Filled with food, games, and traditions symbolizing prosperity, the Lunar New Year is an exciting celebration in East and Southeast Asian cultures. The books featured here capture the joyful festivities of the holiday as well as entertaining stories about the 12 zodiac animals.
*This post contains affiliate links. To read my full disclosure CLICK HERE.
The Lucky Red Envelope by Vikki Zhang, 2023
Little fingers will delight in lifting the flaps of this beautifully detailed story about big sister Yue introducing the Lunar New Year traditions to her baby brother Ru. Filled with eye-catching illustrations featuring a wide variety of customs centered around food, clothing, and activities, this book is a must-have for teaching children about the Lunar New Year.
A Sweet New Year for Ren by Michelle Sterling; illustrated by Dung Ho, 2022
(Ages 4 and up)
“Our stomachs are full and happy, like our hearts.” Once again, Michelle Sterling has captured the utter delight that is found in family and food. It’s the Lunar New Year and Ren is determined to show her family that she is finally big enough to help with the meal preparation. As she bakes the pineapple cakes with her brother, her heart fills with the happiness of tradition and being with loved ones. My kids were especially excited that there is a recipe included for pineapple cakes that they are now eager to make!
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim; illustrated by Grace Zong, 2014
(Ages 4 and up)
In this clever twist on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Goldy is sent to the Chan family to deliver a plate of turnip cakes to celebrate the Lunar New Year. When the family of pandas is not home, Goldy eats their food, sits in their chairs, and falls asleep in their bed. Where the story excels is in Goldy’s response after she is caught. Upon returning home, she feels guilty for her rude actions and returns to the Chans the next day to make amends. An author’s note describing Chinese New Year traditions and a recipe for turnip cakes also enhances this fabulous fractured fairy tale.
Boys Don’t Fry by Kimberly Lee, illustrated by Charlene Chua, 2023
(Ages 4 and up)
A young boy breaks stereotypical barriers by cooking with his grandmother in this heartwarming Lunar New Year story. All the joys of cooking with a loved one and preparing a special meal for family members is captured in this heartwarming tale. There is even a recipe for for little chefs to try themselves in the back of the book.
Twelve in a Race by Catherine Little, illustrated by Sae Kimura, 2022
Rhyming text shares the legend of the animals participating in the Emperor’s Great Race to earn a spot on the Chinese zodiac.
The Tray of Togetherness by Flo Leung , 2022
Learn about the delicious tradition of sharing treats that represent wishes in the new year in this festive story.
Friends Are Friends, Forever by Dane Liu, illustrated by Lynn Scurfield, 2022
This is touching tale of immigration and carrying on strong friendships from the past while also making new friends. While preparing to celebrate her first Luna New Year in America, Dandan finds a way of honoring her best friend from China while introducing her new friend to her customs and traditions.
Two New Years by Richard Ho, illustrated by Lynn Scurfield, 2023
This is an exceptional story that delves into the lives of a bicultural family who seamlessly blend Chinese and Jewish cultures as they joyfully observe both Rosh Hashanah and the Lunar New Year.
This book is a visual treat, adorned with stunning illustrations that expertly complement the thoughtful narrative. Through skillful storytelling, it adeptly draws parallels between the rich traditions and values inherent in both cultures, illustrating that, despite their differences, they share striking similarities. Beyond its brilliant storytelling and breathtaking imagery, this book serves a vital role as a conversation starter. It encourages readers of all ages to explore the commonalities and connections that bind us together, promoting understanding, empathy, and unity in our diverse world.
Grumpy New Year by Katrina Moore; illustrated by Xindi Yan, 2022
Daisy can’t wait to spend the Lunar New Year with her grandparents in China. Filled with excitement, Daisy stays awake the entire plane ride and first few nights in China causing her to grow grumpy and tired each day. Anyone who has had to travel to a different time zone will relate to this amusing tale!
Year of the Cat by Richard Ho, illustrated by Jocelyn Li Langrand, 2022
After pushing Cat in the river during the Great Race, Rat enlists the other animals in the Chinese Zodiac to help him apologize.
The Truth About Dragons by Julie Leung, illustrated by Hanna Cha, 2023
(Ages 4 and up)
This award-winning story follows a young boy who explores his multicultural heritage by learning about Western and Eastern dragons from his grandmothers. The enchanting illustrations are absolutely stunning and the empowering message that we are richer for our multifaceted cultures is truly beautiful.
You can find more of our favorite LUNAR NEW YEAR stories HERE.