck and happiness. Children receive money wrapped in red paper, and friends and loved ones exchange poems written on red paper. The Chinese New Year is also an opportunity to wish peace and happiness to friends and family. The holiday ends with the Festival of Lanterns, as many large communities stage the famous Dragon Dance. Fireworks, parades, lanterns, presents, and feasts: these are some of the joys experienced by all who observe Chinese New Year. Celebrate Chinese New Year is the latest, timely addition to National Geographic’s popular Holidays Around the World series.
1, 2, 3…Let’s count! How many red envelopes do you see? How many lanterns do you see? Find out in this book! Count people, symbols, and more as you explore and learn about this fascinating holiday.
A Chinese-American family invites their good friends the Sánchez, a Latino family, to celebrate with them the Chinese New Year. Nico, one of the Latino kids takes the reader through the magnificence of the celebration as he takes pictures of everything he finds interesting not without getting in trouble. Contains an informative section about the Chinese New Year.
In this Chinese American retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” a careless Goldy Luck wreaks havoc on the home of a family of panda bears. She eats up the littlest panda’s rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and rumples all the blankets on his futon. When Goldy takes responsibility for her actions, she makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!) just in time for Chinese New Year.
Demi explains the rituals and ideas behind the Chinese New Year festival. The last 15 days of the old year are spent cleaning and preparing (‘Wash your hair and get a new haircut. Pay the debts that you owe and collect what is owed to you!’). On the eve of the new moon, a special feast is prepared. The first 15 days of the new year are spent celebrating with lion dances, firecrackers, and other activities. Demi’s characteristic tiny, lively figures illustrate each page, with several spreads devoted to small, labeled pictures identifying things associated with the holiday. Infused with joy and filled with information.
The Jade Emperor has declared a great race: the first animals to cross the river will win a place in the Chinese Zodiac. Thirteen animals line up along the shore. But there are only twelve places to be won. Who will miss out? This classic Chinese legend makes an exciting new picture book.
Sam receives four bright red envelopes decorated with shiny gold emblems as part of the traditionalChinese New Year celebration, each containing a dollar. He accompanies his mother through Chinatown – and realizes that the “lucky money” won’t buy as much as he had hoped. His mood is further sobered after an encounter with a man he stumbles upon in the street. He nobly, though not surprisingly, concludes that his four dollars would be best spent on the barefoot stranger. Detailed descriptions of the sights and sounds of the Chinese New Year celebration build in contrast to Sam’s growing introspection, becoming even more dramatic and adding to the depth of the story.
9. The Year of the Monkey: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac. By Oliver Chin ; illustrated by Kenji Ono. Call Number: English CHI
2016 is the Year of the Monkey , the eleventh adventure in the popular annual series Tales from the Chinese Zodiac. Max is the son of the legendary Monkey King. Succeeding at school is not easy, but luckily playing in the gym is! Can Max forge his own claim to fame? The themes of self-discovery and cultural exchange, plus charismatic characters, are popular with children, parents and elementary educators. Kenji Ono is a storyboard artist at DreamWorks Animation.
10. Bella’s Chinese New Year. By Stacey Zolt Hara ; illustrated by Steve Pileggi. Call Number: English 428.6 HAR
Meet Bella, an American girl living in Singapore. Bella is celebrating Chinese New Year at her school with a big party and we are all invited along. With her infectious smile and zest for life, Bella connects with the people and culture around her, making new friends and learning through her experiences. Appreciative of Singapore’s customs and traditions, Bella guides us through orange exchanges with friends, the magical wish of a Lo Hei salad and the surprises kids find in shiny red envelopes during the New Year. Say “Nihao” to Bella and learn why Chinese New Year is one of her fave holidays!
Since 2016 is the year of the Monkey, I’ve rounded up some great monkey crafts from the Internet which we can do with our kids.
This fingerprint monkey art looks fun and easy!
Credit: Crafty Morning
Kids love to play with puppets. Here is a super cute and easy idea to make a paper bag monkey puppet.
Credit: I Heart Crafty Things
Decorate the homes with these Upside-Down Monkey Door Signs!
Credit: Tip Junkie
Younger kids would enjoy this simple painting activity on the Monkey Printable.
Credit: Learn, Create, Love
The more creative ones may want to attempt this hand-printed Monkey and learn the letter ‘M’ at the same time!
Credit: Red Ted Art