Chinese Year of Snake starts tomorrow. Smarty’s school did several projects to celebrate this holiday, and at home we read a few books about the holiday or featuring Chinese characters.
Bringing in the New Year is a good first book about Chinese New Year for preschoolers. Sadly, my daughter is getting to be too old for it. The story is told by a little girl describing activities and celebrations in her household and community. I like cheerful illustrations in the book and there is an insert for adults and older kids in the end of the book explaining Chinese New Year origin and traditions.
Amazingly, the same Gracy Lin wrote a much more intricate fantasy story for older kids called Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. We read it last year, and I highly recommend it as a read-aloud that even younger kids can enjoy. In this book a young girl goes on a quest to bring fortune to her family and discovers new friends and new places. I like that the book features a strong female character that doesn’t need any help from “Prince charming”.
Demi has many books set in China. One of my favorites is An Empty Pot, but it wasn’t available in the library. We got a new to us book – The Girl Who Drew a Phoenix. I thought the story was somewhat lacking, but detailed illustrations are amazing. Smarty said that she wished she could draw like that – she rarely acknowledges the role of illustrators in the making of a book.
One of the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations in the United States takes place in San Francisco. One of these years we will brave the crowds and congestion and come watch it. Dragon Parade by Steven A. Chin explains how this tradition originated in the mid 1800s. It’s a pretty good overview of what happens during Chinese New Year celebrations as well and geared more towards elementary school students.