Book Recommendations (February 2022)

It's been two months since I last shared any book recommendations, and I wanted to make sure I didn't miss this opportunity to share about some lovely books related to Chinese / Lunar New Year! Start this new year fresh and renewed and add some books to your reading list, if you haven't read these yet, and want to learn more about this very important festival. Each one is unique and shares about different aspects of the festival, history and culture, and even teaches some great lessons along the way.⁠

 


 

Celebrating Chinese New Year by Eugenia Chu

Age range: 6 to 9

Description:

⁠Celebrate Chinese New Year with this festive introduction.

Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is one of the most celebrated holidays around the world. This engaging book for kids explains the history, folklore, traditions, and customs of Chinese New Year and includes interactive activities that encourage kids to celebrate at home or in their communities.

Get little ones excited to learn about this beloved holiday with this standout among Chinese New Year books for kids.




My thoughts:

This is the go-to guide to learn all about Chinese New Year! I am Chinese and I still learned something new reading this book! It was interesting to know how different countries and cities celebrate this festival as well. It is packed full of information and fun facts about the history, folklore, customs and traditions. I love the instructions at the end for different activities like how to make a paper lantern, and a dumpling recipe as well! I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn more about this special festival. This book is part of the Holiday Books for Kids series. It's definitely worth checking out the other ones as well.


How to Catch a Dragon by Adam Wallace, Illustrated by Andy Elkerton

Age range: 4 to 10

Description:

The How to Catch kids are off again, this time trying to catch a dragon as they chase him through Chinese New Year celebrations! Set in China during the Spring Festival, otherwise known as Chinese New Year, the wily dragon will have to avoid trap after trap as the kids run through paper lanterns, red lunar envelopes, fireworks, and more!

Dragons are a clever bunch,

They're difficult to catch.

You'll have to set the ultimate trap-

But have you met your match?


My thoughts:

This is the first book I've read in this How to Catch series and thought it was a lot of fun. A young boy and his friends try to catch a dragon for his mom, to bring health and fortune. They try to catch him by chasing him through various Chinese New Year celebrations . The rhyming story is easy to read and flows well. Different aspects of the Chinese culture and traditions are incorporated in the text and illustrations. I liked that various English words are highlighted with the Chinese translation hidden in the illustration on each page. It also includes a full Mandarin Chinese translation of the story at the end with Pinyin so readers can learn how to read the story in Chinese too.⁠ The illustrations are very colorful and vibrant and I like that the children are from all diverse backgrounds as well, with different skin and hair color. Even though they were not able to catch the dragon, his mom still loved him and gave him a big hug for trying and they enjoyed watching the fireworks together as a family, which is what Chinese New Year is all about.

Chinese New Year Wishes by Jillian Lin, Illustrated by Shi Meng

Age range: 2 to 6

Description:

It is Hong's favorite time of the year.

His whole family celebrates.

It is Chinese New Year.

In this beautifully illustrated book, children aged 2 to 6 will follow Hong as he and his family prepare for and celebrate the Chinese New Year Festival. They will also enjoy reading the story behind the most important celebration in Chinese culture. Written in English and Chinese (simplified Chinese characters and Hanyu Pinyin romanization), Chinese New Year Wishes is perfect as an early reader or to read aloud.


My thoughts:

In this book, the author not only included a fictional story about a boy named Hong celebrating Chinese New Year with his family, but also a story about the Nian Monster and the folklore behind the festival. There is even a section with 'Did you know?' facts and questions to start discussions. The book also includes Chinese translation with Pinyin on every page.⁠ It has a mixture of illustrations and real life photographs to show how people celebrate the festival.

The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine, Illustrated by Sebastia Serra

Age range: 6 to 8

Description:

When a boy goes to the market to buy food and comes home with an old wok instead, his parents wonder what they'll eat for dinner. But then the wok rolls out of the poor family's house with a skippity-hoppity-ho! and returns from the rich man's home with a feast in tow! With spirited text and lively illustrations, this story reminds readers about the importance of generosity.


My thoughts:

This is a very fun story about a poor boy who goes to the market to buy food but comes home with an old wok instead. It reminds me of Jack and the Beanstalk. The wok turns out to be quite special and goes to the rich family to collect all the food and treasures they put in it, then returns to the poor family. The rich family never shares or give to the poor so they are punished for their selfishness. The poor family was finally able to celebrate the new year with all their friends and family.⁠ I like that the book teaches a lesson about giving generously and being kind to the less fortunate people through an entertaining story that happens during the Chinese New Year.

The Great Race by Ling & Eric Lee, Illustrated by Rachel Foo

Age range: not specified

Description:

The Jade Emperor has invited all the animals of the kingdom for 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. Children, parents, and teachers will enjoy the beautiful, immersive illustrations and dynamic story.


My thoughts:

This simple retelling of the story is a great introduction into the legend behind the Chinese Zodiac. It's a great book for children who are learning Chinese as well, as it provides Pinyin together with the characters and English translation at the bottom. The illustrations are so bright and colourful that will surely keep readers engaged. It's definitely perfect for animal lovers. I like that the story also tells some of the behaviors and characteristics of each of the animals, and also the reason why cats and rats are not friends and don't get along to this day! If you don't know, then you must read this story! There is a traditional Chinese as well as simplified Chinese versions available.

 

Well, that wraps up this month's book recommendations! I hope you enjoyed reading about these awesome books and find something you like to check out. Have you read any of these books? If not, which one would you like to check out? Do you celebrate Lunar New Year? Leave a comment below!

 

* Disclaimer: This post contains Affiliate links.


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