A very happy new year to those of you celebrating Chinese new year. If you would like to introduce readers to this colourful festival that lasts for 10 days I have many recommendations in this blog post.
My eldest daughters topic at school at the moment is Chinese New Year and its been great to observe her enthusiasm and excitedly tell me new information. We’ve been enjoying sharing books that we have on the festival but there isn’t a great amount that have been newly published since my piece from last year. However, I’m sharing ones we have enjoyed and shall add to the blog post if we come across any more.
Winnie and Wilbur At Chinese New Year by Valerie Thomas and illustrated by Korky Paul.
It’s lovely when familiar book characters explore festivals. Winnie and Wilbur books have been around for over 30 years and this one was recently published embracing Lunar New Year.
In this colourful read Winnie finds out about the festival whilst scrolling through her mobile, the beauty of technology hey. She decides to embrace the festival and whizzes up a rather large feast complete with decorations, with the powers of her magical wand.
Her family and friends have a rather jolly time and the illustrations immerse readers into many of the cultures traditions including double spreads soaked in bright red and Chinese characters on decorations. .
I never thought I would be recommending a Peppa Pig book in this blog post, but here i am. This board book was only published a couple of months ago and it has proved really popular. I was delighted to see Peppa Pig embracing Chinese new year. Peppa Pig is a popular BAFTA award winning preschool animation, she is watched by many little ones so it is great to see her sharing a different culture with her audience. Ultimately little ones will appreciate that although some festivals may have different names, celebrated by different culture, having fun, dressing up and enjoying lovely food is the key.
My First Chinese New Year (My First Holiday) by Karen Katz – Square Fish
Karen Katz writes with simplicity making this an ideal picture book to share with preschoolers and up. Witness the little girl in the story preparing for the festival, observing different jobs she does with different members of her family. The significance of the colour red is explained, food which is symbolic in Chinese New Year bringing luck is talked about and you see the family enjoy a big parade in their town. The language used is suited to its younger audience and the illustrations are just so lovely. Karen Katz captures special moments so sweetly.
Bringing in the New Year (Read to a Child!) – Alfred A Knopf
Grace Lin has written several picture books about the Chinese American family based on her own experiences. Bringing in the New Year is available in board book format (hooray) and is a simple, happy story embracing the festival to come in an appealing way using patterned artwork and striking illustrations. We adore the colourful front cover of the book and how Grace Lin has including Mandarin on the cover also, making children aware of a different language and highlighting how it is written down the page.
All the characters included in the book have traditional Chinese names and Grace Lin introduces words such as “qi pao,” (a dress which the main character wears) and questions, making the book a fun interactive read.
Lanterns and Firecrackers: A Chinese New Year Story (Festival Time) by Jonny Zucker and illustrated by Jan Barger Cohen – Frances Lincoln
This is a fantastic picture book embracing Chinese New Year for children 3 years and up. The book is part of a series of preschool reads introducing young children to different celebrations and how they are celebrated today. We think the series is super.
Written simply with adorable illustrations, the book gives a concise description of Chinese New Year making it a brilliant book for younger children. The book explains how a family prepare for Chinese New Year and why particular customs are done including letting firecrackers off “to scare away any bad spirits.” The book also includes includes cultural and historical facts ideal for parents and teachers at the end of the book.
Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year Lift-The-Flap Book (Lift-The-Flap, Puffin) by Joan Holub and illustrated by Benrei Huang – Puffin booksThis is a lovely book for preschoolers and up and it has lift the flaps, yay! The book is a celebration of everything that needs to be done in preparation for the important annual event, what happens on the days of festivities and the enjoyment the dragon dance brings. The simple text, gentle illustrations and of course lift the flaps makes this a very enjoyable read. It is a short, easy read opening young eyes to a different culture.
The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac by Christopher Corr – Frances Lincoln
This fun, animated read is brilliant for young children to understand more about the Chinese zodiac. Children will find out who came first in this well known race and why certain animals had fallings out in this colourful picture book, brilliant for 5 year olds and up.
Christopher Corr has produced a book that will introduce children to Chinese culture and folklore and will be a great book to share both at home and at school. I am sure the book will inspire colourful artwork and be sure to be the reason why children want to discover what animal their year of birth is in the Chinese zodiac.
Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee and illustrated by Joey Chou – Henry Holt and Co
Ruby’s grandmother is unable to join the family for Chinese New Year celebrations so Ruby completes a journey to bring a special gift to her much loved elder. Along the way Ruby makes new friends and together they work as team, each making a contribution to the dinner that is to happen with Ruby’s grandmother. The friends Ruby makes are all the animals from the Chinese zodiac.
This picture book is filled with a gorgeous pallete of colours and friendly looking animals which you just want to befriend. Different from other books included in the post, this is a wordier read appealing to children 5 and up. Vickie Lee has included information about the legend of the Chinese zodiac and instructions for crafts that could be completed for the festival. A delight.
Chinese Emperor’s New Clothes by Ying Chang Compestine and illustrated by David Roberts – Abrams and Chronicle
Inspired by the classic story The Emperors New Clothes, Ying Chang Compestine has written a story about a young Chinese emperor, however, this version is far more precious.
The story emphasises the importance of new clothes, which are to be worn on the day of Chinese festivities. The young emperor is caring and wants to do what is best for his people. Different from other picture books included in this post this is a great book to share embracing Chinese culture and incorporating Chinese New Year within the story itself. This is a great picture book to share with school aged children. You can read a full review of this book on a previous blog post I have done.
Disclaimer: Some of these books were received from publishers however, all words and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.