Happy Lunar New Year! Did you know that Lunar New Year is celebrated by many Asian countries including Vietnam, China, and South Korea? It begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and lasts for 15 days.
Some people call this Chinese New Year. But this term does not represent the variety of countries that celebrate the Lunar New Year. So it’s preferable to use Lunar New Year when describing this holiday.
Surprisingly, it’s been difficult to find books that use the preferable term of Lunar New Year but I will keep trying. Here’s what I have so far…
Good Children’s Books to Read for Lunar New Year
Gordon & Li Li Celebrate Chinese New Year by Michele Wong McSween, illustrated by Jeannie Chen
This colorful board book gives you a vocabulary word related to Lunar New Year and shows Panda cousins in the illustrations. Each word is written in English, Mandarin, and Pinyin and includes the phonetic pronunciations. In addition, there’s a definition explaining how the word relates to the holiday.
Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin
Gorgeous, color-filled artwork and simple text narrate the story of a girl and her family getting ready for the New Year. Ba-Ba hangs poems, Ma-Ma makes dumplings, Jie-Jie sweeps the house. When it’s time to celebrate, there will be fireworks, lanterns, lion dancers, and a dragon parade.
Friends are Friends Forever by Dane Liu, illustrated by Lynn Scurfield
When Dandan moves to America, making a new friend makes life and learning a language easier. Dandan invites her new friend to celebrate Lunar New Year at her house, just like she used to in China with her best friend there. The new friends eat special food and make red paper ornaments together in a celebration of friendship.
The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Alina Chau
As Xingling and her Po Po decorate their home with red decorations, Po Po explains about the terrible Nian monster who ate villages until he was defeated by loud sounds, fire, and the color red, traditions that keep him away. But, suddenly the Nian monster appears, and not only is he not scared of the red decorations, but he is hungry. Clever Xingling outsmarts the monster with another favorite Lunar New Year tradition — food!
The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by Ying Chang Compesten
Our Lunar New Year by Yobe Qiu
Read how families in different countries like China, Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand celebrate the Lunar New Year with different foods and activities.
Lunar New Year by Hannah Eliot, illustrated by Alina Chau
This board book (that is too long for babies) introduces readers to the traditions of Lunar New Year including fireworks and other traditions that are celebrated in China such as the zodiac animals.
Mulan’s Lunar New Year by Natasha Yim, illustrated by Sophie Li
7-year-old Mulan’s enthusiasm in helping with the holiday preparations keeps messing things up. But her family knows her intentions are good and throughout the day, readers will learn about the traditions and symbols.
The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac by Dawn Casey
The Jade Emperor decides to name each calendar year after an animal and will pick the order based on the first twelve animals who finished in a race. 13 animals start but only 12 can finish. Who do you predict will be out?
Mindy Kim and the Lunar New Year Parade by Lyla Lee, illustrated by Dung Ho
I love this second book in the Mindy Kim beginning chapter book series even more than the first. It’s Mindy’s first Lunar New Year since her mom died. Despite her best efforts to make the right Korean New Year foods, it just doesn’t feel right. But, her dad and new friends help her find joy in familiar traditions and make her own, new traditions.
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