Books and Virtual Library Events to Ring in the Year of the Ox/Bull/Cow | 新年快樂 | 새해 복 많이 받으세요 | Chúc Mừng Năm Mới

By Michelle Lee
February 5, 2021
Chatham Square Library

The Summer Palace, Beijing, bronze ox statue overlooking Kunming Lake. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 4043724.


This upcoming Lunar New Year on February 12 will be different from so many others in years past. Due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, all of the traditional ways of celebrating the holiday—gathering together for family reunion dinners, visiting temples and churches, meeting up with friends, and organizing/attending parades and shows—will have to be put on pause as a health precaution and for safety reasons.

The New York Public Library is here to help patrons of all ages and families with their alternative, physically and socially-distant Lunar New Year home celebrations with this suggested reading list of 36 print, digital e-book, and audiobook titles/book series.

We have holiday-related picture books, novels, comics, craft books and cookbooks in English, Chinese / 新年書/ 新年书, Korean / 새해 책, and Spanish/ Libros del Año Nuevo Lunaren Español. We've also compiled a list of several free virtual holiday events from our local libraries and other New York City arts organizations.

The next year will be the Year of the Ox/ Bull/Cow. The zodiac sign is characterized as hard-working, resilient, and strong. So whether you or your family plan to celebrate the Chinese New Year/the Spring Festival/春節; the Korean New Year/Seollal/설날; Vietnamese New Year/Tết Nguyên Đán; Tibetan New Year/Losar/ལོ་གསར་; or Mongolian New Year/ White Moon / TsagaanSar/Цагаан сар, we hope the holiday brings good health, good safety, and good fortune.  

Please also visit our Lunar New Year celebration page with links to more NYPL Events and Resources.

Lunar New Year Virtual Library Events


Riverside  Library, 127 Amsterdam  Ave

Lunar New Year Teen & Tween Chat & Craft, Monday, Feb. 8, 3:30- 4:30 p.m.,

Chatham Square Library, 33 East Broadway

Lunar New Year Celebration - Chinese Papercut Workshop | 農曆新年剪紙, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 4-5 p.m.,

Lunar New Year Celebration - Music from China | 農曆新年音樂會, Wednesday, Feb. 13, noon,

The Bronx

Jerome Park Library, 118 Eames Place

Virtual Art with Books: Chinese New Year!, Friday, Feb. 12, 3:3:-4:30 p.m.,

Throgs Neck Library, 3025 Cross Bronx Expressway

YA Chinese New Year! Friday, Feb. 12, 3-4 p.m.,

Other Lunar New Year Cultural Center Virtual Events

Rubin Museum, Losar Virtual Family Day, Sunday, Feb. 7, 1-4 p.m.,

Museum of the Chinese in America, Lunar New Year Virtual Family Festival, Thursday Feb. 11 to Friday, Feb. 19, various times,

Lewis Latimer House Museum, Lunar New Year STEAM Sculpture Workshop, Thursday, Feb. 11, 3:30-4:30 p.m.,

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Virtual Lunar New Year Festival: The Year of the Ox, Saturday. Feb. 13, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. 

Flushing Town Hall, Lunar New Year Chinese Bazaar, Sunday,  Feb. 14, 2 p.m.

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

Picture Books and Novels for Children, Educators and Families

The Animals of the Chinese New Year =中国农历新年动物生肖= Zhong guo nong li xin nian dong wu sheng xiao, by Jen Sookfong Lee,  translation by Kileasa Wong

A simple tale about the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac race is paired with adorable photos of diverse babies and toddlers in this bilingual Chinese and English board book. The audio e-book read-along portion, however, is only available in English.

Chinese New Year Colors = Chun jie de yan se = 春节的颜色 by Rich Lo

Learn the Chinese and English names of all the colors of the rainbow in this picture book. The Mandarin pronunciation of the calligraphy characters are spelled out in English, too. All of the lovely illustrations - which include a lantern, fish decorations, and a lion dancer - are significant to the holiday and their symbolism is explained in the back pages.

Year of the Ox, by Oliver Chin, illustrated by Jeremiah Alcorn 

The ox takes center stage in this tale about friendship. It is part of an ongoing picture book series that covers all 12 Chinese zodiac animals.

¡Es el Año Nuevo Chino!  by Richard Sebra

Ten Mice for Tết, by Pegi Deitz Shea and Cynthia Weill, illustrated by Tô Ngọc Trang ; embroidery by Phạm Vîét Đinh

Let's get ready for Tết and practice counting with a family of mice in this lively picture book.

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

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

In this picture, we follow a little girl as she gets dressed from head to toe in special, colorful clothes for the Korean New Year or Seollal. Information in the back explains traditional holiday celebrations and provides a detailed breakdown of the symbolism of every article of clothing and accessory. The Korean language version has two books —one for a boy and one for a girl.

Mindy Kim and the Lunar New Year, by Lyla Lee

It's a transitional time for eight-year-old Mindy Kim as she adjusts to the loss of her mother and a big move from California to Florida with her father. Mindy adapts to celebrating the Lunar New Year in her new home by sharing her Korean holiday traditions with her new classmates and friends.

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen, by Debbie Michiko Florence

The Japanese New Year/正月/Shōgatsu or Oshōgatsu, was traditionally celebrated during the Lunar New Year, but the holiday now follows the Gregorian/ Western calendar. Here's a novel for children and families who want to find out more about the celebration.

Making mochi—rice cake—by hand the old-fashioned way is hard work, but eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi wants to help her family continue the tradition in their Los Angeles home. The question is - will her relatives let her break the centuries-old superstition that girls and women cannot use the rice pounding mallet?

The Dragon Warrior and The Fallen Heroby Katie Zhao

This two-book middle grade mythology action series follows twelve- year-old Faryn Liu and her brother, Alex, as they battle demons and go on quests in various American Chinatowns.

The Twelve and The Treasures of the Twelve series by Cindy Lin

In this fantasy adventure series inspired by the Chinese zodiac animals, a girl named Usagi (rabbit in Japanese) must go to Jade Mountain with other mystical warriors to save her younger sister, Uma (tranquility or splendor in Sanskrit), from the Dragonguard.  In the second book, Usagi has to find hidden ancient treasurers.

The Zodiac Legacy novels and comics by Stan Lee and Stuart Moore, novel art by Andie Tong, comics art by P.H. Marcondes

In this middle grade action/adventure novel and comic book series, superpowers connected to the 12 Chinese zodiac animals are unleashed around the world. Chinese American teenager Steven Lee has to unlock the powers of the tiger, find the other zodiac team members and fight various mercenaries and villains. 

Books for Teens and Adults


Fruits Basket, by Natsuki Takaya

This much-beloved romance/fantasy manga series follows orphaned high school student Tohru Honda as she befriends and lives with the wealthy and mysterious Sohma family, whose 13 members are cursed and turn into different Chinese zodiac animals whenever they touch people of the opposite sex. This recent 12-volume collector's edition reprint covers Tohru's adventures as she learns more about the family and she tries to break the curse.

Fruits Basket Another, by Natsuki Takaya

In this three-volume follow-up to the original Fruits Basket, shy, reclusive high school girl Sawa Mitomi meets the next generation of Sohma boys. Over the course of their friendship, Sawa gains more self esteem and she uncovers hidden family secrets. 

Chinese Astrology Books

The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, 40th anniversary edition, by Theodora Lau and Laura Lau, calligraphy and illustrations by Kenneth Lau

Chinese astrology is a centuries-old practice that many people take very serious. Use this book to find out more about this ancient tradition. The information covered in this book includes profiles for all of the Lunar zodiac signs going back to 1924 and suggestions for handling relationships, finances and work. 

What's Your Chinese Love Sign? by Neil Somerville

The Lunar New Year falls just two days before Valentine's Day this year. Why not take a look at your astrological sign profile and check out your love compatibility with this e-book?

Craft Books

Origami for Children: 35 Easy-to-Follow Step-by-Step Projects, by Mari Ono and Roshin Ono

Make a paper cow, a heart, a candy box and other animals and party favors with this simple origami craft book.

Origami para niños : libro y paquete de papel de origami con 35 proyectos, Mari Ono y Roshin Ono ; traducción, Geraldo di Masso Sabolo

Japanese Paper Flowers: Elegant Kirigami Blossoms, Bouquets, Wreaths and More, by  Hiromi Yamazaki

Brighten up your house with some cut paper flowers or make a gift for a loved one.  Flower crafts suitable for the Lunar New Year include plum blossoms and peonies.

Mythological Creatures and the Chinese Zodiac Origami, by John Montroll

Advanced origami fans can test their paper-folding skills and make all 12 animals from the Chinese zodiac and other mythological creatures such as the unicorn, flying horse and centaur.

Cookbooks and Food Books

Korean Home Cooking: Classic and Modern Recipes, by Sohui Kim with Rachel Wharton

New York chef Kim shows readers how to make tasty Korean side dishes, soups, stews and main dishes with this cookbook. Traditional Seollal recipes include tteok-mandu guk/ rice cake dumpling soup, japchae/glass noodles, kalbi/short rib and shikhye/ sweet rice drink.

Japanese Home Cooking: Simple Meals, Authentic Flavors, by Sonoko Sakai ; photographs by Rick Poon ; illustrations by Juliette Bellocq

This detailed book on Japanese cuisine lets readers replicate many traditional dishes at home. Recipes for the New Year include handmade soba noodles and sweet and savory ways to prepare mochi (like o-zoni - New Year's good luck soup).

Vietnamese Home Cooking, by Charles Phan

Notable San Francisco chef Phan shares simple Vietnamese recipes for soups, street food and other main dishes to make at home. Festive recipes to make for the Lunar New Year include lotus-leaf wrapped sticky rice, spring rolls and braised pork.

Chinese Soul Food: A Friendly Guide to Homemade Dumplings, Stir-fries, Soups and More and Vegetarian Chinese Soul Food: Deliciously Doable Ways to Cook Greens, Tofu and Other Plant-Based Ingredients, by Hsiao-Ching Chou

In this cookbook series, food writer Chou offers a mix of various home-style Northern Chinese dishes alongside more Americanized recipes for family meals. Celebratory recipes for the Lunar New Year in the first book include ginger-onion whole steamed fish, stir-fried rice cake and long life noodles. The second book contains recipes inspired by Buddhist temple vegetarian cuisine.

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

Zhongguo nian jie yan xi : da shi jiao zuo chuang xin nian jie cai. 中国年节筵席 : 大师教做创新年节菜 / 潘东潮, 贺习耀主编. 中国年节筵席 : 大师教做创新年节菜 / 潘东潮, 贺习耀主编. Chinese New Year Feast: Master teaches creative New Year dishes / Pan Dongchao, Editor-in-Chief He Xiyao 

Si shi wu wei ru kou : shi wu, ren he zi ran de guan xi = 四时五味入口 : 食物人和自然的关系 / 徐李佳, 任志莉著 ; 王克摄影. 四时五味入口 : 食物人和自然的关系 / 徐李佳, 任志莉著 ; 王克摄影  = Four Seasons and Five Flavours: The Relationship between Food, Man and Nature / by Xu Lijia, Ren Zhili; Photography by Wang Ke / Xu, Lijia, author. 徐李佳, author.

Chun fa, xia chang, qiu shou, dong cang, 240 dao yang sheng yin shi / Jian kang da jiang tang bian wei hui. 春發, 夏長, 秋收, 冬藏, 240道養生飮食 / 健康大講堂 編委會. Spring hair, summer long, autumn harvest, winter storage, 240 health foods / Health Lecture Hall Editorial Board.

中菜經典 50 強 = 50 greatest hits in Cantonese home cooking / 趙素玲 著. 中菜經典 50 強 = 50 greatest hits in Cantonese home cooking / 趙素玲 著 Zhao, Suling, author. 趙素玲, author.

Shang hai xi fu de jia chang he yan ke cai = Shanghai wife's home cooking and banquet dishes / by Cheng Anqi = 上海媳婦的家常和宴客菜 / 程安琪著 上海媳婦的家常和宴客菜 / 程安琪著  Cheng, Anqi, author. 程安琪, author.

For more reading recommendations:

Books And Library Events to Ring in the Year of the Mouse by Michelle Lee   

Recommendations for the Lunar New Year! by Amanda Pagan 

Chinese New Year Memories by Sue Yee