10 Children’s Books about Dragon Boat Festival (Chinese and English)

8 Children's Books about Dragon Boat Festival (Chinese and English)

Dragon Boat Festival 端午节 / 端午節 (Duānwǔ Jié) is an important Chinese holiday that occurs near the summer solstice in June. Growing up, I remember my relatives talking about dragon boat races, but otherwise I didn’t know much about the holiday. Since we live far away from family in a small, non-diverse town, my kids and I have been learning about history and traditions through Dragon Boat Festival books in Chinese and English! All of the books in this list are “own voices”, meaning that the authors share the same cultural identity of the stories.

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Children's Picture Books about Dragon Boat Festival (Chinese and English)

What is Dragon Boat Festival?

For those new to Dragon Boat Festival, the holiday commemorates the life and death of the famous scholar 屈原 (Qūyuán).

屈原 was a poet and important official in China. Banished into exile by the emperor for perceived disloyalty, 屈原 drowned himself in the Miluo River.

In attempt to rescue 屈原, people rowed boats and threw 粽子 (zòngzi / sticky rice) into the river to prevent the fish from eating 屈原‘s body.

Eventually, these events led to the annual Dragon Boat race and the custom of eating 粽子, sticky rice filled with a variety of foods wrapped in leaves.

Since suicide is a trigger topic that many parents are concerned about discussing, I’ll explain which of these books mention 屈原’s death in the list below.

Dragon Boat Festival Books in Chinese, Pinyin, and English
Dragon Boat Festival Books and Chinese 粽子 felt toy food

Other Dragon Boat Festival resources for kids

熱鬧端午節 (注音版)

6 Dragon Boat Festival Books in Chinese

Here are some Chinese Dragon Boat Festival books that your family might enjoy! ISBN and shopping links are included, as I hope you can find them at your local library or favorite online Chinese bookstore!

3 dimensional Dragon Boat Festival book in traditional Chinese characters and some zhuyin

1. 端午节 / 端午節 3D book

This fun 3-D pop-up book brings Chinese culture to life! Almost every page features interactive flaps or wheels to excite kids about Chinese decorations, Dragon Boat Festival food, and Dragon Boat Races!

Big thanks for my friend Irene (read her interview here) who gifted the traditional Chinese version of this book! About half of the text of the traditional Chinese version is accompanied by Zhuyin. This book also comes in simplified Chinese.

Where to buy:

Audio narration:

Dragon Boat Festival 端午节

2. Dragon Boat Festival 中国记忆传统节日-端午节

This Dragon Boat Festival 端午节 book is one of our favorites and comes in simplified and traditional Chinese!

We love how the illustrations highlight the whole family bonding while making crafts and 粽子 (zòngzi / sticky rice). They also watch the Dragon boat races together.

This book is part of the 中国记忆传统节日 12 Chinese Festival Books (Simplified and Traditional). Click here to learn more about the book and audio narration.

伊伊, 端午节快乐! / Happy Dragon Boat Festival, Yiyi!

3. 伊伊, 端午节快乐! / Happy Dragon Boat Festival, Yiyi!

This is a cute picture book that focuses on fun Dragon Boat Festival traditions! The illustrations show how to make 粽子 and also how to fold little origami boats!

The Duanwu Festival 端午节之屈原的故事

4. The Duanwu Festival 端午节之屈原的故事

This book focuses on the history of the poet 屈原, and how he was banished to exile by his emperor for perceived disloyalty.

When the emperor didn’t listen to 屈原’s advice, the country failed, and a mourning 屈原 jumped into a river and died. The story doesn’t elaborate on his suicide and simply states that he jumped into the river.

People took long boats to the river to rescue 屈原 and threw 粽子 in attempt to prevent the fish from eating 屈原‘s body.

  • Where to buy:
    • Simplified Chinese with Pinyin / ISBN: 9787561936061

Part of the Chinese Library Series – Simplified Chinese Readers with Pinyin & English (click here for detailed review).

5. 今天我们包粽子

My kids love all of Singapore author Lin Wenpei’s books which celebrate signature Chinese foods for special holidays!

This book focuses on kids helping grandma make 粽子 for Dragon Boat Festival!

  • Where to buy:
    • Simplified Chinese with Pinyin / ISBN: 978981479126

P.S. Big thanks to Phyllis and Vera who helped me buy Lin Wenpei’s books from Singapore! If you’re reading this, we are so grateful! 😀

6. 小粽子,小粽子 / Little Sticky Rice

This cute picture book features anthropomorphic 粽子 with only one line of text per page. The book teaches about 2 types of 粽子 (sweet versus salty) in a lighthearted way: the 粽子 debate about which flavor is better! Fish in the river also join the debate, but at the end, all of the 粽子 become friends and ride in a dragon boat together!

2 Bilingual Dragon Boat Festival books on our to-read list

These recently published Dragon Boat Festival are bilingual in English and Chinese! While we haven’t read them yet, we wanted to support the authors and share these great options with you!

  1. Dragon Boat Festival (端午节): Immersive story & activity book for kids to learn Chinese by Welly
  2. Dragon Boat Festival Wishes: Duanwu (Double Fifth) & Zongzi Chinese Festival Celebration by Jillian Lin

2 Chinese Dragon Boat Festival Books in English

Chinese Dragon Boat Festival Books for kids in English

Here are 2 more great picture books about Dragon Boat Festivals! These have been published in English by Chinese authors.

Celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival picture book for kids

1. Celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival

This picture book touches about the special traditions of preparing 粽子 and watching dragon boat races from the perspective of a young child, little Mei.

The illustrations are gorgeous and realistic. The child’s grandfather explains the story of Qu Yuan and mentions that he “fell in despair and tossed himself into the Miluo River” and that people tried to rescue him by throwing 粽子 in the river.

What I dislike about the book is the beginning when the child describes the leaves as “strange’ and “weird”, but the rest of the story makes up for this downside.

Where to buy:

  • English / ISBN: 9781602209688

2. Awakening the Dragon

Awakening the dragon - historical Chinese Dragon Boat Festival Book for kids in English

Awakening the Dragon is a history-based picture book is great for older children who are ready to learn more detail about Dragon Boat festival.

Detailed, realistic illustrations accompany long pages of text.

Since this book describes how the poet, Qu Yuan, drowns himself by jumping in the river with a rock strapped to his body, we have decided not to read this book to our children until they are older.

Where to buy:

  • English / ISBN: 9780887768057

What are your favorite books about Dragon Boat Festival in Chinese or English?

Have you read any of these books with your children or students? What other Dragon Boat Festival Books do your kids like?

If you end up reading this book, let me know what you think in the comments below!

We’d love to hear about your learning experience and if you agree or disagree with our review! What other books do you recommend?

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

More books that celebrate Chinese and Taiwanese culture

Happy reading, friends!

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