7 Books to Teach Kids About the Lunar New Year

If your kids are just learning about the Chinese New Year or are Lunar New Year aficionados, there are books a-plenty for all age groups to prepare for the Year of the Ox. The New Year starts Feb. 12 with family events to enjoy.

Dragon Dance by Joan Holub

Best for ages: 2-5

This lift-the-flap book takes kids from the market to the home as a family prepares for the Chinese New Year celebrations. Of course, the parade is the best part. 

My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz

Best for ages: 2-5

The simple story of prepping for the New Year draws in young readers (the book is recommended for ages 2 and older) and teaches about the Chinese culture. The 15 days of New Year are explained and described as kids follow the youngster through the book. 

Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vicki Lee

Best for ages: 4-8

Kids will learn about the Lunar animals—Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig—as they trek with Ruby to deliver a letter to her grandmother. The book is also a small introduction to the importance of family in celebrations. 

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin

Best for ages: 3-7

With picture-to-word identifiers, short and readable sentences and bright, colorful pictures, the story follows a family prepping the house for the new year. Keep an eye out for the super-long parade pull out at the end. 

Tales From the Chinese Zodiac by Oliver Chin

Best for ages: 3-8

Olive Chin’s series transforms the Chinese zodiac animals into entertaining stories designed for kids. Grab a copy of The Year of the Ox: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac where a fun-loving calf Olivia becomes friends with a girl named Mei. 

Chinese Zodiac Animals by Sanmu Tang & Zhu Jingwen

Best for ages: 9-12

This book is a longer explanation for more advanced readers to understand the years and the Chinese Culture. The zodiac animals are described including years, their attributes and luck.

China: A History by Cheryl Bardoe

Best for ages: 10-14

Using artifacts that are part of the Cyrus Tang Hall of China at the Field Museum, Cheryl Bardoe, a curator at Field, takes young readers on a trip through Chinese History. Best for late elementary and middle schoolers, kids will learn about everything from early tools, the dynasties and how the culture changed and remained the same through time. 


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This article originally published on Jan. 25, 2019. It has been updated with the most recent information. 

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