welcome to The Year of the Pig!

Chinese New Year festivities are just around the corner,
extending from February 5-19.
We’re embarking on The Year of the Pig!

chinese new year

Today I’ve got a set of books to introduce some of the elaborate traditions that have come to be associated with this enormously important Chinese holiday.


The Great Race: Story of the Chinese Zodiac, written and illustrated by Christopher Corr
published in 2018 by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Why is 2019 the year of the pig?

How did the years come to be named after these particular 12 animals?

the great race interior by christopher corr

Discover the explanations from an ancient Chinese legend in this delightful retelling of the story, exploding with punchy color and energy.

the great race interior2 by christopher corr

And bonus! Find out why rats and cats are such bitter enemies! For ages 3 and up.

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My First Chinese New Year, written and illustrated by Karen Katz
published in 2004 by Henry Holt

Two sisters and their extended family gather for the New Year in this darling account accessible to the youngest of celebrators!

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Even though Karen Katz serves it up short and sweet, she includes quite a lot of particulars about the preparations and festivities including those enticing little red envelopes! What a happy tradition! Ages 18 months and up.

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Bringing in the New Year, written and illustrated by Grace Lin
published in 2008 by Alfred A. Knopf

The text in Grace Lin’s introduction to New Year’s is also very brief.

bringing in the new year interior2 lin

One sentence per page pairs with her festive, charming illustrations to walk us through many traditions — spring-happiness poem banners, dumpling making, fresh hair cuts for a new year, snazzy new clothes, fireworks, lion dancers, colorful lanterns, awakened dragons.

bringing in the new year interior lin

A lengthier endnote explains some traditions with more depth. Swimming in that luckiest of colors — red! — this is perfect for ages 18 months and up.

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Hiss! Pop! Boom!: Celebrating Chinese New Year, written by Tricia Morrissey, illustrated by Kong Lee
published in 2006 by Things Asian Kids

For a graceful, more descriptive survey of the holiday, reach for this lovely guide.

hiss boom pop interior2 morrissey and lee

The legendary origins of the festival as well as many traditions are explained in short paragraphs, accompanied by Chinese calligraphy and elegant Chinese watercolor paintings.

hiss boom pop interior morrissey and lee

Discover the flowers and plants families bring into their homes, the bountiful Trays of Happiness awaiting visitors, favorite foods for family gatherings, and learn a bit about brush painting and calligraphy, as well. Ages 5 and up.

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D is for Dragon Dance, written by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by YongSheng Xuan
originally published in 2006; this edition 2018 by Holiday House

You won’t receive much in the way of explanation in the 26 alphabetical entries here, each associated with new year celebrations, but this is a great accompaniment for the above books.

d is for dragon interior by compestine and xuan

Colorful pictures illustrate everything from acrobat to zodiac. A one-sentence description is given in English, simplified Chinese characters, and Pinyin — the transliteration of Chinese into the English alphabet —  creating a satisfying albeit small dip into Chinese culture.

d is for dragon dance interior2 compestine and xuan

A few short notes on celebrating a happy new year with good fortune are included. Ages 4 and up.

I’ve featured other excellent Chinese New Year titles in the past. Each of them is definitely worth seeking out. Find the reviews by clicking on the titles.

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Dumpling Soup

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A New Year’s Reunion

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New Clothes for New Year’s Day

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Happy New Year


Long-Long’s New Year

For gobs more festive information about the 2019 Chinese New Year, check the page here.