Posted in book lists, Books, Friday Fun

Friday Fun ~ Questions for Bibliophiles: Name the book that…

I found this list of questions at Captivated~by~Fantasy, and thought I would ask you to answer them!  It is the Harry Potter Book Tag, but don’t feel as  though you have to keep it to the Harry Potterverse to answer.

potterspells

 Flagrate

A book that you found interesting but would like to rewrite

 Alohomora

The first book in a series that got you hooked

Accio 

A book that you wish you could have right now

Avada Kedavra

A killer book

Confundo

A book you find confusing

Expecto Patronum

Your spirit animal book

Sectumsempra

A dark, twisted book

Aparecium

A book that surprised you in a great way

Harry Potter Spells Image courtesy of Harry Potter Amino
Posted in book lists, Books, From The Editor's Desk, Writing

Umberto Eco and the Anti-library

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Umberto Eco image courtesy of Brain Pickings 

 

“The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore, professore dottore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?” and the others – a very small minority – who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you don’t know as your financial means, mortgage rates and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menancingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an anti-library.”

― Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable Fragility

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My anti-library Kindle list

Taleb’s book is part of my anti-library, ironically enough.

Taleb’s quote above fascinated me, and I bought the book to read, but with the editing business going strong and the fact-checking side of the house prepping for the next issue of Genome Magazine, it’s on my TBR pile.  The good news is, now that school has resumed, perhaps the TBR pile can be dug into, perhaps at the beach?

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s  The Theory of Colours

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I have done some research on color theory and psychology, and my colors around the world blog post utilizing this as a reference. One of Goethe’s most radical points was a refutation of Newton’s ideas about the color spectrum, suggesting instead that darkness is an active ingredient rather than the mere passive absence of light.

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Light and darkness, brightness and obscurity, or if a more general expression is preferred, light and its absence, are necessary to the production of color… Color itself is a degree of darkness. 

 

Leon Leyson’s The Boy on the Wooden Box

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The Boy on the Wooden Box is on my Kindle since my son Jason went to hear Leon Leyson’s widow, Lis, speak on Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Fullerton Public Library. Leon Leyson was the youngest person ever saved by Oskar Schindler.  He was #289 on Schindler’s List. Be sure to read Jason’s take on Lis Leyson’s speech.

As a history major in my undergrad days, this time period has always had a deep impact on me. I am sure it will be eye-opening and emotional.

I’m reminded of Marlon Brando’s famous Playboy interview with Lawrence Grobel, in which he says that he used to read all the time, but finally stopped because information was of no use to him. Grobel interviewed him on his island in Tahiti; Brando told him that he no longer read anything except Shakespeare. Everything that was worth knowing was contained in Shakespeare. Brando said:

070936-glossy-black-icon-alphanumeric-quote-close1I used to read an awful lot. Then I found that I had a lot of information and very little knowledge. I couldn’t learn from reading. I was doing something else by reading, just filling up this hopper full of information, but it was undigested information. I used to think the more intelligence you had, the more knowledge you had, but it’s not true. Look at Bill Buckley; he uses his intelligence to further his own prejudices. Why one reads is important. If it’s just for escape, that’s all right, it’s like taking junk, it’s meaningless. It’s kind of an insult to yourself. Like modern conversation–it’s used to keep people away from one another, because people don’t feel assaulted by conversation so much as silence. People have to make conversation in order to fill up this void. Void is terrifying to most people. We can’t have a direct confrontation with somebody in silence–because what you’re really having is a full and more meaningful confrontation.

 

Epictetus’ The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness 

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Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle:

070936-glossy-black-icon-alphanumeric-quote-close1Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.

Epictetus‘ (c. AD 55 – 135) influential school of Stoic philosophy, stresses that human beings cannot control life, only their responses to it, keeping the focus on progress over perfection, on accomplishing what can be accomplished and abandoning unproductive worry over what cannot.

What’s on your Anti-Library List? 

Let me know either by commenting here, or on twitter @bookdoctordara.

Posted in book lists, Books

IMO… 12 Black Authors Everyone Should Read

A friend posted about a novel quiz he took and realized that he didn’t know any of the Black Authors. He asked for suggestions as to what he should read.  This got me thinking, and I thought I would share my reply. Bear in mind, this is MY OPINION. Let me know in the comments below of any that you recommend.

Richard Wright’s Black Boy and Native Son.


Frederick Douglass’ memoir, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

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Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

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James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain and Notes of a Native Son (set during the civil rights movement)


Octavia Butler’s Kindred

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W.E.B Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folks

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Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man

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Alex Haley’s Roots, The Saga of an American Family and The Autobiography of Malcolm X


Langston Hughes’ Not without laughter

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Did you know? The play A Raisin in the Sun by playwright Lorraine Hansberry was named for a line from a Langston Hughes poem.

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Harlem
      Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a sore—
      And then run?
      Does it stink like rotten meat?
      Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?
      Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

 

Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God 

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Toni Morrison’s Beloved

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BONUS:
Ta-Nehisi Coates is an editor and writer for The Atlantic. I mentioned him in my Just the Facts… About Fact-Checking blog post.

Also … Both Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison are mentioned in my Literary Arts Postage Stamp series of posts on the blog. Feel free to go take a look at them.

For Further Reading:

10 Black Authors Everyone Should Read by PBS.org. This has little biographies and blurbs on most of the authors I listed above, and a few that I didn’t know about.

22 Contemporary Authors You Absolutely Should be Reading by Isaac Fitzgerald

Posted in book lists, Books, In the News

Friday Recap: Literary In the News

I decided today would be a good day to do a “Literary Recap: In the News”. There were so many good articles this week on various literary things, that I couldn’t resist the opportunity to let you see my top four.

Let’s begin with Maurice Sendak… 

Let the Wild Rumpus start! Today is Maurice Sendak’s birthday, June 10th.  He would have been 88.

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“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”

Continue with William Gibson… 

5 Essential William Gibson Reads

Neuromancer (1984) was one of the best books I ever heard on audiotape (back in the day before Audible). When my husband and I were driving across country, we sat in the parking lot of the hotel for an hour and a half because we were so into Neuromancer and didn’t want to wait until the next day to hear the rest.

neuromancer


Follow that with Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time…

About Pysanky, the Hand-Drawn Style of The Wheel of Time: Patterns of the Wheel

If you are a fan of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, (and who isn’t?), check out the Coloring Art based on Jordan’s The Wheel of Time by Amy Romanczuk.

 

Pysanky, a word derived from the Ukrainian word “to write”, are created using a wax-and-dye resist process similar to batik, though on eggshell instead of cloth.

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Copyright 2016 Amy Romanczuk

Download a print version of this page here if you would like copies for you and your family! (PDF is 1.2 MB.)

Finally: BookMarks: Answer to Rotten Tomatoes? …

LITHUB’S BookMarks: The Book World’s Answer To Rotten Tomatoes?

LitHub has launched BookMarks, a site developed as the book world’s answer to Rotten Tomatoes. Once a book has been reviewed three times by an “important outlet of literary journalism,” those reviews are aggregated, fed through a rubric, and a grade given. It could be a really handy tool for those who like to know what the book world is thinking about a book without taking the time to read through all of the (often problematic) reviews.

Literary Hub- BookMarks

Happy Reading! 

Note: Newspaper Cuts image courtesy of Emily Huff at ATextures
Posted in book lists, From The Editor's Desk

What’s On Your Bookshelf?

IMG_4987With yet another book arriving in the mailbox this week, I was thinking …  What are your indispensable “go-to” books for your craft? There are certain books I always have open bookmarked to certain pages, or they fall open to the proper page since I have opened them enough that the binding is broken to that spot. [It makes me sad, as a bibliophile, when that happens … but, that’s a different blog post ].

The latest addition to the bookshelf for me is that little book on the top of the stack, Sarah Harrison Smith’s The Fact Checker’s Bible — A Guide to Getting it Right.

Now you are wondering, why these books? Why are they my essentials? Here is why.

 

41DHFqpNjkL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_ The Copyeditor’s Handbook —A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications
Amy Einsohn

Einsohn’s book is a perfect companion to The Chicago Manual of Style, for me. It emphasizes the practical, how-to be a real-life copyeditor:  punctuation, grammar issues, reference books, and on-screen editing; it is 550 pages of valuable knowledge.  It gives you exercises to keep your editor’s red pen sharp. My copy is highlighted and marked up on various segments that I keep going back to on a regular basis.

…[A] copyeditor must read the document letter by letter, word by word, with excruciating care and attentiveness. In many ways, being a copyeditor is like sitting for an English exam that never ends: At any moment, your knowledge of spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage, syntax, and diction is being tested.

 

41M6DLO-CFL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_The Associated Press Stylebook 2015
Associated Press

Required for journalism students and essential in print journalism (except for The New York Times which has its own stylebook in place), AP Stylebook provides consistent guidelines for content continuity from many writers, editors, and publishers working together. Grammar, punctuation, and language usage are all covered, including consistency, clarity, accuracy and brevity.

AP Stylebook also has an online version, which is peppered with topical guides such as the 2016 Election Guide: Political Titles, Terminology, Institutions and Key Events.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression513vzjIHIOL._SX348_BO1,204,203,200_
Angela Ackerman

Do you ever find yourself using the same phrase over and over again to describe what your character is feeling? This book by Angela Ackerman will help you  find physical, internal and mental cues for all the emotions you might need in your writing. It also helps me find the right word or phrase to help vary your manuscript and make a stronger statement, to connect with your reader.
For example, Impatience.

  • Clicking one’s fingernails against a table
  • Narrowing eyes, a look of intense focus that can be mistaken for anger
  • A sharp tone, using as few words as possible to answer
  • Attention that snaps toward small sounds or movement
  • Complaining to others or mumbling under one’s breath: “Where is he?” or “What is taking so long?”
  • Fussing with one’s appearance (brushing lint from a sleeve, applying lip gloss)
  • Feeling exhausted or strained to the limits

 

41QY5MTRQQL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_The Fact Checker’s Bible — A Guide to Getting It Right
Sarah Harrison Smith

This is my latest acquisition for the bookshelf.  Smith used to be a fact-checker for the New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine, and is now teaching at John Hopkins University. This is an essential guide to the neglected task of checking facts, no matter what the source.  In this day and age of information overload, we need to be able to determine the reliability of what we read. In the back is a helpful list of resources in subjects ranging from wine to films.

 

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Garner’s Modern American Usage
Brian A. Garner

David Foster Wallace said in his essay Democracy, English and the Wars over Usage, “Garner’s dictionary is extremely good…its format… includes entries on individual words and phrases and expostulative small-cap MINI-ESSAYS.But the really distinctive and ingenious features of A Dictionary of Modern American Usage involve issues of rhetoric and ideology and style.”[1]

For my editing purposes, it covers usage, pronunciation, and style: troublesome words and phrases— imply vs. infer; word entries that clarify two terms (site, sight); the 9-page Punctuation, from Apostrophe to Virgule — my favorite section, Punctuation;  Sesquipedality (the use of big words); and the “Language Change Index“— which measures “how widely accepted various linguistic innovations have become.”

 

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The Chicago Manual of Style — The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers
16th Edition (2010)
University of Chicago

If you are a writer or an editor, you need this book. Either the physical copy, or subscribe to their online service. [Or do both, like I do!].  CMOS online has answered so many questions about rules. Yes, rules. They exist,and CMOS is a wonderful source for learning new rules.
It keeps up-to-date on the latest advances. The sixteenth edition includes publishing electronic publications, web-based content and e-books. I can’t live without their Hyphenation Table, and the updated Unicode numbers for special characters.

Now it’s your turn : What’s on YOUR bookshelf? 

~Footnotes~

1.Wallace, David Foster (April 2001). “Tense Present: Democracy, English, and the Wars over Usage”. Harper’s Magazine. Harper’s Magazine Foundation. http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/DFW_present_tense.html

Posted in book lists

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Happy 112th birthday to Dr. Seuss! Here are a few of my favorite books and quotes in honor of his birthday.  What are yours? Leave me a comment.

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“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

– Happy Birthday to You! (1959)

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One of my favorites!

The royal magicians arrive chanting a rhyme that ends with “Our magic can do anything.” The king makes a wish to have something new fall form the sky and when he asks the magicians what they will make they speak one word together.

“Oobleck.”

When the King asks what it will look like they reply:

“Won’t look like rain. Won’t look like snow.

Won’t look like fog. That’s all we know. 

We just can’t tell you any more.

We’ve never made oobleck before.”

– Bartholomew and the Oobleck (1949)*

*Note: Look below for the Oobleck recipe to make at home!

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A person’s a person, no matter how small

– Horton Hears a Who (1954)

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Until neither the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew whether this one was that one … or that one was this one or which one was what one … or what one was who.

– The Sneetches and Other Stories (1961)

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The family will tell you, this is my all time favorite Dr. Seuss book.  They wouldn’t be wrong.

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UNLESS… someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s NOT.

– The Lorax (1971)

 

green-slime
Oobleck ingredients

  • 1 part water
  • 1.5 to 2 parts cornstarch
  • Small amount of food coloring (optional)

How To Make Oobleck

  • Start with the water in a bowl and add the cornstarch a bit at a time.
  • Keep stirring until it has a gooey consistency. You may want to use your hands.
  • When the oobleck is just right, slowly add food coloring, if you want. This can be a challenge to get it mixed properly.
  • Play with it.
Oobleck “green slime” image courtesy of Shutterstock 
Posted in book lists

Year of the Monkey 2016

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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 !

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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.

61AtpakTExL._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_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.

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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.

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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.

51UFjAVVC4L._SY382_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgDim 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!

 

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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!

9780671787523_p0_v1_s192x300The 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!

9781250018687_p0_v1_s192x300My 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!

51ZuXmyK7SL._SX423_BO1,204,203,200_Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Chinese New Year: with Fireworks, Dragons, and Lanterns
by Carolyn Otto

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.

isDragon 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.

61gHub01IAL._SY397_BO1,204,203,200_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