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Happy New Year! Festive Children's Books to Celebrate the New Year

Updated: Jan 15

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links


...and just like that, one year has passed and a new one is beginning! New Year's Day is an exciting time for some and can bring apprehension for others. It's a time for celebration, reflection, and a time to maybe set a few goals or two. These children's books about the new year will inspire readers to reflect on last year, while also looking forward to the excitement of the new year.

"If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present... gratefully." Maya Angelou
Diverse Children's Books

A little girl helping her grandmother prepare a holiday meal learns about the origins of soul food in this powerful picture book that celebrates African American cuisine and identity from an award-winning author.


Know what I like most about Grandma's kitchen?

More than jambalaya? More than sweet potato pie? Even more than pralines?

Grandma's stories! Every meal Grandma cooks comes with a story.

What will today's story be?


While visiting her grandma in Louisiana, nine-year-old Frances is excited to help prepare the New Year's Day meal. She listens as Grandma tells stories--dating back to the Atlantic Slave Trade--about the food for their feast. Through these stories, Frances learns not only about the ingredients and the dishes they are making but about her ancestors and their history as well.


A celebration of the stories that connect us, this picture book urges us to think about the foods we eat and why we eat them. This book was inspired by the author's own childhood and includes her family's very own recipe for pralines in the back!


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Lily LaMotte, brilliant author of the graphic novel Measuring Up, an ALA Top Ten, has written her debut picture book about a special Lunar New Year feast. Perfect for fans of Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin and I Am Golden by Eva Chen.

Themes of love and family underlie the snappy text. --Kirkus

It's almost Lunar New Year, and Chloe can't wait to celebrate! But first, Chloe and her family must prepare for the new year. They buy new shoes, lay out good-luck oranges in a bowl, decorate the red envelope, and make a crispy turnip cake. Everyone comes together to cook a fantastic feast, saving a plate for A-má, of course. Chloe enjoys the festive celebration and yummy food, but most of all, she loves spending time with her family.

Lily LaMotte and Michelle Lee have created a tender, warm, and uplifting holiday story about tradition and the importance of being with those you love.

The backmatter contains educational facts about the Lunar New Year celebration in Taiwan and a fun recipe for a yummy fortune cake!


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Happy New Year ... in July! This versatile collection of engaging original poems showcases New Year celebrations throughout the year and around the world.


In many places around the globe, the new year starts on January 1. But not everywhere! Chinese New Year is celebrated in January or February. Iranians observe Nowruz in March. For Thai people, Songkran occurs in April. Ethiopians greet the new year at Enkutatash in September. All these celebrations, and many others, have deep-rooted traditions and treasured customs.


Acclaimed poet Marilyn Singer has created a lively poetry collection that highlights sixteen of these fascinating festivities, some well-known and some less familiar. Together with Susan L. Roth's captivating collage illustrations, the poems take readers to the heart of these beloved holidays. Every month of the year, somewhere in the world people celebrate with joy and good wishes for a happy new year.


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Join the celebration in the kitchen as a family makes their traditional New Year's soup -- and shares the story of how Haitian independence came to be.


The shake-shake of maracas vibrates down to my toes.

Ti Gran's feet tap-tap to the rhythm.


Every year, Haitians all over the world ring in the new year by eating a special soup, a tradition dating back to the Haitian Revolution. This year, Ti Gran is teaching Belle how to make the soup -- Freedom Soup -- just like she was taught when she was a little girl. Together, they dance and clap as they prepare the holiday feast, and Ti Gran tells Belle about the history of the soup, the history of Belle's family, and the history of Haiti, where Belle's family is from. In this celebration of cultural traditions passed from one generation to the next, Jacqueline Alcántara's lush illustrations bring to life both Belle's story and the story of the Haitian Revolution. Tami Charles's lyrical text, as accessible as it is sensory, makes for a tale that readers will enjoy to the last drop.


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Ava's excited to say goodbye to el Año Viejo--but will her shyness keep her from joining in the celebration?


Ava Gabriela is visiting her extended family in Colombia for the holidays. She's excited to take part in family traditions such as making bunuelos, but being around all her loud relatives in an unfamiliar place makes Ava shy and quiet.


How will Ava find her voice before she misses out on all the New Year's fun?


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Shanté Keys and the New Year's Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport, Illustrated by Marion Eldridge


Shanté Keys loves New Year's Day! But while Grandma fixed chitlins, baked ham, greens, and cornbread, she forgot the black-eyed peas!


Oh no--it'll be bad luck without them! So Shanté sets out to borrow some from the neighbors.


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From Korean American author-illustrator Aram Kim, Tomorrow is New Year's Day follows a little girl sharing the fun customs of Seollal--the Korean Lunar New Year--with her classmates.


Seollal, the Korean Lunar New Year, is Mina's favorite day of the year.


Mina can't wait to share the customs of Seollal with all of her friends at school. She will show her classmates her colorful hanbok, demonstrate how to do sebae, and then everyone will make tasty tteokguk in the cooking room. Yum! Her little brother may even join in on the fun... if he can find a way out of his bad mood.


In this joyful book about sharing age-old cultural celebrations with new friends, Aram Kim has created a must-have book for the New Year's season. A glossary of Korean terms, with pronunciation guide, is included.


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Diverse Childrens Books

During Chinese New Year, a young boy encounters a homeless person and discovers that no gift is too small when it comes from the heart.


Sam can hardly wait to go shopping with his mom. It's Chinese New Year's Day and his grandparents have given him the traditional gift of lucky money-red envelopes called leisees (lay-sees). This year Sam is finally old enough to spend it any way he chooses. Best of all, he gets to spend his lucky money in his favorite place - Chinatown!


But when Sam realizes that his grandparents' gift is not enough to get the things he wants, his excitement turns to disappointment. Even though his mother reminds him that he should appreciate the gift, Sam is not convinced - until a surprise encounter with a stranger.

With vivid watercolor paintings, artists Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu celebrate the sights and sounds of festive Chinatown streets. In her picture book debut, author Karen Chinn tells the affecting story of a child who discovers that sometimes the best gifts come from the heart.


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All Season's Greetings and Happy ALL-idays! Learn how different families celebrate the winter season with this holiday card-inspired board book that captures the meaning of Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and more!


The time has come

to send holiday cheer

to family and friends

far and near.


We all celebrate the season

in our own special way.

Let's look at how families

prepare for each holiday!


Whether it's putting up the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, or getting ready for Kwanzaa, this story proves that the holiday season is a special time for everyone and a great way to learn about different winter holidays and send cheer to everyone you know!


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Diverse Children's books

Zhao Di wishes the New Year would never end!

Zhao Di and her friends are excited to go out at night with their paper lanterns and celebrate Chinese New Year. Each holding a unique colorful lantern with a lit candle inside, they admire the breathtaking colors while doing their best to avoid the wind and the sneaky boys in the village. Every night, until the fifteenth day of New Year, Zhao Di and her friends take part in this fun tradition, experiencing the thrill of nighttime in their village. And then--it's time to smash the lanterns!


In this cheerful book first published in China, readers are invited along with Zhao Di and her friends as they experience all the joy and excitement of this folk Chinese custom. Details about the paper lantern tradition are also included in an author's note at the end of the book.


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This exuberant story follows a Chinese American family as they prepare for the Lunar New Year.


Each member of the family lends a hand as they sweep out the dust of the old year, hang decorations, and make dumplings. Then it's time to put on new clothes and celebrate with family and friends. There will be fireworks and lion dancers, shining lanterns, and a great, long dragon parade to help bring in the Lunar New Year. And the dragon parade in our book is extra long-on a surprise fold-out page at the end of the story.


Grace Lin's artwork is a bright and gloriously patterned celebration in itself! And her story is tailor-made for reading aloud.


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Celebrate the Lunar New Year through a young girl's family traditions in this charming picture book featuring illustrations by New York Times bestselling artist Dung Ho that also includes a recipe for pineapple cakes!


Little Ren looks forward to the preparation for and festivities of Lunar New Year, but she is always too little to help make the delicious pineapple cakes that are her favorite. She watches family members rolling out the dough and loves the mouth-watering smell. Watching and waiting, when will Ren be old enough?


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