20 Chinese New Year Books for Kids in Chinese and English!

Chinese Lunar New Year books for Kids in Chinese and English

I’m excited to share a list of wonderful Chinese Lunar New Year books with you! This year, Lunar New Year will fall on Friday, February 12, 2021. To prepare for the most important Chinese holiday, we are reading Chinese New Year books, listening to audiobooks in Mandarin Chinese, and enjoying hands-on Chinese New Year activities!

Chinese Lunar New Year Books for Kids

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Lunar New Year versus Chinese New Year – what’s the difference?

Since the holiday is based on the lunisolar calendar and celebrated in many Asian countries, Lunar New Year is the more inclusive term.

Although I’ll use the term Chinese New Year frequently throughout my posts, these are for resources specific to Chinese traditions that I’m learning about with my children.

However, with respect to their Korean heritage and other Asian countries that celebrate the holiday, I want to emphasize that Chinese New Year traditions differ from those in other cultures. Please refer to 10 Great Korean Lunar New Year Books for Kids for more Korean resources.

Lunar New Year books on 36″ white floating shelves (similar here)
Lunar New Year books on 36″ white floating shelves (similar here; also Command ledge with no nails); soft grey play mat

Where to find Chinese New Year books for kids

As always, I have included ISBN and links to popular online Chinese bookstores!

My hope is that you can find these books in your local library. If your library doesn’t have books in other languages, I hope that this list will give you some ideas of books to add to your home book collection. Please also check your local bookstore options for the best available price.

Although it’s helpful to read books by different authors for different perspectives, you don’t have to get every book on the list! 🙂

Chinese New Year audiobooks

Many of these books have free Mandarin narration on Ximalaya FM. Some are also compatible with Luka Chinese Reading Robot which I’ll highlight below. For older kids and parents learning Chinese, you can use the Youdao Dictionary Reading Pen.

Lunar New Year books for kids in Chinese and English!

These Chinese New Year books are organized as follows:

  1. Chinese New Year books in Chinese (no Pinyin)
  2. Chinese New Year books in Chinese with Pinyin
  3. Chinese New Year books in English
  4. Activity books in Chinese and English

Chinese New Year books in Chinese (no Pinyin)

A New Year’s Reunion (top) and 团圆 (bottom)

1. 团圆 A New Year’s Reunion

团圆 (Tuányuán) is one of my children’s favorite Chinese New Year books! The touching story is about a little girl with a father who works far from home.  When the father returns home on the New Year, he makes 汤圆 with his child. Before the father returns to work, he puts coins in the 汤圆 for good luck so his son can treasure their memories. (Please see the next book for a similar story.)

2. 回家 Home for Chinese New Year

The 回家 (Huí jiā) story is very similar to 团圆, but the narrative about the father’s journey is longer and the child is a boy. My daughter actually likes this lesser known version the best, and the narration on Ximalaya is captivating. Another benefit is the bilingual simplified Chinese/English text, so my husband can also read the book to our kids.

If you’re only able to get 1 of these stories, I would suggest choosing whether you want a bilingual version (this book), the version that Luka can read (团圆 above), or a traditional Chinese version (also 团圆 above).

  • Where to buy:
    • Simplified Chinese and English / ISBN: 9781602209992
  • Audio narration:

3. 十二生肖的故事 Story of the Zodiac with CD

Taiwanese author 賴馬 ((Lài mǎ) has so many engaging books, and his rendition of 十二生肖的故事 (shí’èr shēngxiào de gùshì) is fun and dynamic! The text is in traditional Chinese with Zhuyin.

賴馬系列-十二生肖的故事
賴馬系列: 十二生肖的故事

4. 打灯笼 Playing With Lanterns

打灯笼 (Dǎ dēnglóng) is a delightful book about children who have fun with Chinese lanterns during the New Year. Uncle gives the kids vibrant lanterns of different colors and shapes, and the kids light up the lanterns and playfully bump into each other. When the lanterns burn, the family knows that they will have good luck for the new year.

春节 (Spring Festival) Chinese Festivals Stories Collection of 12 books 中国记忆(传统节日共12册
春节 Spring Festival

5. 春节 Spring Festival

This beautiful book is part of the Chinese Festivals Stories Collection of 12 books 中国记忆(传统节日共12册). We love all of the books in this series because of the realistic illustrations and historical details in the context of family storytelling.

These books are compatible with Luka Reading Robot and the narration is available on Ximalaya.

Learn more: Please see detailed review of the full set of Chinese Festival Books including the Chinese New Year Book!

6. 小善的壓歲錢 Sam and the Lucky Money

In this heartwarming story, a little boy, Sam (小善) gets a red envelope with a few dollars from his grandparents. Excited to go shopping with his mother, sweets and toys catch his eye. However, he remembers an elderly homeless man on the street with no shoes or socks on that wintry day. Ultimately, he offers the man his lucky red envelope.

小善的壓歲錢 Sam and the Lucky Money
Sam’s and the Lucky Money (English version)
欢乐中国年 / 歡樂過新年 Chinese New Year Pop-up book
欢乐中国年 / 歡樂過新年 Chinese New Year Pop-up book

7. 欢乐中国年 / 歡樂過新年 Chinese New Year Pop-up book

欢乐中国年 / 歡樂過新年 Chinese New Year Pop-up book
欢乐中国年 / 歡樂過新年 Chinese New Year Pop-up book

This gorgeous pop-up book was gifted to us by My Story Treasury! It covers Chinese New Year traditions, such as cleaning the house, making food like rice cakes and tofu, the lion dance, and fireworks. There is some overlap with the 过年啦 book (reviewed below). Compared to 过年啦 3-D book, 欢乐中国年 / 歡樂過新年 Chinese New Year Pop-up book is slightly wordier and more challenging to read.

过年啦 (Guònián la / Happy New Year!) Chinese pop-up 3D book
过年啦

8. 过年啦 Celebrating Chinese New Year

过年啦 (Guò nián la) is an interactive, hands-on book where you can open red envelopes, dress a child in new clothes, celebrate the dragon dance, decorate doors and hang lanterns! Available in simplified and traditional Chinese, the book is beautifully illustrated with realistic looking people!

There is some overlap with the 欢乐中国年 / 歡樂過新年 Chinese New Year Pop-up book (reviewed above); this book has slightly simpler language, more interactive, but also more “flat” (doesn’t have the impressive pop-ups as the other book).

9. 年味儿 Lunar New Year Food

This New Year Book with realistic illustrations shows Lunar New Year food preparations in both Chinese and Korean cultures. With minimal text, the almost wordless picture book is great for encouraging patient observation and open discussion.

農曆新年的美味 Tastes of Lunar New Year Bilingual Chinese English Book
農曆新年的美味 Tastes of Lunar New Year bilingual book; felt Asian play food; toy dumplings; children’s bamboo chopsticks

10. 農曆新年的美味 Tastes of Lunar New Year

Although I swore I would not buy anymore Chinese New Year and anthropomorphic books, this new cute book caught my eye! This book features 12 signature dishes from China, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Korea! I’ll update this post with more details when we get the book.

農曆新年的美味 Tastes of Lunar New Year Bilingual Chinese English Book
農曆新年的美味 Tastes of Lunar New Year

Chinese New Year books in Chinese with Pinyin

1. 十二生肖 Chinese Zodiac

This Chinese New Year folktale is about the origin of the Chinese Zodiac. The beginner level book is part of the Chinese Library Series, written in simplified Chinese and pinyin with English translations at the back of the book. The story concludes with short exercises and a passage for extended reading.

Learn more: Read the review of Chinese Library Series – Simplified Chinese Readers with Pinyin & English for more details.

Nian Monster story for Chinese New Year

2. Nian Monster with CD

This Chinese New Year book is about the fictional Nian monster that visits at the New Year. The main character, Xinling, has to outsmart the monster to save Shanghai.

This pre-intermediate (~900words) book is part of the Chinese Library Series, written in simplified Chinese with pinyin. The story concludes with short exercises and a passage for extended reading.

Learn more: Read the review of Chinese Library Series – Simplified Chinese Readers with Pinyin & English for more details.

3. 春节 Spring Festival

春节 Chinese New Year book is part of the popular 中国传统节日绘本全套10册 Traditional Chinese Festival set of 10 books. Although this my kids are not particularly fond of these books, they are very popular and conveniently have Pinyin.

  • Where to buy:
  • Audio narration:
    • Ximalaya
    • Compatible with Luka Reading Robot

Chinese New Year books in English

Dragon Dance Book
Dragon Dance

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

This is a fun story book about Chinese traditions, such as preparing for New Year’s dinner, red envelopes, and the dragon dance parade! The illustrations are realistic and adorable, and my kids love to peek behind the flaps! I have read this book several times to my daughter’s classmates!

2. Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Chinese New Year: With Fireworks, Dragons, and Lanterns

This National Geographic book has real photographs about Chinese New Year celebrations! The text describes how families celebrate ancestors and gift red envelopes.   In addition, vibrant pictures of the Festival of Lanterns and Dragon Dance.

3. Maggie’s Chopsticks

A little girl named Maggie is struggling to use chopsticks, and her learning journey is encouraging as she overcomes her challenges and learns about Chinese New Year traditions and food.

4. Goldy Luck and the 3 Pandas

Both of my kids went through phases of obsession with this fictional story! This is a Chinese American retelling of Goldy Locks and the 3 Bears with cultural elements like luck, congee, and panda bears. In contrast to the original Goldy Locks story, this version has a happy ending in that Goldy Luck apologizes to the Panda family with turnip cakes!

5. Bringing In The New Year

This cute book by Grace Lin is geared toward toddlers and gives an overview on Chinese New Year traditions.

团圆 A New Year's Reunion book for kids

6. 团圆 A New Year’s Reunion

As mentioned previously, 团圆 (Tuányuán) is one of my family’s favorite stories originally written in Chinese; please see the above Chinese section for photos of the inside. Below is the link for the English version.

回家 Home for Chinese New Year bilingual book for kids

7. 回家 Home for Chinese New Year

Here is another favorite story originally written in Chinese; please see the above Chinese section for photos of the inside. Below is the link for the English version.

  • Where to buy: Simplified Chinese and English / ISBN 9781602209992
Sam's and the Lucky Money - Chinese New Year Book for kids

8. 小善的壓歲錢 Sam and the Lucky Money

As mentioned in the above Chinese section, this touching story is about a boy who learns to use his lucky red envelope money for a special purpose – helping a homeless man with no socks or shoes on a wintry day. Highly recommend.

  • Where to buy
    • Traditional Chinese / ISBN: 9781584300847
    • English / ISBN: 9781880000533

Chinese Lunar New Year books on our to-read list

Many of you recommended these Chinese Lunar New Year to our family! Passing your good review along here!

  • The Great Race: Story of the Chinese Zodiac
    • Simplified Chinese, English, Pinyin / ISBN: 9798575640349: Amazon
    • Traditional Chinese, English, Pinyin / ISBN 979-8581649008: Amazon
  • Ruby’s Chinese New Year (English) ISBN 9781250133380:

Not recommended: This Next New Year

We previously included This Next New Year on our list, a book written by a Korean-Chinese-American author, translated into 3 languages! However, several native Chinese and Korean speakers said that the translations are inaccurate.

In addition, the traditions are more focused on Chinese rather than Korean ones. The most troubling part is when the text explicitly says, “I call it Chinese New Year, even though I’m half-Korean.” For a book that’s supposed to represent both cultures, “Lunar New Year” should have been used. Therefore, we regretfully cannot recommend this book.

Bilingual Chinese New Year activity book

Chinese New Year Books, Audiobooks, & Workbooks for Kids!

Daily Noodles My Fun Chinese Book: Animals

This Chinese activity book for toddlers, preschool, kindergarten, and first grade children has 36 projects involving the 12 Chinese zodiac animals. The text is mostly in English with key words in simplified Chinese and pinyin. My daughter has enjoyed the variety of crafts, coloring opportunities, and games in this fun book!

Learn more: Please read this post about the Daily Noodles Chinese activity books for detailed review and where to buy!

Chinese Lunar New Year books for Kids in Chinese and English #chinesenewyear #lunarnewyear

What are your favorite Chinese New Year Books?

We’d love to know which books your kids loved the most! Please leave a comment with your review and recommendations so we can learn from you, too! 🙂

On Instagram and Facebook, tag a photo @chalkacademy and @chalkacademybooks and use the hashtag #ChalkAcademy so our family can check it out!

On Facebook, tag us at @chalkacademychinese (CHALK Academy)!

Chinese New Year crafts and activities for kids at home or school

More Chinese New Year resources for children

Happy Chinese Lunar New Year, friends!

42 Comments

  1. Hi Betty!! Love this list of Lunar New Year Books. We checked out “Home for Chinese New Year” from our library and liked it so much. I like that you included a few Korean books too, I’ll refer them to my Korean friends. =)
    And this is random but the image you have above the book link for “Maggie’s Chopsticks” is actually an image from a different book, “Dim Sum For Everyone!” by Grace Lin (we own that book so I recognized the image instantly… because my daughter loves cha siu bao so we read that book constantly.^_^)

    1. Hi Kimberly! Please check the description under each book. I list the audio narration (Ximalaya versus Luka) for each book if available.

  2. 鬥年獸 is a classic lunar Chinese new year book!! Used to hate the 鞭炮 firecrackers at all the businesses during Chinese new year but after reading the story, definitely appreciate it more hahha

  3. I love this list! For me, it’s a toss-up between Home for Chinese New Year and A New Year Reunion. I love both. My kids prefer The Nian Monster. I love the illustrations, but no legend can beat a story that encapsulates the absolute joy and love of a family reunited for New Year. 💗

  4. Hi, Betty, thank you so much for this list of books for Lunar New Year! This year my son and I made Lion Head and Chinese Firecracker. He loves it. I also bought him a set of Traditional Chinese outfit. He learns to sing and dance to a Chinese song to celebrate the Lunar New Year too. Happy Lunar New Year to your beautiful family too!

    1. Hi Viv! Happy Lunar New Year! It’s so awesome to hear about how you celebrated with your son and learned a new song! Thank you so much for taking the time to share!

  5. Bilingual book: We like the great race by Ling Lee.
    English book: We like Nian the CNY Dragon by Virginia Loh-Hagan, Pope’s Lucky Chinese New Year by Virginia Loh-Hagan.
    Chinese: We just got spring festival one you mentioned and we love it.

  6. My current favourite Lunar New Year book is called Noodle Magic. It can also be read as part of the Moon Festival. Noodles represent longevity and this book encourages us to believe in ourselves and our potential.

  7. My favorite book is 歡樂過新年 (beautiful interactive, pop-up book with its new edition in 2021). There are other good books, but this one is just so special!!!!! While it is almost impossible for us to visit an Asian region to feel an authentic Lunar New Year, this book provides interesting interactive activities for children to experience Lunar New Year on paper. Just learned that they have an English version too!

  8. Our favourite is Lucky Red Mittens by Samantha Chan. I’m still learning to read Chinese myself so the simple sentence structure and Jyutping come in handy. My son likes to read the English and it’s helping us both learn about our heritage and culture.

  9. We have have BUSY Chinese New Year the toddler on but we would also love to have a copy of this to add to our collection. I love these suggestions…. how many books is too many!?!

  10. I’ve only just started teaching my little one Chinese so we don’t have any new year books just yet so this is a great post for me to find suggestions!
    Love the stuff you’ve done too!

    1. My favorite lunar Chinese new year book would be 回家 Home for Chinese New Year cos of the heartwarming message that at the end of the day, it’s really about being together with your loved ones!!!

  11. As a pregnant mom-to-be, I’m just starting out my bilingual children’s book collection to celebrate our heritage and pass on our culture to my future happa baby. Love the suggestions you have! I recently bought Chinese New Year Colors for my nephew, and looking to really kickstart our collection. Would be so grateful to win this contest!

  12. We haven’t started learning Chinese yet but love The Great Race and the Mr Men’s Chinese New Year book. Some great recommendations here ❤️

  13. My child loves the bright and vibrant colours of the 过年啦 book, and I was so glad I got it for him. I was worried initially he would not be able to fully appreciate the interactive elements of the book (which seemed difficult, because it allowed the child to “decorate” the doors with loose paper 春联 and dress up the character with new clothes; of course as parents the first thing I wondered was how quickly we would lose these items…), but he loves it so much we are reading parts of it every day! Love the realistic depictions and beautiful illustrations. Personally I like this other book titled 好忙的除夕, which has rhyming texts (rare in Chinese books I have seen!), which also depicts the festive mood in a very realistic manner that allows the child to have the language to describe what they are actually seeing at home and on the streets!

  14. Hi Betty! I wish we had a favorite Lunar New Year books! I haven’t come across any so far, but would love to start introducing them to my son! Happy Year of the Ox!!

  15. First of all, thank you so much for publishing such an exhaustive list! Truly appreciate it. While there are sooo many titles I’d personally like to purchase from your list, the bilingual Chinese-English version of 農曆新年的美味 Tastes of Lunar New Year is my favorite. Main reason is because even though my husband and I are both of Chinese descent, he much prefers reading in English, while I still wish to instill the love for our mother tongue into our child, plus the illustrations are eye catching! Too cute to resist!

  16. Oh! And I forgot to mention, we bought the 过年啦 Celebrating Chinese New Year in traditional format with zhuyin. My daughter has so much fun with it, super interactive! Even my in laws are impressed! Whilst I can read it out loud with the help of the zhuyin, my Chinese vocabulary isn’t too deep yet so I couldn’t really fully explain what was written and just rely on the pictures to tell the story. 😅

  17. Thank you so much for this! I just found your account and amazing resources when my friend tagged me in your giveaway. I’m excited to get into all of your resources! My favourite Chinese New Year book so far is bringing in the new year!
    @dariasanchez

  18. Love all your recommendations! It’s always great ❤️👍🏻 No favorite lunar books yet, would try to check out some of your suggestions! Thank you so much! God bless you and your family!

  19. We love reading 团圆 too! My daughter loves it so much she had insisted I make some and I must put in a lucky coin in one of them!
    Thanks for sharing these books with us. 🙂

  20. I wish I could win this.
    Me and my husband are Chinese Indonesian. My family are speaking Mandarin and Hokkien at home. My children learn Mandarin as their second language at school, so I wish I could win this book to encourage my 3 children to learn more. Please let us be the winner. Thank you!! Xoxo

  21. Hi, Betty, thank you for the book recommendation. Your posts and blogs always keep me inspired and learn a lot. I am Selvy from Indonesia. I feel like I have a lot in common with you, because at first I didn’t speak Chinese at all, but decided to learn so that my daughter could learn too. hope we can win this giveaway 😆

  22. Thank you for sharing your bilingual journey! I think my favorite from the list would be Maggie’s Chopsticks! Since it’s my first born’s nickname, she’ll be thrilled to read about it! Hopefully I’ll be able to source one here in the Philippines 🙂

  23. Ni hao! Hello, Better. Thank you for the wealth of information and resources you provide parents, teachers, and parents! I would love the pop-up book. It would be a great book to teach my ESL students while learning to read. I also love your blog! Thank you!

  24. Hi Betty, thanks so much for your list of Chinese New Year books! I will check them out and show them to my son. I love looking at your ideas for teaching bilingual and thank you sharing!

  25. We would love to win the pop up book. It looks so cool and my little bookworm will definitely enjoy it. We love Gordon and Lili Chinese New Year book. My 2.5yo wants me to read him every day. The book introduces new year vocabularies and things that we need to do for new year. It is such a great book. We love “Bring in the New Year” book as well.

  26. Ni hao 😊
    Hello Betty 😊 Nice to meet you. I’m Hande. I’m an industrial engineer and a mom of 6-year-old bilingual daughter from Turkey. We love your Instagram posts, your blog posts. They are so useful for us. Thank you for sharing all these resources and ideas. We would love to win the “Lunar New Year pop-up book” to encourage my bilingual daughter 💕🎉 Thank you for sharing these books with us and thank you for sharing your homeschooling and multilingual journey 💕
    My best compliments 🌸

  27. Hi Betty, thank you so much for sharing your list of favourites. These Chinese New Year books are amazing, I’m checkingthem out already!
    The one about Sam and the money is the most beautiful, as for me.. 😍

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