Chinese New Year 2019

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Like Christmas and Easter books, Chinese New Year books are seasonal ones that I like to gradually collect and rotate in and out of my home and school library. 2019 is the Year of the Pig,  the twelfth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar.

We always look forward to Chinese New Year celebrations, but this year are missing our wonderful Macanese homestay student Rachel  – why did you have to grow up, finish school and move out to independent living?! I love the picture below of the girls attempting to hold themselves back from her special butterfly biscuits. I’ve tried to make them but they are not the same!

Fighting over Rachel’s freshly made butterfly biscuits.

There are some fab new books celebrating Chinese New Year and Year of the Pig, as well as some old and much-adored favourites. My absolute favs are below.

Top Ten Books for Celebrating Chinese New Year
To purchase any of these titles or read more about them – click on title links!

‘The Year of the Pig’ by Charles Hope. Illustrated by Jess Racklyeft.

‘The Tale of Ping Pong Pig’ by Sarah Brennan. Illustrated by Harry Harrison.

‘Fang Fang’s Chinese New Year’ by Sally Rippin.

‘The Great Race’ by Christopher Corr.

‘Race for the Chinese Zodiac’ (out of print ATM) but read more about it here.

‘New Year Surprise!’ by Christopher Cheng. Illustrated by Di Wu which you can read more about here.

‘The Magic Brush’ by Kat Yeh. Illustrated by Huy Voun Lee.

‘Long-Long’s New Year’ by Catherine Gower. Illustrated by He Zhihong.

‘A New Year’s Reunion’ by Yu Li-Qiong. Illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang.

‘Chinese New Year : Origami Festivals’ by Robyn Hardyman.


Follow these books up in the home, classroom or library:

  • Find China on a map or globe. Discuss and/or write a list of all the things you know about China. Now use a selection of non fiction books and the Internet to find out five additional facts about China.
  • Check out these most darned excellent dragon bookmarks
  • 50 Chinese New Year activities here 
  • Cherry Blossom crafts here
  • Your class or group will have many different cultural backgrounds represented. Brainstorm a list of all the significant cultural celebrations you can think of including Chinese New Year.
  • How do we celebrate New Year in Australia? How do the Chinese celebrate Chinese New Year? Highlight differences and similarities. Try this activity as a venn diagram.
  • Turn home corner into a restaurant celebrating Chinese New Year. Create visual and written lists of all the things you will need and all the roles that will need to be played. Provide chopsticks!
  • ‘Child friendly’ chopsticks are great for fine motor skill development, and eating fun!
  • Give small groups or individuals the task of researching a different animal from the Chinese Zodiac
  • Find other books written and/or illustrated by Chinese authors like Gabrielle Wang and Christopher Cheng.
  • Visit your local Chinatown. Find out about events they may be holding to celebrate Chinese New Year.
  • These are some great Chinese New Year craft ideas at Red Ted Craft.
  • Well it wouldn’t be a proper Chinese celebration without some food! We are all massive fans of pot sticker dumplings and this Donna Hay recipe is a great one.
  • Finally…I rather like chef Kylie Kwong’s thoughts on Chinese New Year: “The most important thing about Chinese New Year is being with your friends and family in heart and spirit.”


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