Looking for some engaging and enjoyable Chinese New Year books for kids? Whether you’re a Chinese family in the West, a teacher looking for resources for the class, or just want to broaden your child’s knowledge of the world, we have put together some suggestions that we hope you’re going to love.
Our list of 30 books for kids to read during the Spring Festival, includes the Nian Monster, Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas, Playing with Lanterns and more. We’ve put together a list of beautiful and vibrant books that celebrate Chinese culture and Chinese New Year traditions.
These books are perfect for kids of any age to learn about Chinese culture, language, and traditions. We have selected some of the most beautiful, clever, and imaginative Chinese New Year stories written especially for kids, including some great classics and brand-new titles. Each one offers a fun look at the Chinese New Year.
Here are some titles that may inspire kids to get into the spirit of the holiday, which falls on January 22nd this year.
30 Lunar New Year Books for Kids
Here are some suggestions for engaging and beautiful books to share with kids of all ages in the run up to Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year.
The list includes stories, and non fiction books - picture books, board books, lift the flap books. It has classic books, newly published books, books from award winning Chinese authors and illustrators, and books featuring popular kids cartoon characters. So you're sure to find the right books for your child!
This book list for Chinese New Year contains affiliate links.
The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang with vivid watercolor pictures by chinese illustrator Alina Chau
While decorating for Chinese New Year, Po Po tells Xingling about the Nian Monster, who used to eat entire villages. The New Year traditions involving loud sounds, fire, and the color red successfully scared him off. Unfortunately, that was thousands of years ago, and he's not afraid anymore! The Nian Monster returns and threatens to eat Shanghai. Using other New Year traditions of long life noodles, sticky rice cakes, and fireworks, Xingling successfully saves her city.
Chau's watercolor illustrations are filled with warm colors and humor. In one spread, a crowd of people in Yu Garden flee the Nian Monster—except for one person, who would rather take a selfie with the mythical beast. The monster, who looks more adorable than menacing, spreads chaos at other Shanghai landmarks, such as People's Square and Oriental Pearl Tower, but the quick-thinking Xingling is never afraid as she enacts her plans.
This tale of New Year's high jinks has enough information to be enjoyed by those who have never encountered the holiday, and the focus on Xingling's wits and the monster's antics will be a draw for those who have celebrated it their entire lives.
A fun read-aloud that's sure to induce giggles.—Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VA
Goldy luck and the Three pandas by Natasha Tim is a fairytale set in china town, based on the famous fairytale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
It's Chinese New Year, and Goldy Luck’s mother wants her to take a plate of turnip cakes to the neighbors. The Chans aren’t home, but that doesn’t stop Goldy from trying out their rice porridge, their chairs, and their beds—with disastrous results.
In this funny and festive retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Natasha Yim and Grace Zong introduce a plucky heroine who takes responsibility for her actions and makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!), just in time for Chinese New Year.
Includes information about Chinese New Year along with a recipe for turnip cakes.
In Playing with Lanterns by Wang Yage, first published in China, Zhao Di wishes the New Year celebration would never end!
Zhao Di and her friends are excited to go out at night with their paper lanterns and celebrate Chinese New Year.
Each holding a unique colorful lantern with a lit candle inside, they admire the breathtaking colors while doing their best to avoid the wind and the sneaky boys in the village. Every night, until the fifteenth day of New Year, Zhao Di and her friends take part in this fun tradition, experiencing the thrill of nighttime in their village. And then―it’s time to smash the lanterns!
In this cheerful book, readers are invited along with Zhao Di and her friends as they experience all the joy and excitement of this folk Chinese custom.
Details about the paper lantern tradition are also included in an author’s note at the end of the book.
Dragon Dance by Joan Holub is a fun lift the flap book, which uses Cantonese chinese greetings for the new year, and takes the reader through lots of colorful aspects of the Chinese New Year celebration parade.
The interactive element of the lift the flaps feature is great for young readers, and a fun introduction to the sights and sounds of the Chinese New Year.
It's the night before Lunar New Year, and a little girl is excited for all of the celebrations to come. She's prepared dumplings with her mom, bought a new dress in Chinatown, and even helped scare mythical beast Nian away with her cousins and brother.
There's only one problem: she's a bit nervous about all of the loud noises at the upcoming Lunar New Year Parade. Will she overcome her fears?
You can find out in the latest installment of the Night Before series, told in the style of Clement C. Moore's classic tale, the Night Before Christmas.
This exuberant story follows a Chinese American family as they prepare for the Lunar New Year. Each member of the family lends a hand as they sweep out the dust of the old year, hang decorations, and make dumplings.
Then it’s time to put on new clothes and celebrate with family and friends. There will be fireworks and lion dancers, shining lanterns, and a great, long dragon parade to help bring in the Lunar New Year.
And the dragon parade in our book is extra long–on a surprise fold-out page at the end of the story.
Grace Lin’s artwork is a bright and gloriously patterned celebration in itself! And her story is tailor-made for reading aloud.
The Runaway Wok is written by Ying Chang Compestine, an author of Chinese recipe books for adults and kids
In this story, when a boy goes to the market to buy food and comes home with an old wok instead, his parents wonder what they'll eat for dinner. But then the wok rolls out of the poor family's house with a skippity-hoppity-ho! and returns from the rich man's home with a feast in tow!
With spirited text and lively illustrations, this story reminds readers about the importance of generosity.
This story of the Chinese zodiac is a bilingual book with both English, traditional chinese characters and pinyin meaning that you can share with your child whatever your and their level of Chinese language.
In this story, the Jade Emperor has invited all the animals of the kingdom for The Great Race. Which 12 animals will cross the river first and become a part of the Chinese Zodiac?
Teach young readers Chinese through this retelling of a classic Chinese legend passed through the generations. Follow along in Traditional Chinese, Pinyin, and English. Children, parents, and teachers will enjoy the beautiful, immersive illustrations and dynamic story.
A free audio reading in Mandarin is included to help with pronunciation and the book is also available in Simplified Chinese characters if you prefer.
Everyone’s favorite curious little monkey celebrates Chinese New Year with his friend Mei in this playful rhyming tabbed board book.
Curious George joins his friend Mei and her family as they prepare for and celebrate Chinese New Year!
From cleaning house and finding red clothes to wear, to hanging decorations and enjoying a family feast, to fireworks and a dragon dance, George and readers will enjoy learning about many Chinese New Year traditions.
With a rhyming text, colorful illustrations, and sturdy tabbed pages for the littlest hands, this playful board book makes a great read for all fans of Curious George—those who celebrate Chinese New Year, and those who are learning about it for the first time!
Author-illustrator Karen Katz's My First Chinese New Year presents a warm and lively introduction to a special holiday that will make even the youngest reader want to start a Chinese New Year tradition! With beautiful ilustrations inspired by folk art.
Chinese New Year is a time of new beginnings. Follow one little girl as she learns how to welcome the coming year and experience all the festivities surrounding it.
This poignant, vibrantly illustrated tale won the prestigious Feng Zikai Chinese Children’s Picture Book Award in 2009, is sure to resonate with every child who misses relatives when they are away — and shows how a family’s love is strong enough to endure over time and distance.
“Celebrations and traditions might differ, but the story of missing distant family is universal.” — School Library Journal
Take kids on a delicious journey through the sights, smells, and sounds of eating Dim Sum!
Eat your way through the world of Dim Sum! From the sounds of teacups clanking to the smells of Dim Sum fresh from the kitchen- you’ll be hungry in no time! Kids will learn about the most common dim sum dishes and will be able to order these dishes on their own. Read along and wow your child with the wonders of Chinese culture, food, and love.
Spin the Lazy Susan— Colorful and adorable images help kids understand the different types of food and mannerisms at the table. Learn simple Cantonese Phrases— Kids will learn how to use simple Cantonese phrases in a restaurant setting and at home. Love Comes From Food— Embrace the meaning behind family, food, and love while you eat with your eyes.
If you're looking for a book about Chinese food and culture, this illustrated book will provide your child with an extraordinary food adventure!
This colorful and vibrant book from National Geographic is packed full of photographs and information
Children have never had so many reasons to learn how Chinese people everywhere ring in the new and ring out the old. As China takes its new place on the global stage, understanding Chinese culture and values becomes ever more essential to our next generation.
For two joyous weeks 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 remember ancestors, and 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. With 25 colorful images and a simple, educational text, the book is a lively invitation to revel in this child-friendly, national and international holiday. Carolyn Otto brings the historical and cultural aspects of the Chinese New Year into focus, and young readers experience the full flavor of an event celebrated by over a billion people in China, and countless others worldwide.
Mindy Kim is a young Asian American girl who is getting ready to celebrate Lunar New Year!
In this story by Lyla Lee, Mindy is excited to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Even though it’s the first one without her mom, Mindy is determined to enjoy the day. She decides to make traditional Korean New Year food, a rice cake soup that’s her favorite. But things aren’t going quite to plan, and the celebration doesn’t feel the same as it did before.
With the help of her family and friends, can Mindy find a way to still enjoy her old holiday traditions, and create new ones along the way?
Note - This author is from South Korea and the story focuses more on Korean culture, which shares the Lunar new year celebration
What better character to celebrate the lunar new year than Disney's Chinese princess, Mulan?
It's the Lunar New Year, and it happens to be Mulan's favorite festival! There is a lot to do to prepare for this important celebration, and for the first time, Mulan is old enough to help out.
But everything Mulan does seems to turn out wrong. . . . Follow along with Mulan in this special Lunar New Year story that captures the unique sense of magic, imagination, and possibility that surrounds the holiday!
The PJ Masks go into the night to save the Lunar New Year parade in this exciting 8x8 storybook based on an episode from the hit show!
It’s almost time for the Lunar New Year parade, and Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko can’t wait to celebrate. That is, until they discover mysterious paw prints on one of the floats! Are the Wolfy Kids to blame, or is there a new villain in town?
During Chinese New Year, a young boy encounters a homeless person and discovers that no gift is too small when it comes from the heart.
Sam can hardly wait to go shopping with his mom. It's Chinese New Year's day and his grandparents have given him the traditional gift of lucky money-red envelopes called leisees (lay-sees). This year Sam is finally old enough to spend it any way he chooses. Best of all, he gets to spend his lucky money in his favorite place - Chinatown!
But when Sam realizes that his grandparents' gift is not enough to get the things he wants, his excitement turns to disappointment. Even though his mother reminds him that he should appreciate the gift, Sam is not convinced - until a surprise encounter with a stranger.
With vivid watercolor paintings, artists Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu celebrate the sights and sounds of festive Chinatown streets. In her picture book debut, author Karen Chinn tells the affecting story of a child who discovers that sometimes the best gifts come from the heart.
While celebrating Chinese New Year, Baby discovers the science behind lunar phases! Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book explores the lunar calendar, the moon's orbit, and the reason the moon seems to change shape.
Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby's sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two as well.
This bilingual color concept book celebrates a rainbow of traditional objects seen during the Chinese New Year.
Hóng is the color of explosive firecrackers! Jīn is the hue of lucky coins. Zŏng is the shade of sweet peanut puffs. Welcome to the festivities of the Chinese New Year, where symbolic gifts, foods, and objects come together in a celebration of beautiful colors.
This vibrant, simple, and highly graphic bilingual book is the perfect introduction to Chinese and English words for colors as it honors one of the biggest holidays around the world. Includes informative back matter.
Count to twelve with the zodiac animals as they get ready to celebrate Chinese New Year! Sweet, colorful illustrations introduce each of the zodiac animals as they bring special items to the celebration.
Xīn Nián Kuài Lè! Happy Chinese New Year!
The zodiac animals are ready to celebrate Chinese New Year with traditions and a big feast! Little ones can count to twelve as each animal prepares for the holiday:
Rat cleaned away the bad luck in one big sweep! Ox shopped for two new outfits. Tiger brought three kinds of flowers.
The simple text and vibrant illustrations in this book make it easy for little ones to follow along as the animals' preparations lead up to a tasty feast followed by a party with music and dancing!
The pages also feature the Chinese characters that correspond to each number highlighted on the page. Children will learn to recognize the characters as they read the book again and again, and the pronunciation guide will help them say the words out loud.
In the back of the book, each of the Chinese New Year traditions mentioned in the story is explained in further detail—from the customs of cleaning the house and wearing new clothes to hanging lanterns and making dumplings.
This visually stunning board book has red and gold foil on the cover and is the perfect way to introduce little ones to Chinese New Year and its traditions.
Celebrate the Lunar New Year through a young girl’s family traditions in this charming picture book featuring illustrations by New York Times bestselling artist Dung Ho that also includes a recipe for pineapple cakes!
Little Ren looks forward to the preparation for and festivities of Lunar New Year, but she is always too little to help make the delicious pineapple cakes that are her favorite. She watches family members rolling out the dough and loves the mouth-watering smell. Watching and waiting, when will Ren be old enough?
From the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling How to Catch series comes an all-new dragon story, a great Chinese New Year book for kids!
Do you have what it takes to snag a dragon? The How to Catch kids are off again, this time trying to catch a dragon as they chase him through Chinese New Year celebrations! Set in China during the Spring Festival, otherwise known as Chinese New Year, the wily dragon will have to avoid trap after trap as the kids run through paper lanterns, red lunar envelopes, fireworks, and more!
A six-year-old boy performs his first Lion Dance in New York City’s Chinatown in this intimate look at a Chinese family celebrating the Chinese New Year!
Six-year-old Ernie Wan is the elder son of a kung fu master. He lives in Chinatown with his mother and father, his big sister Jenny, and his little brother Warren.
This is the story of the most important day of Ernie’s life. He has studied kung fu at his father’s studio since he was three. And this Chinese New Year, he will perform his first Lion Dance on the streets of New York City. Here is a rare and intimate look at a Chinese household as they embrace their ancient customs, celebrate their most important holiday, and share a proud moment with Ernie.
The Chinese people often told stories that taught the listener about their culture. In this zodiac myth, the emperor names the years of the zodiac after the animals who win a race. The Chinese zodiac myth is retold in this brilliantly illustrated Chinese Myth.
This version of the classic zodiac story is presented in a format more suited to older children of around 8+
Let’s get kids excited about celebrating Chinese New Year with a great book about the festival.
We hope you enjoy these Lunar New Year books this Chinese New Year! Reading books together is a great way to learn about cultural traditions, whether it’s something your own family celebrates or not.
The links above take you to buy the books on Amazon, but you can also check out your local library and see which of these books they have available – maybe discover something more too.
Chinese New Year Activities
You might also like these chinese new year activities and crafts, so many fun things to do with the kids
Anna Marikar, mum of four and seasoned blogger, has spent over a decade sharing her parenting journey and passion for kid-friendly crafts and free printables.
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