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Picture Books to Celebrate the Lunar New Year!

Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year Lift-The-Flap Book by Joan Holub

It's Chinese New Year and there are so many fun things to do Shopping at the outdoor market for fresh flowers, eating New Year's dinner with the whole family, receiving red envelopes from Grandma and Grandpa, and best of all-watching the spectacular Chinese New Year's parade Introduce the customs of Chinese New Year to even the youngest readers with this festive new lift-the-flap book.
Illustrated by Benrei Huang.

 

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto

For two joyous weeks red is all around. The color represents luck and happiness. Children receive money wrapped in red paper, and friends and loved ones exchange poems written on red paper. The Chinese New Year is also an opportunity to remember ancestors, and to wish peace and happiness to friends and family. The holiday ends with the Festival of Lanterns, as many large communities stage the famous Dragon Dance. Fireworks, parades, lanterns, presents, and feasts: these are some of the joys experienced by all who observe Chinese New Year.
"Celebrate Chinese New Year" is the latest, timely addition to National Geographic's popular Holidays Around the World series. With 25 colorful images and a simple, educational text, the book is a lively invitation to revel in this child-friendly, national and international holiday. Carolyn Otto brings the historical and cultural aspects of the Chinese New Year into focus, and young readers experience the full flavor of an event celebrated by over a billion people in China, and countless others worldwide.

 

Happy, Happy Chinese New Year! by Demi

In a book that is itself a celebration, Demi explains the rituals and ideas behind the Chinese New Year festival. The last 15 days of the old year are spent cleaning and preparing ( Wash your hair and get a new haircut. Pay the debts that you owe and collect what is owed to you ). On the eve of the new moon, a special feast is prepared. . . . The first 15 days of the new year are spent celebrating with lion dances, firecrackers, and other activities. Demi's characteristic tiny, lively figures illustrate each page, with several spreads devoted to small, labeled pictures identifying things associated with the holiday. Infused with joy and filled with information.

 

My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz

Chinese New Year is a time of new beginnings. Follow one little girl as she learns how to welcome the coming year and experience all the festivities surrounding it. Karen Katz's warm and lively introduction to a special holiday will make even the youngest child want to start a Chinese New Year tradition.

 

A New Year's Reunion by Li Qiong Yu

This poignant, vibrantly illustrated tale, which won the prestigious Feng Zikai Chinese Children's Picture Book Award in 2009, is sure to resonate with every child who misses relatives when they are away and shows how a family's love is strong enough to endure over time and distance.

 

This Next New Year by Janet S. Wong

A young boy looks forward to Chinese New Year - also known as the Lunar New Year, the day of the first new moon. It is a time of hope, and you don't have to be Chinese to celebrate it! His best friend, Glenn, who is French and German, and his cousin Evelyn, part Hopi and part Mexican, like the food and the envelopes of money, while he celebrates the fresh start the day offers. He cleans the house to make room for luck, and is glad the palms of his hands itch - that means he is coming into money. Most of all, he vows not to say things such as "can't do / don't have / why me" because he has dreams he is ready to make come true. Janet S. Wong's spare, lyrical couplets voice a child's determination to face the new year with courage and optimism. Yangsook Choi captures the spirit of celebration in her vibrant, energetic pictures.

 

The Race for the Chinese Zodiac by Gabrielle Wang

Long ago in ancient China, the Jade Emperor, ruler of heaven and earth, proclaimed a mighty race, saying that the first twelve animals to cross the river would have a year named after them. When the gong rings out, Tiger leaps in the river, followed by peaceful Rabbit clutching a log. Rat and Cat climb on Ox’s back, and Dog splashes in the shallows while Rooster finds a raft and takes clever Monkey and gentle Goat on board. Snake hitches a ride in Horse’s mane, powerful Dragon flies over the river, and Pig plays happily in the mud. But thirteen animals are racing for only twelve places on the Zodiac. Who will be honest, and who devious? Who will help friends along the way? Who will come first — and who will miss out?

 

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn

Sam can hardly wait to go shopping with his mom. It's Chinese New Year's day and his grandparents have given him the traditional gift of lucky money red envelopes called leisees (lay-sees). This year Sam is finally old enough to spend it any way he chooses. Best of all, he gets to spend his lucky money in his favorite place Chinatown But when Sam realizes that his grandparents' gift is not enough to get the things he wants, his excitement turns to disappointment. Even though his mother reminds him that he should appreciate the gift, Sam is not convinced until a surprise encounter with a stranger. With vivid watercolor paintings, artists Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu celebrate the sights and sounds of festive Chinatown streets. In her picture book debut, author Karen Chinn tells the affecting story of a child who discovers that sometimes the best gifts come from the heart.

Publishers Weekly's Most Anticipated Middle Grade Books for 2016

Booked by Kwame Alexander

Alexander trades basketball for soccer in this follow-up to his Newbery Medal–winning novel-in-verse, The Crossover. Like that book, this story balances in-the-game action with struggles at home and at school as it follows the ups and downs of a 12-year-old boy named Nick, all captured in Alexander’s vivid, zigzagging rhymes. Available in April.

 

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Timely, sensitive, and thought-provoking, this novel from Clementine creator Pennypacker traces 12-year-old Peter’s efforts to reunite with his pet fox, Pax, shifting between the perspectives of boy and animal. Pennypacker’s fans will also want to keep an eye out for her book Waylon! One Awesome Thing, also out this spring and illustrated by her Clementine collaborator, Marla Frazee. Available Now.

 

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

DiCamillo, the outgoing National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, has racked up devoted fans (and major awards) for one novel after the next, from Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux to her more recent Newbery Medal for Flora & Ulysses. In this story, set in 1975 Florida, three girls learn that they can count on each other when the adults in their lives prove less reliable. Available in April.

 

Summerlost by Ally Condie

Best known for her dystopian Matched trilogy for teens, Condie switches gears (and audiences) with this tender summer story set against the backdrop of a town’s Shakespeare festival, as 12-year-old Cedar, her mother, and her brother regroup after recent deaths in their family. Available in March.

 

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Picture book creator Brown moves into longer-form fiction for the first time with the story of Roz, a robot who washes up on an island and attempts to reach out to the local animals and make it her home. Robots like Roz may not have much in the way of emotions, but readers’ feelings will be put to the test as Roz adopts a baby gosling and contends with forces seeking to retrieve her. Available in April.

Publishers Weekly's Most Anticipated Children's Titles of 2016

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat

Though Santat’s impressive output means that his name often appears on several books in a given season, this is his first solo project since his Caldecott Medal win for The Adventures of Beekle. Here, he takes a question that has frustrated generations of parents and turns it into a wild time-travel adventure, one that also has something to say about patience and appreciating the present moment. Available in April.

 

The Dead Bird by Margaret Wise Brown

Less Goodnight Moon than “Goodbye, bird,” this story debuted as a poem in Brown’s 1938 book, The Fish with the Deep Blue Smile, and later reappeared as a 1958 picture book illustrated by Remy Charlip. Robinson’s artwork brings new life to a story of a group of children and their reverent encounter with evidence of life’s ephemerality. Available in March.

 

Let's Play by Herve Tullet

Tullet is actively engaged in blurring the lines between reading and play, and he has won devoted fans with this book’s predecessors, Press Here and Mix It Up! (It’s almost tempting to think of them as print apps rather than picture books.) This book feels akin to Press Here as readers are invited to trace the path of a yellow dot from page to page, never knowing quite what will happen with each tap, twist, or shake of the book. Available in April.

 

Ideas Are All Around by Philip C. Stead

Authors are perennially asked where they get their ideas, and Stead puts a solid answer in the title of this book. But that shouldn’t stop readers from diving in to witness the conversations, images, and questions that arise as Stead takes a walk through the neighborhood with his dog—it’s a valuable and enlightening glimpse into the creative process. Available in March.

 

Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie

Alexie has been a much-missed presence in the children’s book world since his last (and first) book for young readers, 2007’s National Book Award–winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. He aims younger with this picture book about family and identity in which a boy attempts to find a name that truly suits him, which is vibrantly illustrated by Morales, no stranger to awards herself. Available in May.

 

 

Publishers Weekly's Most Anticipated YA Titles of 2016

The Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

"Aveyard’s Red Queen series, set in a dystopian world divided by class with supernatural powers thrown into the mix, only continues to grow. As this second novel arrives, Aveyard has already signed up a fourth book in what was originally planned as a trilogy, two novellas have further expanded the series, and a film based on The Red Queen is in development with Universal, with Elizabeth Banks potentially attached to direct." Available February 9th

 

Half Lost by Sally Green

Green’s gritty trilogy, which began in 2014 with Half Bad, wraps up this spring as the battle between Black and White witches comes to a head in her magic-laden version of England. Readers who have been following protagonist Nathan’s heartbreaking losses and struggles through the previous two books should be relieved and satisfied as the young witch’s journey comes to an end. Available in March.

 

Last Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Fans of Clare’s paranormal Mortal Instruments series already have plenty to be excited about this season with the recent TV premiere of Shadowhunters, based on her bestselling novels. But readers who have devoured the previous books set in the world of her Shadowhunter Chronicles may be even more excited for this first book in the Dark Artifices series, about a family of Shadowhunters living in Los Angeles. Available in March.

 

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The series that began in 2012 with The Raven Boys comes to a close this spring, answering questions that have dogged readers over the previous books. Will Gansey finally find the Welsh king Glendower? Will he die if he kisses Blue? Will anyone survive the dark forces gathering around Henrietta, Virginia? Come April, we’ll find out. Available in April.

 

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Much as she did in her breakout debut novel, Between Shades of Gray, Sepetys illuminates another tragic chapter of wartime history in her third book for teens. Here, she examines a horrific naval disaster, the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, from the perspectives of multiple characters, including refugees, soldiers, and a nurse, in 1945 East Prussia. Available Now.

Jorey Hurley Loves

Every month, we ask one of our favorite authors to recommend one of their favorite books!

Jorey Hurley Loves

I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom & Richard Scarry

I recommend reading I am a Bunny by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry with a toddler or preschooler. I love Nicholas the bunny's exploration of the nature around him as it changes through the seasons.  The gentle, simple text gives the grownup reader a starting place for talking about each page while the gorgeous illustrations encourage little eyes to linger, notice things, and ask questions.  And since it's available as a board book it's fine if the listener chews on it a little bit!  


Jorey Hurley is a critically acclaimed author and illustrator based in San Francisco. Her picture books include Nest, a charming depiction of the day in a life of a bird; Fetch, a fun story following a dog as it chases a ball at the beach; and her latest Hop is a joyful look at the life of a rabbit family.

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