In honor of Chinese New Year, the Year of the Monkey 2016, here are a few books that you and the family can enjoy reading to celebrate !
The Paper Dragon
by Marguerite W. Davol
Mi Fei is a humble painter of scrolls. Between each day’s sunrise and sunset, he paints scenes of the gods and their festivals’ portraits of heroes and their deeds. Although the scrolls bring him fame, Mi Fei is content to live in his village, surrounded by people he loves.
But one day a messenger enters the village with terrible news: the dragon Sui Jen has awakened from its hundred years’ sleep and is destroying everything in its path. Someone must find a way to return Sui Jen to its slumber. To the villagers, only one among them is wise enough to confront the scaly beast — Mi Fei.
The power of the artist’s vision and the ever-sustaining nature of love are brought together in Marguerite W. Davol’s beautiful story, strikingly interpreted by Robert Sabuda in a series of gatefold illustrations that convey the storytelling majesty of the Chinese narrative scrollmaker’s art.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin
This Newbery Honor book features magic, adventure, friendship, and even a dragon who can’t fly!
In the valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life’s questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family’s fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.
Grace Lin, author of the beloved Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat, returns with a wondrous story of adventure, faith, and friendship. A fantasy crossed with Chinese folklore, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a timeless story reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz. Her beautiful illustrations, printed in full-color, accompany the text throughout. Once again, she has created a charming, engaging book for young readers.
Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats : A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes
by Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz, and the Children’s Museum, Boston
Filled with delectable recipes, hands-on family activities, and traditional tales to read aloud, this extraordinary collection will inspire families everywhere to re-create the magic of Chinese holidays in their own homes. They can feast on golden New Year’s dumplings and tasty moon cakes, build a miniature boat for the Dragon Boat Festival and a kite at Qing Ming, or share the story of the greedy Kitchen God or the valiant warrior Hou Yi.
This stunning compilation from bestselling cookbook author Nina Simonds and Leslie Swartz of the Children’s Museum, Boston, is the perfect gift for families that have embraced Chinese holidays for generations—and for those just beginning new traditions.
Sam and the Lucky Money
by Karen Chinn
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.
Dim Sum for Everyone
by Grace Lin
In English, dim sum means “little hearts,” or “touches the heart,” but to this young girl, dim sum means delicious. On a visit to a bustling dim sum restaurant, a family picks their favorite little dishes from the steaming trolleys filled with dumplings, cakes, buns, and tarts. And as is traditional and fun, they share their food with each other so that everyone gets a bite of everything.
Just right for young children, Dim Sum for Everyone! celebrates a cultural custom and a universal favorite activity–eating!
Paper Crafts for Chinese New Year
by Randall McGee
Do you want to make your own dancing dragon puppet? Dragon dances are an important part of Chinese New Year celebrations. Follow storyteller Randel McGee as he explores Chinese New Year in Paper Crafts for Chinese New Year. Learn to make a Lai See envelope, shadow puppets, Chinese lantern, and more!
The Chinese New Year Mystery (Nancy Drew Notebook Series #39)
by Carolyn Keene and Jan Naimo Jones
WHAT’S CHINESE NEW YEAR WITHOUT A DRAGON?
The third-grade classes at Nancy’s school are learning about Chinese culture, and they’ll celebrate the Chinese New Year with a special parade. The highlight of the parade will be a dragon costume. Nancy’s class is making it out of feathers, sequins, gold tassels, and red silk. But right before the big day, the dragon disappears!
Nancy, Bess, and George are in the New Year’s spirit. They’ve enjoyed a delicious feast at the home of their classmate Mari Cheng. She’s even lent the girls special Chinese outfits to wear. But without the dragon, there will be no parade. And that makes Nancy roaring mad!
My First Chinese New Year
by Karen Katz
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. Karen Katz’s warm and lively introduction to a special holiday will make even the youngest child want to start a Chinese New Year tradition!
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.
Dragon Dance A Chinese New Year Lift the Flap Book
by Joan Holub
It’s Chinese New Year and there are so many fun things to do! Shopping at the outdoor market for fresh flowers, eating New Year’s dinner with the whole family, receiving red envelopes from Grandma and Grandpa, and best of all-watching the spectacular Chinese New Year’s parade! Introduce the customs of Chinese New Year to even the youngest readers with this festive new lift-the-flap book.
Bringing In the New Year
by Grace Lin
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.
What Chinese zodiac year were you born in? Look below to figure it out.
Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
Sheep: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970
Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971