10 Board Books and Picture Books to Celebrate Lunar New Year

Share these titles with the youngest readers to help them ring in the new year. 

RedReviewStar Lunar New Year by Hannah Eliot. illus. by Alina Chau. Little Simon. ISBN 9781534433038. 
PreS-Gr 1—A lively family of five and their relatives are the centerpiece of this book. In this standout introduction to Lunar New Year, the holiday's origins and the concept of the Chinese zodiac are explained. Then, it's time for the family to cook, clean, and decorate in preparation for the festivities. Important traditions and symbols of the festival are presented, along with key themes of the holiday, such as luck and prosperity.

Happy Chinese New Year!: A Festive Counting Story by Jannie Ho. illus. by Jannie Ho. Crown.  ISBN 9780593562970. 
Toddler-PreS–A group of cheerful zodiac animals get ready to celebrate Chinese New Year in this bright, inviting counting story. As the animals prepare for the New Year by engaging in traditional activities such as cleaning the house, buying new clothes, and filling envelopes with “lucky money,” young readers will also learn how to count to 12. This board book is ideal for collections in need of more Lunar New Year books for the youngest set.

It’s Your Year, Baby Rabbit. little bee. ISBN 9781499813425. 
Toddler-PreS–This cheerful board book introduces toddlers to the positive characteristics of those born during the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac. Bright, happy illustrations show Baby Rabbit spending time with friends and family, engaging in their favorite activities such as playing outside, cooking, and being helpful. For displays centered on the Lunar New Year, this sweet tale adds another layer to the Chinese New Year celebration not often presented in books for little ones.

RedReviewStar The Little Pigs and the Sweet Rice Cakes: A Story Told in English and Chinese by Li Jian. tr. from Chinese by Yijin Wert. illus. by Li Jian. Better Link Pr. ISBN 9781602204539. 
K-Gr 2—This bilingual picture book is successful both as a lighthearted folktale and an introduction to China's Minor Spring Festival, preceding Lunar New Year. When the middle sibling wakes up from a dream in which an old man tells him to make sweet rice cakes, all three pigs wish they could taste such a delicacy. Imagine their surprise when they return home later in the day to find a plate of the cakes cooling on the table! The familiar moral structure of this tale and the bright illustrations will appeal to English- and Chinese-language readers alike.

Tomorrow Is New Year’s Day: Seollal, a Korean Celebration of the Lunar New Year by Aram Kim. illus. by Aram Kim. Farrar. ISBN 9780374389284. 
PreS-Gr 1–Mina and her family spend a day sharing their traditional Korean celebrations of Lunar New Year, or Seollal, with Mina’s enthusiastic and engaged classmates. This title is a simple, warmhearted introduction to Seollal, and is another example of Kim’s skill at spotlighting Korean culture in an inviting and accessible way.


 Chloe’s Lunar New Year by Lily LaMotte. illus. by Michelle Lee. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780063076518. 
PreS-Gr 3–Chloe, her smaller brother, and her parents prepare for the annual Lunar New Year celebration. There’re cleaning, new shoes, and an emphasis on blending Taiwanese classics like good-luck fish, turnip cake, and sticky fortune cakes with American apple pie. Red envelopes and a family reunion—including an uncle with red hair and beard—are also key parts of the festival. Dispensing with the external drama of the dragon, parade, or noisy firecrackers, this warm book depicts family as central.

The Tray of Togetherness by Flo Leung. illus. by Flo Leung. Owlkids. ISBN 9781771474627. 
PreS-Gr 2–A young girl narrates her excitement and family’s preparations for a Lunar New Year celebration; in particular, gathering the eight foods for the Tray of Togetherness. She and her grandmother travel to the market to buy the symbolic foods, including candied kumquats for wealth and peanuts for a long life. A sweet read focusing on a young child’s infectious excitement over holiday traditions.

 Grumpy New Year by Katrina Moore. illus. by Xindi Yan. little bee. ISBN 9781499812824. 
K-Gr 2–The Lunar New Year is 10 days away. Daisy knows this will be the best one yet, because she gets to spend it in China with her grandpa, Yeh-Yeh. Daisy does not want to miss anything, so despite being advised to sleep on several occasions, she stays awake instead. Over time, Daisy exhibits ever-increasing levels of grumpiness. A superb celebration of the Lunar New Year, particularly accessible to young elementary aged readers.

A Sweet New Year for Ren by Michelle Sterling. illus. by Dung Ho. S. & S./Paula Wiseman. ISBN 9781534496606. 
PreS-Gr 3–A young girl and her family prepare for Lunar New Year by cooking a sumptuous feast. Ren is eager for the upcoming celebration. She hopes this year she can finally help make her favorite New Year’s treat, pineapple cake. Unfortunately, the grown-ups deem Ren “still too little” to assist in hanging lanterns, folding dumplings, and stirring noodles. Despite being relegated to an observer for these tasks, Ren’s spirits remain high. A delightful charmer that touches on practices associated with Lunar New Year and highlights a variety of foods.

Mulan’s Lunar New Year by Natasha Yim. illus. by Sophie Li. Disney Pr. ISBN 9781368023269. 
PreS-Gr 2—In this oversize picture book, Disney's Mulan is seven years old and eager to bring good luck to her family as the Lunar New Year approaches. Mulan's family joyfully woo happiness, prosperity, reunion, and longevity by picking fresh flowers; eating steamed buns, dumplings, and noodles; and hanging dragon-shaped lanterns. This simple introduction to Chinese traditions surrounding the Lunar New Year will be most appealing to Disney fans, with some additional interest during seasonally appropriate times.

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