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Celebrate Lunar New Year with Library Books and Events


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Happy Lunar New Year! For many people of Asian descent across the world, one of the most important holidays of the year is in full swing.

The lunar calendar celebration goes by many names: the Spring Festival / Chinese New Year; Seollal / Korean New Year; Tết / Vietnamese New Year; Losar / Tibetan New Year; and Tsagaan Sar / Mongolian New Year. While each culture, country and religion honors the holiday with unique customs and traditions, the Lunar New Year generally is a special time for people to gather for family reunions, wear new clothes, feast on special foods, visit temples/churches, and celebrate with music and dancing.  

The Year of the Monkey will last from February 8, 2016 to January 28, 2017. In the Chinese zodiac, monkeys are generally portrayed as being clever, curious, cunning, mischievous and quick-witted.

The Library is holding events at different locations for the Lunar New Year.

Here is a sampling of various special celebrations and performances:

Lunar New Year Storytime & Craft
Monday, February 8, 3:30 p.m. at Riverside Library

Crafternoon: Chinese New Year!
Thursday, February 11, 4 p.m. at Battery City Park Library

"Elegant Chinese Melodies of Spring and Love" with John Thompson
Friday, February 12, 1 p.m. at Chatham Square Library

Chinese Ribbon Dance Workshop
Monday, February 8, 4 p.m. at Fort Washington Library
Tuesday, February 9, 3:30  p.m.  at Van Cordtlandt Library
Wednesday, February 17, 11 a.m. at Hunts Point Library
Monday, February 22, 4 p.m. at Tompkins Square Library
Wednesday, February 24, 4 p.m. at Grand Concourse Library
Tuesday, March 8, 4 p.m. at High Bridge Library

Lunar New Year and Chinese Zodiac Books 

For those who want to learn more about the holiday, share stories with children or explore Chinese astrology, here’s a suggested list of 20 fiction and non-fiction books connected to the Lunar New Year with summaries by the respective book publishers.

The New York City Department of Education also created a Lunar New Year teaching guide for educators

Happy reading and enjoy! Happy Lunar New Year in …

Xin nian kuai le / sun nien fai lok        新年快樂        Mandarin and Cantonese
Sae hae bok mani badeuseyo  새해 복 많이 받으세요 Korean
Chúc Mừng Năm Mới                                                 Vietnamese                            

Children's Picture Books and Fiction

Bringing in the New Year

Bringing in the New Year, by Grace Lin

“A Chinese American family prepares for and celebrates the Lunar New Year, in a book that includes endnotes discussing the customs and traditions of the Chinese New Year.”


New Clothes for New Year's Day


New Clothes for New Year’s Day, by Hyun-Joo Bae

“A Korean girl is excited about the new year, especially because it means she can get dressed in her traditional New Year’s Day clothes, which take a while and some effort to get into.”




Ten Mice for Tet

Ten Mice for Tet, by Pegi Deitz Shea and Cynthia Weill ; illustrations by Tô Ngọc Trang

“A village of mice prepares for Tet, or Vietnamese New Year, as different numbers of mice give gifts, cook food, and celebrate in other traditional ways, in a story with an afterword with facts about the holiday.”



This New Next Year

This Next New Year, by Janet S. Wong; pictures by Yangsook Choi

"A family prepares to celebrate the Lunar New Year and looks forward to the good luck they hope it will bring."







Chinatown, by William Low

"A boy and his grandmother wind their way through the streets of Chinatown, enjoying all the sights and smells of the Chinese New Year's Day."






My First Chinese New YearMy 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.”




A New Year's Reunion

A New Year’s Reunion, By Yu Li-Quoing; illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang

"Feeling disconnected from the father whose work keeps him from home the rest of the year, Maomao enjoys a Chinese New Year visit marked by such activities as making sticky rice balls, watching a dragon dance, and searching for a hidden lucky coin."

Tuan yuan / Yu Liqiong wen ; Zhu Chengliang tu.
團圓 / 余麗瓊文 ; 朱成梁圖.


Sam and the Lucky Money

Sam and the Lucky Money, by Karen Chinn; illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

“Anticipating spending is gift of Lucky Money on Chinese New Year’s day, Sam accompanies his mother to Chinatown, where he watches a dancing New Year’s lion, visits many colorful and good-smelling shops, and learns a special lesson.”



D is for Dragon DanceD is for Dragon Dance, by Ying Chang Compestine; illustrated by Yongsheng Xuan

“Introduces the wondrous traditions of a Chinese New Year through an illustrated and alphabetized review of such components as firecrackers, acrobats and red envelopes.”



The Kite Fighters

The Kite Fighters, by Linda Sue Park; decorations by Eung Won Park

"In Korea in 1473, eleven-year-old Young-sup overcomes his rivalry with his older brother, Kee-sup, who as the first born son receives special treatment from their father, and combines his kite-flying skill with Kee-sup's kite-making skill in an attempt to win the New Year kite-fighting competition."




When the Circus Came to Town

When the Circus Came to Town, by Laurence Yip; drawings by Suling Wang

"An Asian cook and a Chinese New Year celebration help a ten-year-old girl at a Montana stage coach station to regain her confidence after smallpox scars her face."





Non-Fiction Books

Your Chinese Horoscope for 2016

Your Chinese Horoscope 2016: What the Year of the Monkey Holds in Store for You, By Neil Somerville, Call number 133.5925S

"The year 2016 is the Chinese Year of the Monkey- what will this mean for you? This complete guide contains all the predictions you will need to take you into the year ahead - an interesting year offering scope, awareness and much possibility."




Chinese Astrology Bible

The Chinese Astrology Bible: The Definitive Guide to Using the Chinese Zodiac, by Derek Walters, Call number 133.5925W

“Written by a leading authority on the history and practice of Chinese astrology, this comprehensive new entry in the continuing Bible series brings together all of the basics on this ancient form of divination. Filled with color photographs and beautiful illustrations, it covers everything from the 12 animals of the zodiac to calculating your sign to create a detailed analysis of your chart based on the exact time of your birth. There’s also advice on developing your horoscope further, as well as using Chinese astrology in conjunction with Eastern medicine and feng shui.”

Celebrate Chinese New Year

Celebrate Chinese New Year, by Carolyn Otto, Call number J 394.26 O

"An introduction to the customs and culture of Chinese New Year profiles such traditions as red envelope lycee money, poem exchanges, tributes to family ancestors, the Festival of Lanterns and the famous Dragon Dance."



Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats

Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes, by Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz, & The Children's Museum of Boston ; illustrated by Meilo So. Call number J 394.26 S

"Presents background information, related tales, and activities for celebrating five Chinese festivals—Chinese New Year, the Lantern Festival, Qing Ming, the Dragon Boat Festival, and the Moon Festival."


Lion Dancer

Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year, By Kate Waters and Madeline Slovenz-Low, photographs by Martha Cooper, Call number J 394.26 W  

"Describes a six-year-old's preparations, at home and in school, for the Chinese New Year celebrations."


The Race for the Chinese Zodiac

The Race for the Chinese Zodiac, By Gabrielle Wang, illustrated by Sally Rippin, Call number J 398.2 W

"With gorgeous illustrations based on Chinese painting techniques, a lively retelling of the legendary animals’ race that led to the twelve signs on the Chinese Zodiac."




The Story of the Chinese Zodiac

Story of the Chinese Zodiac = Shi er sheng xiao di gu shi, Retold by Monica Chang; illustrated by Arthur Lee ; English translation by Rick Charette, Call number J 398.2 C

"This folktale demonstrates [the] Chinese's concept of calculating time in ancient days."




Chinese New Year Crafts

Chinese New Year Crafts, By Karen E. Bledsoe, Call number J 745.59 B  

"Colorful presentation of craft projects relating to the Chinese New Year."





Paper Crafts for Chinese New Year

Paper Crafts for Chinese New Year, By Randel McGee, Call number J 745.59 M  

"Provides readers with illustrated instructions for making traditional paper crafts for the Chinese New Year, including shadow puppets, a Chinese lantern, special “lai see” envelopes and more."




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