Celebrating Lunar New Year with Maya from MaiStoryBook
Happy Lunar New Year! Maya here, from MaiStoryBook, and to help celebrate Lunar New Year this year, I'm excited to collaborate with the Madison Reading Project to share some of my favorite festive read alouds and bookish crafts!
What is Lunar New Year?
Lunar New Year is the beginning of the new year based on the lunar calendar. The lunar calendar is based on cycles of the moon and sun, and is generally 21-51 days behind the Gregorian (internationally-used) solar calendar that begins the New Year on January 1st.
Lunar New Year signals the beginning of a new year, and the beginning of Spring. The date of Lunar New Year changes every year, but it always falls between January 21st and February 20th. In 2023, Lunar New Year falls on January 22nd, and will begin the Year of the Rabbit or Cat (Vietnamese Zodiac).
Who celebrates Lunar New Year?
Lunar New Year is celebrated by many Asian countries and other communities around the world, yet it is still commonly referred to as Chinese New Year. Rather than referring to the holiday in general as Chinese New Year, to be inclusive and respectful of all cultures that celebrate, refer to the holiday as Lunar New Year, or use the holiday name associated with each country when appropriate. Here is what Lunar New Year is called in some other countries:
Vietnam celebrates Tết Nguyên Đán (Tết for short)
Korea celebrates Seollal (설날)
China celebrates Chunjie (春节 - in Mandarin)
Mongolia celebrates Tsagaan Sar
Tibet celebrates Losar (Begins March 3, 2022)
Check out my blog to read about how I celebrate Lunar New Year and some of my favorite Tết traditions!
Below I’m highlighting a collection of Lunar New Year books. In this festive lineup, you’ll find legends of dragons and zodiac tales, colorful glowing lanterns and celebrations of the moon, and festivals of friends and family and feasts galore!
*Important note: Many of the Lunar New Year books available focus on Chinese New Year. There is a lack of representation of Lunar New Year celebrated by other countries. Hopefully we see more representation as more #ownvoices are encouraged to share their stories.*
Mau Cua Tết / The Colors of Tết by Tiny Wrist
Through an exploration of color and shades, little readers learn about the traditions of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. The book is written in both Vietnamese and English, and includes a sticker set and a QR code for read alouds.
Baby Loves Lunar Phases on Chinese New Year by Ruth Spiro & Irene Chan
Discover the science behind the lunar phases while celebrating Chinese New Year! Explore the lunar calendar, the moon's orbit, and the reason the moon seems to change shape through adorable illustrations and informative text.
Lucky Lunar Animals by Lacey Benard & Lulu Cheng
Learn about the 12 animals represented in the Chinese Zodiac, and what characteristics are associated with each one. This bilingual board book is available in Simplified or Traditional Chinese characters.
Celebrating Chinese New Year by Lacey Benard & Lulu Cheng
Learn all about Chinese New Year traditions while also exploring the different names for family members in Chinese. Available in Simplified of Traditional Chinese characters.
Tết Together by Alice Trinh & Jade Le
Celebrate Tết, Vietnamese Lunar New Year, in this darling new release that highlights Vietnamese traditions and their significance during this festive time. Tết is a time not only for festivity and celebration, but for togetherness and reflection. Families come together to hang colorful decorations, prepare delicious meals with traditional foods, and sweep out the old year. A beautiful tribute to Vietnamese cultural heritage.
Tastes of Lunar New Year by Cheryl Yau Chepusova & Isabel Foo & Mori Chiang
Celebrate Lunar New Year around the world through food! Join the 12 zodiac animals as they take you on a tour of 12 different special New Year's dishes from China, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Korea. Full of colorful foodie fun!
Celebrating Chinese New Year by Eugenia Chu
This introduction to Chinese New Year, perfect for ages 6-9, explains the history, folklore, traditions, and customs of Chinese New Year. Full of fascinating facts and pictures, the book also includes engaging, hands-on activities such as recipes for making Chinese dumplings, and instructions to make paper lanterns and your very own Chinese Zodiac Calendar.
Playing with Lanterns by Wang Yage & Zhu Chengliang
Zhao Di and her friends are excited to celebrate Chinese New Year with their paper lanterns in the evening. Every night, until the 15th day of New Year, Zhao Di and her friends will partake in this evening lantern tradition~ experiencing the thrill of their village at nighttime, admiring the beautiful lantern lights and colors, and avoiding the wind and sneaky village boys! Then, after the 15th day, comes their favorite part: it’s time to smash the lanterns!
Friends are Friends Forever by Dane Liu & Lynn Scurfield
It’s a snowy Lunar New Year’s Eve in northeastern China, and it’s Dandan’s last night with her best friend Yueyue. Tomorrow she leaves for America. For the last time, they complete their favorite wintertime tradition: crafting paper-cut snowflakes, freezing them outside in the snow, and hanging them as ornaments. As they say goodbye, Yueyue hands Dandan red paper and thread to carry on the tradition in her new home. But in America, Dandan struggles to find anyone to enjoy the tradition with... until a friend comes along.
Our Lunar New Year by Yobe Qiu
Join Xiao Mi, Hang, Kwan, Malai and Charu as they share how they each celebrate the Lunar New Year in their own special way. I appreciate how this book highlights Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian families and how they honor the Lunar New Year.
Nian, The Chinese New Year Dragon by Virginia Loh-Hagan & Timothy Banks
A beautiful retelling of the Chinese New Year Nian Dragon legend with an original twist, that explains the origins of Chinese New Year traditions. Mei hates springtime because that's when the horrible Nian dragon leaves the mountain to come terrorize the village. However, on the night right before spring, a warrior visits Mei in her dreams and tells her that it is her destiny to face and defeat Nian within 15 days, or the dragon will be free forever.
Celebrate Chinese New Year with the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals as they help Ruby deliver a special card to her grandmother. The book includes back matter with a focus on the animals of the Chinese zodiac.
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim & Grace Zong
A delightful spin on the classic "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," this retelling is set in a bustling contemporary Chinatown. It is Chinese New Year, and Goldy Luck is tasked with taking turnip cakes to the neighbors. But the Chan's aren't home, and Goldy is tempted to try out their rice porridge, chairs, and beds~ with disastrous results!
Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin
Join a Chinese American family as they prepare for Chinese New Year: make dumplings, hang festive decorations, sweep out the dust of the old year. Get ready for fireworks, lanterns, lion dancers, and an incredible dragon parade! Includes a surprise fold-out page at the end to extend the dragon parade!
New Year by Mei Zihan & Qin Leng
A beautiful story about missing your family during the holidays. It's Lunar New Year and a father is especially missing his daughter who moved abroad. He fondly recalls memories of their moments together while she was growing up, but while he misses her, he also recognizes her need to move away, grow up, and become independent. This is a precious story about loving those who are many miles away.
New Clothes for New Year's Day by Hyun-joo Bae
Join a young Korean girl as she dresses up and prepares for celebrating the Korean Lunar New Year. The beautiful illustrations highlight the beauty of the holiday and introduce the traditional hanbok and how to wear it.
It's Chinese New Year's Eve, and this year it is Yao's duty to awaken the great sky dragon, Shen Long, from his year long sleep. Together, it is up to Yao and Shen Long to battle away the bad luck of the previous year and usher in the golden light of good luck for the new year.
How to Catch a Dragon by Adam Wallace & Andy Elkerton
It's Chinese New Year, and the kids are eager to catch a dragon! Join this gang of kids as they chase the dragon through paper lanterns, red lucky money envelopes, fireworks and more Chinese New Year celebrations! A fun STEM read for encouraging littles to design their own dragon traps and strategies. Mandarin translations are included at the back to encourage a bilingual read aloud. Scroll down to check out mai Bookish Craft inspired by the story to brainstorm your own Dragon Trap!
12 Days of Lunar New Year by Jenna Lettice & Colleen Madden
Sing-along to the tune of the classic 12 Days of Christmas song in this Lunar New Year edition. Sing and count 12 different ways to celebrate tradition, culture, and family this Lunar New Year! Includes a sheet of stickers and the most warm and joyful illustrations!
Mindy Kim and the Lunar New Year Parade by Lyla Lee & Dung Ho
Learn more about Korean Lunar New Year with Mindy Kim. Even though this year is the first Lunar New Year without her mom, Mindy is determined to enjoy the holiday by making the traditional Korean New Year food: rice cake soup! However, no matter how hard she tries, Lunar New Year just doesn't feel the same... With the help of her family and friends, can Mindy find a way to create new holiday traditions while still cherishing her old ones along the way?
Prepare for some Lunar New Year festivity with these bookish crafts to extend the learning and play beyond the book. This Lunar New Year, I’m celebrating with some Lucky Money Envelopes and Eastern Dragon Fun! Click on the Lunar New Year bookish crafts below for instructions:
Interactive Read Alouds
Plus, read along with MaiStoryBook YouTube for interactive, shared-reading read aloud adventures where I ask questions throughout the story, point out main themes and ideas, and introduce vocabulary to keep little learners engaged and participating throughout the story. Check out two of mai Lunar New Year Favorites Below:
Plus, check out MaiStoryBook's Asian / Pacific Islander Interactive Read Aloud Playlist Here
I hope you found some reading recommendations to add to your own shelves and share with your littles this Lunar New Year. Please share any other Lunar New Year Titles to add to this themed collection.
*~Also, I’d love to see and hear about your own reading adventures you are having with your little learners, so please share your story times below in the comments ~ Or Tag me on Instagram @MaiStoryBookLibrary , FaceBook , find me on TikTok, or contact me via email . I’d love to hear from you!~*