Must-Read Lunar New Year Picture Books

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Must-Read Lunar New Year Picture Books

Learning about different cultures through literature is a fantastic way to experience and learn about other traditions. It’s a way to unite, see our similarities, and learn from one another. Since Lunar New Year is approaching, I thought sharing some of our favorite must-read lunar new year picture books would be fun. Before we begin, please take a moment to pin this post to your reading board.

*Disclaimer, this post does contain affiliate links which means if you make a purchase, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you, thank you for your support.

Happy Chinese New Year: A Festive Counting Story

Written and Illustrated by Jannie Ho

Ages 0 to 3

The zodiac animals are ready to celebrate Chinese New Year with traditions and a big feast! Little ones can count to twelve as each animal prepares for the holiday: 

Rat cleaned away the bad luck in one big sweep!
Ox shopped for two new outfits.
Tiger brought three kinds of flowers.

This book’s simple text and vibrant illustrations make it easy for little ones to follow along as the animals’ preparations lead to a tasty feast followed by a party with music and dancing! 

The pages also feature the Chinese characters corresponding to each number highlighted on the page. Children will learn to recognize the characters as they read the book repeatedly, and the pronunciation guide will help them say the words out loud.

Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book

Written By Joan Holub and Illustrated by Benrei Huang

Ages 2 to 5

It’s Lunar 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 Lunar New Year’s parade!  

The 12 Days of Lunar New Year 

Written By Jenna Lettice and Illustrated by Colleen Madden

Ages 3 to 7

This cheery addition to the 12 Days series celebrates tradition, culture, and family in the lead-up to Lunar New Year! Young readers and their caregivers will enjoy counting how they can engage with their communities and honor their ancestors. This simple rhyming story is paired with warm illustrations and a full page of stickers, making these books the perfect gift for kids.

Bringing in the New Year

Written and Illustrated by Grace Lin

Ages 2 to 7

This exuberant story follows a Chinese American family preparing for the Lunar New Year. Each family member lends a hand as they sweep out the dust of the old year, hang decorations, and make dumplings. Then it’s time to wear new clothes and celebrate with family and friends. There will be fireworks, lion dancers, shining lanterns, and a grand, long dragon parade to help bring in the Lunar New Year. Grace Lin’s artwork is a bright and gloriously patterned celebration in itself!

Ruby’s Chinese New Year

Written by Vickie Lee and Illustrated by Joey Chou

Ages 4 to 8

Ruby has a special card for the Chinese New Year to give her grandmother. But who will help her get to her grandmother’s house to deliver it? Will it be a clever Rat, strong Ox, or cautious Rabbit? Ruby meets each of the twelve zodiac animals on her journey.

The Great Race: Story of the Chinese Zodiac

Written by Ling and Eric Lee and Illustrated by Rachel Foo

Ages 3 to 7

The Jade Emperor has invited all the kingdom’s animals to The Great Race. Which 12 animals will cross the river first and become a part of the Chinese Zodiac? Teach young readers Chinese through this retelling of a classic Chinese legend passed through the generations. 

Chinese New Year Colors

Written and Illustrated by Rich lo

Ages 3 to 7

Hóng is the color of explosive firecrackers! Jīn is the hue of lucky coins. Zŏng is the shade of sweet peanut puffs. Welcome to the festivities of the Chinese New Year, where symbolic gifts, foods, and objects come together in a celebration of beautiful colors.

Dim Sum for Everyone!

Written and Illustrated by Grace Lin

Ages 3 to 7

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 so that everyone gets a bite of everything.

The Night Before Lunar New Year

Written by Natasha Wing and Lingfeng Ho and Illustrated by Amy Wummer

Ages 4 to 6

It’s the night before Lunar New Year, and a little girl is excited about all the upcoming celebrations. She’s prepared dumplings with her mom, bought a new dress in Chinatown, and even helped scare mythical beast Nian away with her cousins and brother. There’s only one problem: she’s a bit nervous about the loud noises at the upcoming Lunar New Year Parade. Will she overcome her fears?

Playing with Lanterns

Written by Wang Yage and Helen Wang and Illustrated by Zhu Chengliang

Ages 3 to 7

Zhao Di and her friends are excited to go out at night with their paper lanterns and celebrate Chinese New Year. Each holding a unique colorful lantern with a lit candle inside, they admire the breathtaking colors while doing their best to avoid the wind and the sneaky boys in the village. Every night, until the fifteenth day of the New Year, Zhao Di and her friends participate in this fun tradition, experiencing the thrill of nighttime in their village. And then―it’s time to smash the lanterns!

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

Written by Natasha Yim and Illustrated by Grace Zong

Ages 2 to 7

It’s Chinese New Year, and Goldy Luck’s mother wants her to take a plate of turnip cakes to the neighbors. The Chans aren’t home, but that doesn’t stop Goldy from trying out their rice porridge, their chairs, and their beds—with disastrous results.

In this funny and festive retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Natasha Yim and Grace Zong introduce a plucky heroine who takes responsibility for her actions and makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!) just in time for Chinese New Year.

Ten Little Dumplings

Written by Larissa Fan and Illustrated by Cindy Wume

Ages 4 to 8

In the city of Fengfu, there lives an extraordinary family — special because they have ten sons who do everything together. Their parents call them their ten little dumplings, as both sons and dumplings are auspicious. But if you look closely, you’ll see that someone else is there, listening, studying, learning, and discovering her talent — a sister. As this little girl grows up in the shadow of her brothers, her determination and persistence help her to create her path in the world . . . and becomes the wisdom she passes on to her daughter, her little dumpling.

Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China

Written by Ai-Ling Louie and Illustrated by Ed Young

Ages 4 to 8

Half-starved and overworked by her stepmother, Yeh-Shen’s only friend is a fish with golden eyes. When the stepmother kills the fish for dinner, poor Yeh-Shen is left with only the bones. But the bones are filled with a powerful spirit. When Ye-Shen is forbidden to attend the annual spring Festival, the spirit grants her a gown of azure blue and delicate golden slippers. Everyone marvels at the beautiful, mysterious young woman at the ball that night.

Alex’s Good Fortune

Written and Illustrated by Benson Shum

Ages 4 to 8

Chinese New Year is the most important holiday for Alex and her family, so it’s even more special when she shares her favorite traditions with her best friend, Ethan. Together, they join the Chinese New Year parade and get to help make the dragon dance. Then they prepare for the festivities by tidying up, decorating, and making dumplings. After that, it’s time to open red envelopes, eat a great big feast, and enjoy the lantern festival!

Our Moon Festival

Written By Yobe Qiu and Illustrated by Christina Nel Lopez

Ages 4 to 8

The story highlights different families and their diverse traditions as they observe Zhong Qiu Jie, Tết Trung Thu, and Tsukimi! In all three stories, children will learn about foods, traditions, dances, parades, and poetry involved in the celebration of the Moon Festival. Just like “Our Lunar New Year” by the same author, children will be so captivated by the celebrations that they will feel part of the holiday too!

New Year

Written By Mei ZiHan and Illustrated by Qin Leng

Ages 4 to 8

Lunar New Year is when families come together for a beautiful feast, and a father longs to be with his daughter—but she lives in another country. As he imagines how his daughter is spending the festivities, he recalls fond memories of time spent with her, feeling a sense of loss and dislocation. While he misses her deeply, he also recognizes her need to move away, grow up, and become herself. New Year is a stunning portrait of leaving home, finding independence, and loving those who are many miles away. 

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