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Lunar New Year Children’s Books

February 5, 2024

I used to be an elementary school teacher and ed-tech consultant; now I'm a mom of twins and aspiring children's book author.

This blog is a place for me to write about personal life experiences, gleanings from books I've recently read, past and current DIY projects, and reflective thoughts that need a home outside my heart. Here at HeartEyes, I am opening my heart and eyes to yet another new chapter of my life, and my hope is that by joining me here, your heart and eyes would be opened to a more thoughtful and intentional life.

Hi, i'm tiff!

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Do you celebrate cultural holidays with your family? Are your parents first-generation immigrants? Are you a second-generation immigrant? I’m a 1.5-generation immigrant. Did you know that’s a thing??

Immigrant Definitions

First-generation immigrant: born outside of the U.S.
Second-generation immigrant: born in the U.S. but parents were born abroad
1.5-generation immigrant: born outside of the U.S. but immigrated as a child

A Brief Immigration Story

My parents immigrated from Taiwan to California when I was 9 months old and my brother was born in California. My paternal grandparents lived with us for ten years, and we only spoke Mandarin at home. Because of that, I’m still fluent in Mandarin and our twins’ first language is also Mandarin.

When I was a kid, we didn’t really celebrate many Chinese holidays. We did attend Chinese school on Saturdays, however, and I was in a Chinese folk-dancing class. We would also participate in the occasional culture day at school, where we brought a cultural food to share with our classmates and wore our traditional cultural clothing.

Now that I have my own family in the U.S., I feel somewhat removed from my Chinese heritage, and even more so for my children. I have visited Taiwan plenty of times throughout my life, and by April this year, our twins would have been there twice. We’ve never been there for all the festivities during Lunar New Year, however, and I would love for us to experience it with our relatives there.

Trying to keep our cultural roots while living in the U.S. has been a challenge for me, especially since we live on opposite coasts from my parents. Even though we don’t celebrate our Chinese holidays, we are thankful there are so many children’s books about them. Below are some of our favorite Lunar New Year children’s books we’ve read over the years, along with additional books recommended by friends. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from a link I provided, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my creative endeavors!

Tomorrow is New Year’s Day
By Aram Kim

This is a sweet story about Mina, a little Korean girl, who is so excited to share the customs of Korean Lunar New Year with her classmates. The illustrations are so vibrant and beautiful, and there’s a Korean glossary included!

Friends are Friends Forever
By Dane Liu, Illustrated by Lynn Scurfield

This book is based on the author’s own immigration story. DanDan is moving from China to America and will miss celebrating Lunar New Year with her best friend. They always made red paper snowflakes together, froze them in water, and hung them outside. Her best friend leaves her with some red paper and thread to carry on their tradition with a new friend in America. There’s a paper snowflake tutorial in the back of the book!

Two New Years
By Richard Ho, Illustrated by Lynn Scurfield

This vibrantly illustrated book is based on the author’s multicultural background. He and his family celebrate both Rosh Hashanah as well as Lunar New Year, and the book points out all of the similarities between the two holidays. I especially loved the author’s note and visual glossary in the back which brings deeper understanding to both cultures!

A Sweet New Year for Ren
By Michelle Sterling, Illustrated by Dung Ho

Ren is a little girl who was always too young to help her family make pineapple cakes. She wonders if this is finally the year where she’ll be old enough to help. The illustrations are so cute and there’s even a pineapple cake recipe included!

Dumpling Soup
By Jama Kim Rattigan, Illustrated by Lillian Hsu-Flanders

Marisa lives in Hawaii with her mostly-Korean family. She gets to make dumplings with her family this year, but worries that nobody will eat the ugly dumplings she makes haha! There’s a Hawaiian, Japanese, and Korean glossary in the front and a dumpling soup recipe in the back!

A New Year’s Reunion
By Yu Li-Qiong and Zhu Cheng-Liang

There are over 100 million migrant workers in China who work hundreds or thousands of miles away from home. Many only return once a year just for New Year’s. This is the story of one of those fathers who returns for just a few days to be with his family. It is so touching and always brings tears to my eyes.

Home for Chinese New Year
By Wei Jie and Xu Can

This is a story written in English and Chinese, about the arduous journey Jiajun’s father takes once year to celebrate Chinese New Year with his family. He takes a train, bus, three-wheeled motorcycle, and a ferry-boat to get all the way home.

Playing with Lanterns
By Wang Yage, Illustrated by Zhu Chengliang

In the Shaanxi province in northwest China, Zhao Di plays with lanterns with her village friends. It is customary to be gifted lanterns beginning on the 3rd day of the New Year, and then smash them on the 15th day of to prevent bad luck!

Alphabetical List by Author’s Last Name

Ho, Richard – Two New Years
Jie, Wei and Can, Xu – Home for Chinese New Year
Kim, Aram – Tomorrow is New Year’s Day
Li-Qiong, Yu and Cheng-Liang, Zhu – A New Year’s Reunion
Liu, Dane – Friends are Friends Forever
Rattigan, Jama Kim – Dumpling Soup
Sterling, Michelle – A Sweet New Year for Ren
Yage, Wang – Playing with Lanterns

Other Books Recommended by Friends

Chen, Kelsey – Five Little Dumplings
Fang, X. – Dim Sum Palace
Fu, Cherie – Little Messy Marcy Su
Lin, Grace – A Big Mooncake for Little Star
Shang, Wendy Wan-Long – The Rice in the Pot Goes Round and Round
Yim, Natasha – Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
Zhang, Qiusheng – Sweet Laba Congee
Zhang, Vikki – The Lucky Red Envelope
Zihan, Mei and Leng, Qin – New Year

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