Happy Chinese New Year!

Friday, February 8th, 2013

The Year of the Snake slithers in this weekend but have no fear! Ancient Chinese wisdom says a snake in the house is actually a good omen because it means that your family will not starve. The sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, the snake represents wisdom, intelligence and self-control. The snake also represents the ability to strike at will, quickly and powerfully. The Year of Snake promises to be a time of steady progress and attention to detail. Focus and discipline will be necessary for all of us to achieve what we set out to create.

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festival in the Chinese calendar and celebrations take place around the world . What better way to get into the spirit by reading some Chinese New Year children’s books! Here are a few books we’ve blogged about that we would definitely recommend:

Tales from the Chinese Zodiac series by Oliver Chin,

The Great Race / The Story of the Chinese Zodiac by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Anne Wilson;

The Day the Dragon Danced by Kay Haugaard, illustrated by Carolyn Reed Barritt

Fang Fang’s Chinese New Year by Sally Rippin

The Race for the Chinese Zodiac by Gabrielle Wang, illustrated by SallyRippin

Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat by one of my favorite authors Grace Lin. Be sure to visit Grace’s blog t0 read about her plans for bringing in the New Year with  her daughter Rain Dragon and to get some New Year crafts suggestions.

My Mom Is a Dragon and My Dad is a Boar and Hiss! Pop! Boom! by Tricia Morissey

Happy, Happy Chinese New Year! written and illustrated by Demi. Read our interview with Demi here and see our gallery of her stunning illustration work here.

And here’s a special kidlit New Year celebration  for those of you who live in San Jose, CA, USA.  Children’s author Oliver Chin will be reading from his new book The Year of the Snake: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac, on Feb. 19th at the Joyce Ellington Branch library. Details here.

The Tiger’s Bookshelf: Hiss! Pop! Boom!

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Living in a country where Chinese New Year is a fifteen-day festival during which everyone becomes Chinese–in the same way that everyone beomes Irish on St. Patrick’s Day–means that questions about the holiday become inevitable and insistent.

Why are firecrackers an integral part of the festival? Why are markets filled with green-leafed oranges?  What are the scarlet paper wall-hangings that are emblazoned with gold calligraphy? Why are there so many packages of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit for sale? Why do people buy branches laden with flowering plum blossoms or pussywillows? What are the small red envelopes used for?  What does it mean to be in the Year of the Ox? And most important to many spectators, what is that lion doing, and who are the masked people who dance with it?

I don’t know about you, but when I want quick and clear answers to questions like these, I turn to children’s books. And the ones that provided answers for me are Tricia Morissey’s Hiss! Pop! Boom! and My Mom Is a Dragon and My Dad is a Boar, along with the inimitable Demi’s Happy, Happy Chinese New Year!all three of which are laden with enticingly presented facts.

If you have questions about this vibrant and revitalizing festival that brightens the darkest time of year, these three books are a great place to begin your search for answers. And if you’ve found other titles that have helped with this quest, please let us know what they are!