Today is Lunar New Year, and I want to celebrate with books, of course!
I have put together a list of five picture books that are perfect to read to your little ones today. I tried to specifically focus on multicultural titles, because though this holiday is often portrayed as a Chinese holiday, it is actually celebrated among many Asian cultures in many different countries across the globe.
I will say, finding Lunar New Year titles that weren’t specifically dedicated to Chinese culture was not the easiest task, and I know this list is still lacking true representation of every culture celebrating this holiday. I do hope we continue to see more diverse titles in children’s publishing, so every child can see themselves and their holidays represented in their books.
That being said, lets take a look at five picture books to celebrate Lunar New Year.
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In this beautifully illustrated book, we follow a young girl whose father works far away and only comes home to visit once a year at New Year’s. In his few days with his family, Papa gets a haircut, makes repairs to the house, and makes memories with his daughter. This book is both a heartwarming look into the lives of migrant workers and a great introduction to Chinese New Year’s traditions.
This Next New Year by Janet S. Wong, Illustrated by Yangsook Choi (Amazon)
This Next New Year introduces us to a young Chinese Korean boy, who relates the different ways he, his family, and his friends all celebrate Lunar New Year. I love that this book specifically mentions children from different racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrating Lunar New Year, while still keeping the focus on our main character’s family.
Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan has so much representation! Set in Hawaii, this book follows the celebrations of a family of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian, and white relatives on Lunar New Year. Narrated by a seven-year-old girl who gets make dumplings for the first time this year, this book captures the joy of childhood.
Ten Mice For Tet by Pegi Deitz Shea and Cynthia Weill, Illustrated by To Ngoc Trang (Amazon)
As most of you may know, I generally don’t like a book with only animal characters, but I had to include Ten Mice For Tet, because it is definitely an exception to that rule. One of the only titles I could find dedicated to the Vietnamese celebration of Tet, this is a counting picture book. The illustrations are so fun, portraying mice taking part in all the holiday traditions from gift giving to firework displays.
Our Lunar New Year is a great pick to introduce young readers to the diversity of Lunar New Year. This book follows five different children from five different countries and highlights the traditions and celebrations unique to each culture. Covering China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and India, this book gives young readers an idea of the many way Lunar New Year is celebrated around the world.
I hope you all enjoyed this list, and found some new titles to introduce your young reader’s to Lunar New Year.
If you are celebrating Lunar New Year this year, what are your favorite books to read? Be sure to share them in the comments below!