Lifestyle, Stories

10 Chinese New Year Books for Children

Do your kids know about the value of Chinese New Year? If not, you know what they say: start them young! And you can never go wrong with these children’s storybooks that present the wondrous celebration that is Chinese New Year. Fit for your kids’ reading pleasure, these books can help them learn more about what the celebration is all about and its connection to their roots, making their Chinese New Year a much more enjoyable and fulfilling experience for them.

Here are some children’s storybooks to try:

1. My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz

Level: Toddlers

This is a short story of a little girl who experiences the Lunar New Year for the first time. It includes paper-cut illustrations that feature the author’s signature round-faced characters. The book is considered to be a simple yet sweet introduction to the traditional Chinese New Year customs.


2. Dragon Dance by Joan Holub

Level: preschool 

This lift-the-flap book is a great introduction to the Chinese New Year traditions. It employs rhyming descriptions of the activities that kids normally do and enjoy during the celebration — from eating a celebratory dinner and receiving angpaos to watching the Chinese New Year’s parade complete with the dragon dance.


3. Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin

Level: preschool 

Author Grace Lin tells the story of a Chinese-American family who is preparing for the Lunar New Year celebration. Not only does it teach kids to respect their elders, but it also presents the Chinese tradition, such as hanging lanterns and making dumplings. Plus, the vibrant illustrations will definitely appeal to your kids.


4. Lunar New Year by Hannah Eliot

Level: preschool to elementary

The festive board book shows kids that the Lunar New Year celebration is not just a time to take a break from school and enjoy the fireworks display, but it’s an important time to spend with family and friends, a time for harmony and happiness.


5. Chinese New Year Colors by Richard Lo

Level: preschool to elementary

The children’s storybook is known for its beautiful depiction of the Chinese New Year celebration with its vibrant watercolor effect. The book depicts the festival’s deep meaning and tradition. The book is published in both Mandarin and English, making it a great opportunity for your children to learn Mandarin.


6. A New Year’s Reunion: A Chinese Story by Yu Li-Quiong

Level: preschool to elementary

A New Year Reunion details the lead protagonist’s excitement as her father comes home for the Chinese New Year celebration. While waiting, she helps her family prepare for the celebrations, and on the day of the Dragon parade, her father finally comes home. This story is a perfect gift for a child who is struggling with missing a relative as this could resonate with them and comfort them.


7. The Next New Year by Janet S. Wong

Level: elementary

The Next New Year is about a boy who can hardly wait for Chinese New Year, knowing that it’s the day of the first new moon. He tells a simple yet very detailed story of how his family prepares and celebrates the occasion, while also sharing his hopes for the new year. The story teaches kids the value of facing the new year with optimism and a brand new perspective.


8. The Race for the Chinese Zodiac by Gabrielle Wang

Level: elementary

What better way to introduce the story of the Chinese zodiac race than with a children’s storybook? It tells the ancient myth of the 13 animals that were handpicked by the Jade Emperor to compete for the twelve places in the Chinese zodiac


9. The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by Ying Chang Compestine

Level: elementary 

Children can read about a story of a poor little boy whose family sends him off to trade their last eggs for rice during Chinese New Year’s Eve. Unable to trade it for rice, the little boy comes home to bring a wok instead. But the wok that he brings home isn’t an ordinary wok, but one that sings and returns with food, toys, and money. The book imparts the importance of generosity and kindness.


10. Mulan’s Lunar New Year by Natasha Yim

Level: elementary

For fans of Mulan, Yim tells a story of young Mulan celebrating the Chinese New Year with her family. Unable to hold her excitement, she helps out with preparations for the festival as she also experiences it for the first time. The book offers a different take on the Lunar New Year celebration with an ounce of magic and imagination.


In the meantime, you can also share with your kids five interesting Chinese legends on Chinese New Year here.

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