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Happy Lunar New Year: Books and Events to Honor the Year of the Dog | 新年快樂 | 새해 복 많이 받으세요 | Chúc Mừng Năm Mới

Chow Chow dog
Chow Chow dog; NYPL Digital Collections, image 1520499 

The Lunar New Year is Friday, February 16, when people of Asian descent around the world will begin celebrating the Year of the Dog, which lasts until February 4, 2019. According to the Chinese zodiac, dogs are considered friendly, honest, and loyal. 

The holiday festivities often include special meals with family and friends, dressing up in special clothing, and visiting temples or churches for prayers. Other popular ways to celebrate include holding parades, playing games and music, dancing, flying kites, and lighting firecrackers or fireworks displays.

Depending on the culture, the Lunar New Year goes by other names as well: The Spring Festival/ Chinese New Year, Seollal/Korean New Year, Tết / Vietnamese New Year, Losar / Tibetan New Year, and Tsagaan Sar / Mongolian New Year.  

All New York City public schools will be closed on the first day of Lunar New Year. The Department of Education offers an online educational guide about the holiday. 

The New York Public Library has many resources for children, teens, and adults to learn more about the Lunar New Year, including picture books, nonfiction books, ebooks, music, and films. We even have oral histories of Manhattan Chinatown residents sharing their memories celebrating the holiday, including an interview with illustrator Kam Mak, designer of the 12 Lunar New Year animal stamps for the U.S. Postal Service.

Several library locations are also holding special Lunar New Year-related events for children and teens:


Seward Park Library
Crafternoons: Lunar New Year for teens: Wednesday, February 14; Thursday, February 15; Monday, February 26 at 4:00 PM

Chatham Square Library
Surprise Friday Chinese New Year Craft  惊喜星期五春節手工: Friday, February 16, 1:30 PM 

Seven Asian American Authors You Should Be Reading: A Panel Discussion for teens: Saturday, February 17, 1:00 PM

Riverside Library
Lunar New Year Craft: Wednesday, February 21, 3:00 PM

The Bronx

Allerton Library
Year of the Dog Craft: Friday, February 16, 3:30 PM 

Tremont Library
Lunar New Year Lanterns for teens: Friday, February 16, 4:00 PM 

West Farms Library
Chinese New Year Arts & Crafts: Saturday, February17, 1:00 PM 

Lunar New Year Resources for Children, Teens and Adults

Here are some suggested picture books, nonfiction books, novels, and more items related to the Lunar New Year celebrations, mythology, or Chinese zodiac. The book summaries are provided by the publishers. 

"Happy New Year" in …

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


Children's Lunar New Year Books in English, Chinese, Korean and Spanish | 新年書 | 새해 책 | Libros del Año Nuevo Lunar en Español

The Year of the Dog book cover

The Year of the Dog: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac, by Oliver Chin, illustrated by Miah Alcorn

"The adventures and misadventures of Daniel the puppy as he tries to learn how to be a loyal and dependable friend to the little girl who lives next door. Lists the birth years and characteristics of individuals born in the Chinese Year of the Dog."




Ruby's Chinese New Year book cover

Ruby's Chinese New Year, by Vickie Lee, illustrated by Joey Chou

"As Ruby travels to her grandmother's house to bring her a gift for Chinese New Year, she is joined by all of the animals of the zodiac. Includes the legend of the Chinese horoscope and instructions for crafts."


Bringing in the New Year book cover

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 Years Day book cover

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.”

Sŏlbim : yŏja ai koun ot / Pae Hyŏn-ju kŭl, kŭrim
설빔 : 여자아이고운옷 / 배현주글·그림


Sŏlbim : Namja ai mŏtchin ot / Pae Hyŏn-ju kŭl, kŭrim
설빔 : 남자아이멋진옷 / 배현주글·그림

Wo de xin yi / Pei Xianzhu wen tu ; Pu Pulan yi

我的新衣 / 裴贤珠文图 ; 蒲蒲兰译.

"New Year’s clothing – A boy’s splendid outfit. Chinese. This book is about Korean New Year's traditions.  Er shi yi shi ji chu ban she."

Ten Mice for Tet book cover

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 book cover

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 book cover

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."





A New Years Reunion book cover

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.

Una reunión de año nuevo / Yu Liqiong ; ilustraciones de Zhu Chengliang ; traducción, Udo Araiza.

"El año nuevo chino está por comenzar y la víspera, un hombre llega a la casa de Maomao. Ella no está segura de quién es él ni por que la abraza con tanto cariño. Sin embargo,luego de ir a la peluquería y comenzar los preparativos para el festival de los faroles, ala niña se le revela un rostro conocido: es su papá que ha vuelto para compartir la celebración con su familia. Una historia que visibiliza, a partir de la migración de uno de sus miembros, una forma de convivencia familiar y nos acerca a la tradición china."

小李的農曆新年 = Li's Chinese New Year / Wang Fang ; illustrated by Jennifer Corfield, Cantonese translation by Sylvia Denham

"It's nearly Chinese New Year and Li just can't wait, but which animal is he going to be for the special school assembly? Will he be a fierce tiger or a strong ox? And which year  will his new cousin be born in." Parallel texts in traditional Chinese script and English.

The Nian Monster book cover

The Nian Monster, by Andrea Wang, pictures by Alina Chau

"The legendary Nian monster has returned at Chinese New Year. Nian is intent on devouring Shanghai, starting with young Xingling! But Xingling is clever and thinks quickly to outwit him with Chinese New Year traditions." 

Nian chu xi de gu shi / wen: Hengzhan ; tu: Zhongmin ; zhu bian: Zhao Zhenwan ; Yu Xiafang yi.

年除夕的故事 / 文: 恒展 ; 图: 冢珉 ; 主编: 赵镇琬 ;余霞芳译.

"Story behind Chinese New Year's eve."

Nian shou lai le = Nian beast is coming / gai bian Huang Huimin ; tu Liu Bole.

年獸來了 = Nian beast is coming / 改編 黃慧敏 ; 圖 劉伯樂.

Nian gao de gu shi / wen: Kou Tian ; tu: Yang Shilin ; zhu bian: Zhao Zhenwan.

年糕的故事 / 文: 寇天 ; 图: 杨士林 ; 主编: 赵镇琬.

"Story of the new year cake."

Shi er sheng xiao de gu shi / Wei Yaxi deng bian zhu.

十二生肖的故事 / 魏亞西等編著.

"Twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac." 

The Year of the Dog book cover

The Year of the Dog, by Grace Lin

"Frustrated at her seeming lack of talent for anything, a young Taiwanese American girl sets out to apply the lessons of the Chinese Year of the Dog, those of making best friends and finding oneself, to her own life."



The Kite Fighters book cover

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 book cover

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."





Nonfiction Children's Books

 The Story of the Chinese Zodiac book cover

The Great Race: Story of the Chinese Zodiac, by Christopher Corr, Call number J 398.2 C

 "Celebrate Chinese New Year and learn how every animal earned its place in the Chinese zodiac by taking part in the Great Race! Discover who will come first to win the ultimate prize, and find out why Cat will never forgive his friend Rat in this ancient folk tale that has been passed from generation to generation."



The Race for the Chinese Zodiac book cover

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."




Story of the Chinese Zodiac book cover

Story of the Chinese Zodiac = Shi er sheng xiao di gu shi,  十二生肖的故事 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."




Celebrate Chinese New Year book cover

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."


Ano Nuevo Chino book cover

Año Nuevo Chino  / Aaron Carr

"¿Sabias que hay 12 animales en el calendario chino? Cada año Nuevo Chino, uno de los libros de Celebremos las fechas patrias."


Chinese Astrology/Zodiac Books and More


The Chinese Astrology Bible book cover

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.”

Your Chinese Horoscope for Each and Every Year book cover

Your Chinese Horoscope for Each and Every Year, by Neil Somerville, Call number 133.5925 S

"Your Chinese Horoscope for Each and Every Year is a helpful and informative guide on Chinese horoscopes. Built on the long-standing success of Your Chinese Horoscope, this new book gives insights into each of the Chinese signs as well as special success tips to help readers make the most of their sign."

 Celebrating the Chinese New Year book cover

She jian shang de xin nian = A bite of China celebrating the Chinese New Year / Chen Xiaoqing deng zhu.

舌尖上的新年 = A bite of China celebrating the Chinese New Year / 陈晓卿等著

Year of the Dog book cover

Year of the Dog, by Henry Chin

"He's been transferred to a different precinct, but Detective Jack Yu cannot get away from Chinatown's criminals -- his old friends -- who have hooked up with the Hong Kong-based triads in an elaborate nationwide credit card fraud. He also cannot escape the Chinese victims whose stories cry out for justice, like the teenage Chinese take-out delivery boy brutally murdered in the projects."



Lunar New Year's Music and Dance Resources available at the Library of Performing Arts 

The Year of the Dog: Traditional Chinese Music  [sound recording], recorded by Deben Bhattacharya in Suzhou, Turpan, Sichuran, Xichang, Chengdu, and Kunming, China.

Chinese New Year celebration [videorecording], videotaped dance and tai chi performances at the Asian American Arts Centre in New York.

"Excerpts from a Chinese cultural program presented during the celebration of the lunar New Year. The performances are interspersed with quizzes for the audience on various aspects of Chinese culture."

First Moon [videorecording],  produced and directed by Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon. Featured folk music played by Guzhang Village Band. Original music composed by Tan Dun. 

"Documentary on the customs and traditions surrounding New Year's celebrations in China. Narrated in English; includes some Chinese dialogue with English subtitles. Among the activities depicted are games, processions, folk theatre, lion and other animal dances, stilt dances, dragon dances, and a lantern festival."

Korean traditional dance performance for New Year's Day [videorecording], presented by the Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theatre, choreographed by Jung Hye Bae, music by Rae-sun Park.

"Celebration of the lunar new year. Program of Korean traditional dance and music ; among the dance numbers are a scarf dance, janggo [hourglass-shaped drum] dance, fan dances, and a ribbon dance."

Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theatre traditional dance performance [videorecording], presented by the Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theatre, choreographed by Jung Hye Bae. 

"Korean traditional dance and music performance for the 15th day of the first lunar month ; includes some contemporary choreography in traditional costumes. Among the many offerings on the bill are fan dances, instrumental music by a quartet of percussionists, a scarf dance, drum dances (including a dance with the janggo or hourglass-shaped drum), and ribbon dances."


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What a great blog !

What a great blog !

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