10 Books About China & Chinese New Year

10 books about China and Chinese New YearChinese New Year is on February 10th so pop over to your local library and check out these great books that will teach and entertain. You may not be able to travel to China to explore it’s culture and country but you can read about it together in your own home. Here are some of our favorite books about China and Chinese New Year for kids.

ms-frizzles-adventures-imperial-chinaMs. Frizzle’s Adventures: Imperial China by Joanna Cole Takes readers from present day Chinese New Year celebrations to the rice fields and palaces of Imperial China. In this installment Ms.Frizzle explores China, explains the concept of taxes really quite well and covers many of the inventions that came from the country. My 4.5 year old wasn’t as into this book as the other two in the series but I think that’s because I read two of  them to him back to back with this one at the end, which was obviously too much for his attention. I however loved this one and was fascinated by the little asides filled with information about Chinese inventions.

DIsForDancingDragon

D is for Dancing Dragon: A China Alphabet by Carol Crane is a in valuable book when teaching about China and Chinese New Year, it is more than a simple alphabet book, going into detail about lanterns, chopsticks, panda bears and so much more. What I love about these books is that younger children can be shown the pictures and given a easy to digest synopsis of the text, while older children can read the whole book. The illustrations by Zong-Zhou Wang will make the most reluctant traveler want to get on a plane to china, they are simply spectacular!

books about asia for toddlers

The Empty Pot by Demi . A fable about a young Chinese boy, a contest to become the next emperor, and the importance of honesty. Lovely pictures are definitely part of the appeal of this book. ( Review by Katy)

 My First Chinese New Year

My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz is a simple introduction to Chinese New Year for young children. It’s a board book so if you have let’s say a 4 year old who , let’s say has decided he thinks board books are only for babies, you may want to have him be a reading helper for this one.I had to cajole my son  into helping me read this book to his sister but once I started he was into it and enjoying the simplistic way the author illustrator explains the Chinese customs. Even adults may learn something new. Did you know that cutting hair for a fresh start for the new year is a tradition? I never did!  The illustrations are bright and cheery and for those of you who aren’t fans of the baby lift the flap books from this author you may want to give the author another chance because her holiday books are really great.

Bringing in the new year

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin is a wonderful book to explain Chinese New Year and some of the customs that comes along with it to your preschooler. The illustrations are bright and help explain the festivities and preparations that go into the celebration.  The book culminates with a fold out page with a huge dragon bringing in the new year. There is also a great explanation of the holiday for parents at the back of the book.

books about asia for kids and toddlersTikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel A classic story that I remember enjoying as a child. It tells the story of why Chinese parents give their children short names. This book is wordier than a lot of the ones I try with my son, but it has become one of his absolute favorites. When given a choice, he ALWAYS chooses to read this one. ( review by Katy)

yum yum dim sum

Yum Yum Dim Sum by Amy Wilson Sanger is a book that makes me crave dumplings something fierce but my daughter seems to like the rhymes and pink and red colors throughout. The book explains in a zippy text all about Dim Sum . It’s a board book targeted to babies it’s really useful to use to teach children about foods they may be unfamiliar with. There is even a little appendix with Chinese words for all the items mentioned in the book like tea, rice and tarts.

dragon dancing

Dragon Dancing by Carole Lexa Schaefer is a story with a great imagination. A preschool teacher is reading her class a story about a dragon and when the class goes to art they create a birthday dragon and let their imaginations soar! The illustrations gradually change from the children parading as a dragon to a dragon in the wilderness of China, and back again when the teacher calls them in from the playground. My son loved it but was quite concerned that the dragon ate the children, once I reassured him that the were imagining we were set!Legend of the dragon

Legend of the Chinese Dragon (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition) by Marie Sellier , Catherine Louis and Wang Fei is a great book about the legend of how the children of China wanted to put an end to tribal fighting and created a dragon from all the tribes different animals. I like this book , I like how the  text in English and Chinese characters , the traditional calligraphy and beautiful illustrations. My son loved the illustrations and the story kept his attention as well.

next new year janet wong

This Next New Year by Janet Wong is a great new to me book about Chinese New Year. I read it with my kids after dinner and they booth really enjoyed it. My daughter liked the illustrations and the text itself was short enough to keep my 2 year old interested too. What this book did a great job of doing was explaining a few of the differences between Chinese New Year and New Year of January 1st and lots of the traditions . My son related well to the main character, a little boy about his age, and had a ton of questions after the book that the author actually addressed in a authors note at the end. Great book for PreK and up.

This post contains affiliate links.

Snake Craft – Chinese New Year

chinese new year craft for kids year of the snakeThis year is the year of the snake and Chinese new year is always a great vehicle to learn about a different culture. Lately my daughter and I have been playing pretend play airplane always landing in China to explore the great wall ( my idea)  and local candy shops ( her idea) . This week we will make some Chinese food together , look at maps and read the books below. At the age of 2  the idea of New Year is still pretty tough especially when we already celebrated on January 1st. So instead I have explained it to her as a party  and the snake is the special symbol for it and used the theme to explore China with her.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sturdy paper. I adore the canvas paper from craftprojectideas.com who graciously sent me this when I couldn’t find any locally. You will also need some paint, a paint brush ( we used a dish scrubber) , double stick tape ( if you need to tape the snake together) a googly eye, pipe cleaner, paint, glue and collage materials.chinese new year craft for kids
  2. Start by drawing a snake and cutting it out.chinese new year craft for kids snake 2 OK now I admit my snake looks like a worm at best but my daughter couldn’t care less so I stuck with it. I cut mine out in two pieces and taped them together. I used tape so we could get to the project right away but glue would be fine too.Chinese new year craft for kids 3
  3. Next step . Time to choose your paint colors.chinese new year craft choosing colors
  4. Next it’s time to start painting. First with the scrubber…. chinese new year craft for toddlersthen with your hands . My table was dirty so I didn’t bother covering it since I needed to give it a good scrub anyway. Have a damp cloth handy if like us you have to pass by carpet on the way to the sink.chinese new year year of the snake craft for kids
  5. Let the snake dry. We were short on time ( almost nap time) and usually I’d let it dry during nap and finish we had a doctor’s appointment after nap so instead I dried it carefully with a cool hair dryer while my daughter washed her hands and played in the sink. It worked so well.
  6. Time to glue!cheinese new year craft snake craft
  7. Add the collage materials.chinese new year sequins I love sequins and buttons because my daughter is so patient picking them up and putting them on to projects. She also loves peeling them off after the glue is dry so if you saw this snake now days later you’d see a sad no eye no sequin snake.  Interestingly my first thought was ” Well I can re-use those and it was great fine motor as she peeled them off too.”chinese new year adding buttons
  8. Add the eye.chinese new year add eye
  9. Poke a hole in the mouth area and thread a pipe cleaner through . Bend a Y in the end to make it look like a forked tongue.chinese new year snake craft for toddlers and kids
  10. Let it all dry .year of the snake craft for kids

Books about Chinese New Year

My First Chinese New Year

My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz is a simple introduction to Chinese New Year for young children. It’s a board book so if you have let’s say a 4 year old who , let’s say has decided he thinks board books are only for babies, you may want to have him be a reading helper for this one.I had to cajole my son into helping me read this book to his sister but once I started he was into it and enjoying the simplistic way the author illustrator explains the Chinese customs. Even adults may learn something new. Did you know that cutting hair for a fresh start for the new year is a tradition? I never did! The illustrations are bright and cheery and for those of you who aren’t fans of the baby lift the flap books from this author you may want to give the author another chance because her holiday books are really great.

Bringing in the new year

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin is a wonderful book to explain Chinese New Year and some of the customs that comes along with it to your preschooler. The illustrations are bright and help explain the festivities and preparations that go into the celebration. The book culminates with a fold out page with a huge dragon briging in the new year. There is also a great explanation of the holiday for parents at the back of the book.

next new year janet wong

This Next New Year by Janet Wong is a great new to me book about Chinese New Year. I read it with my kids after dinner and they booth really enjoyed it. My daughter liked the illustrations and the text itself was short enough to keep my 2 year old interested too. What this book did a great job of doing was explaining a few of the differences between Chinese New Year and New Year of January 1st and lots of the traditions . My son related well to the main character, a little boy about his age, and had a ton of questions after the book that the author actually addressed in a authors note at the end. Great book for PreK and up.

 This post contains affiliate links.

Paint & Paste Chinese Dragon Craft

Chinese New Year is almost here and today we made a Chinese dragon to celebrate the year of the dragon. When I suggested we make a dragon today my son said ” Okay but it has to be huge!” My request was that it was a project that we could all do together. I also wanted a longer project since we are stuck at home in the snow and needed a long project to break up the at home day.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some craft ( butcher block) paper, red, yellow and green construction paper , green paint, a rolling pin, cutting board,  potato masher ( optional), scissors, glue, bubble wrap and a googly eye. Oh and painters tape to hold it down while you create.
  2. Start by taping the paper down and draw a dragon. I free handed the dragon and while perfect it’s not , I am trying to model effort not perfection for my kids and we are focusing on making something fun, not something perfect.
  3. Using the construction paper make triangles for spikes on the dragon’s back and head, long strips of red and orange for fire . If your child is cutting make some long strips with guided lines or blank strips thin enough for them to hold and cut easily. My daughter isn’t cutting yet but she still enjoyed ripping so I made sure some of our construction paper was in strips the right size for her to rip and even made little rip to get her started. Set these aside for later.
  4. Wrap bubble wrap around your rolling pin and grab a potato masher – both will give a reptilian like print when your child uses them to paint.
  5. Spread the paint on a cutting board .
  6. Roll and paint.
  7. They were both into it. I moved my daughter’s booster around to different parts of the dragon and my son moved around the table painting and printing.
  8. She loved the rolling pin.
  9. Let dry – I popped this up in my bathroom to dry while we played , went out in the snow and had lunch.
  10. Rip
  11. Cut 
  12. Add glue
  13. Add the spikes!
  14. He had fun with the fire .
  15. Let dry and cut out.
  16. Hang up and celebrate the year of the dragon!

Books About Chinese New Year

D is for Dancing Dragon: A China Alphabet by Carol Crane is a in valuable book when teaching about China and Chinese New Year, it is more than a simple alphabet book, going into detail about lanterns, chopsticks, panda bears and so much more. What I love about these books is that younger children can be shown the pictures and given a easy to digest synopsis of the text, while older children can read the whole book. The illustrations by Zong-Zhou Wang will make the most reluctant traveler want to get on a plane to china, they are simply spectacular!


My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz is a simple introduction to Chinese New Year for young children. It’s a board book so if you have let’s say a 4 year old who , let’s say has decided he thinks board books are only for babies, you may want to have him be a reading helper for this one.I had to cajole my son into helping me read this book to his sister but once I started he was into it and enjoying the simplistic way the author illustrator explains the Chinese customs. Even adults may learn something new. Did you know that cutting hair for a fresh start for the new year is a tradition? I never did! The illustrations are bright and cheery and for those of you who aren’t fans of the baby lift the flap books from this author you may want to give the author another chance because her holiday books are really great.

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin is a wonderful book to explain Chinese New Year and some of the customs that comes along with it to your preschooler. The illustrations are bright and help explain the festivities and preparations that go into the celebration. The book culminates with a fold out page with a huge dragon briging in the new year. There is also a great explanation of the holiday for parents at the back of the book.

Chinese New Year Crafts and Books

Ring in Chinese New Year with these fun kids crafts and my two favorite books about Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the rabbit so grab your cotton balls for some fun rabbit crafts. After being away all week I planned to have a Groundhog Day craft and book post ready but my head is still on Tennessee time and so is my baby, which  changed my plan. So if you have a ground hog day craft and want to be featured in tomorrow’s post ( I have books), please email me a link and I will be happy to add it.

Rabbit Ears

Paper Lantern

Cotton Ball Rabbit

Panda Bear Snack

Chinese New Year Picture Books


My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz is a simple introduction to Chinese New Year for young children. It’s a board book so if you have let’s say a 4 year old who , let’s say has decided he thinks board books are only for babies, you may want to have him be a reading helper for this one.I had to cajole my son  into helping me read this book to his sister but once I started he was into it and enjoying the simplistic way the author illustrator explains the Chinese customs. Even adults may learn something new. Did you know that cutting hair for a fresh start for the new year is a tradition? I never did!  The illustrations are bright and cheery and for those of you who aren’t fans of the baby lift the flap books from this author you may want to give the author another chance because her holiday books are really great.

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin is a wonderful book to explain Chinese New Year and some of the customs that comes along with it to your preschooler. The illustrations are bright and help explain the festivities and preparations that go into the celebration. The book culminates with a fold out page with a huge dragon briging in the new year. There is also a great explanation of the holiday for parents at the back of the book.