Today’s post features children’s books related to China for the Chinese New Year. You will find a wide variety ranging from picture books for the youngest readers to YA fiction. While I am still reading a couple of these books (the YA reads), I love them already. I have reviewed some of these already on my blog while I read the others more recently and will try to give you my quick thoughts here.
A Very Happy Year of the Tiger to All Who Celebrate
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So here are the
22 Children’s Books Related to China (or about..)
A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin (4 – 8 years)
A sweet sweet read that is sure to bring smiles and familiar memories of missing mooncakes or other such treats! Grace Lin’s talents shine through both her beautiful narrative and art.
Bronze and Sunflower written by Cao Wenxuan, translated by Helen Wang, and illustrated by Meilo So (9 – 12 years, and up)
Such a tugging at heartstrings story of love, life and its hardships, family, and friendship. No wonder this book won the Hans Christian Andersen award.
Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan by Hildi Kang (8 years and up)
A coming-of-age story of a young boy as he journeys on the Silk Road. Touching wonderful historical fiction for young readers, and perfect to include with lessons about the Silk Road.
Chinese Children’s Favorite Stories by Mingmei Yip (5 – 10 years)
If you are a regular vistor here, you will already know that I love folk tales, fairy tales, myths, and legends, and more. So it is not surprising that I read and enjoyed this book. Told in simple language perfect for its intended audience and sprinkled with beautiful illustrations, this book is a great read indeed.
Dragon Dancer by Joyce Hung and illustrated by Jérémy Pailler (5 – 11 years)
I read this a few years ago and cherished the read. Great for anytime of the year, and perfect for the Lunar New Year. You can read my complete review here..
Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao (8 – 11 years)
A book I read a while ago but somehow missed reviewing here. This middle-grade fantasy novel inspired by Chinese mythology appeals to me in so many ways. I loved the combination of old and new, of myths and Chinatowns, of adventure and a whole lot of fast-paced action that is sure to keep you reading till the very end. I am yet to read book 2 of this series and hope to get to it soon.
The Girl Who Became a Goddess edited by Theresa Fuller (12 – 18 years, and up)
A wonderful collection to have in any library, especially for those who love folktales, fairy tales, or would love to read books from around the world, or just read! You can read my complete review here.
How to Catch a Dragon by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton (3 – 8 years)
Part of the How to Catch series, this book takes young readers on a wild-goose, well, actually dragon chase. A fun read for little ones.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo (14 – 17 years, and up)
This is one of the reasons I love participating in the Cybils awards. I end up reading books I would otherwise never have. This multiaward winning book is truly deserving of all its awards. While I am yet to review it here on my blog, there is so much to recommend and love it that I don’t want to get started here in this listing!
Lunar New Year by Alina Chau (2 – 4 years)
Another book, another series. This one is an adorable board book for the very youngest readers that gives you the perfect introduction to the Lunar New Year with stunning artwork.
The Magic Horse of Han Gan by Chen Jiang Hong (4 – 8 years, and up)
Part biography and history, part fable and folklore, and wholly stunning in artwork as well as its storytelling!! This is a fabulist retelling based on the real life painter Han Gan, who lived in China over 1000 years ago, and whose lifelike paintings are still revered. Hong painted all the illustrations for this book using Han Gan’s original technique of painting on silk.
The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang and illustrated by Alina Chau (4 – 8 years)
Don’t ask me to tell you what I love most about this book. You will put me in a dilemma. The artwork is vibrantly adorable and detailed, and the story of a spunky, smart protagonist who uses culinary cleverness to outwit the legendary Nian dragon is so very fun to read. As bonuses, we get to explore Shanghai and learn a lot about the culture.
Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee (12 years and up)
A book I just started reading but am loving every bit of it so far. What’s not to love after all? A historical fiction set in San Francisco that talks about survival and strength in the face of the worst odds.
Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park (10 – 12 years, and up)
I loved, loved, loved Prairie Lotus. Narrated by Hanna, a strong, intelligent, and determined 14 year old Chinese-American girl who moves east with her father to Dakota territory from California in the 1880s, this novel is one that captured my attention(and my heart) from the very first. A much needed book which is a must-read. A book that belongs in our hearts and minds. Read my complete review here.
The Race for the Chinese Zodiac by Gabrielle Wang, and illustrated by Sally Rippin
I had read the story of the race a few times already, in various versions, but this one is gorgeously illustrated and a wonderful addition to any bookshelf.
Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim and illustrated by Sophie Blackall (8 – 12 years, and up)
Ruby’s Wish is a story that inspires on so many levels – teaches perseverance, equality of gender, respect for elders, self-confidence, love of culture and love of learning. Read my full thoughts here.
The Seven Chinese Brothers by Margaret Mahy; illustrated by Jean Tseng & Mou-sien Tseng (4 – 8 years & up)
The Seven Chinese Sisters by Kathy Tucker and illustrated by Grace Lin (4 – 8 years, and up)
Both of these books are stunningly illustrated and beautifully narrated. They reminded me of the many similar tales I read growing up, including those of Ivan and Vasilisa from Russia. I know I am going to be gifting these books to myself soon! Seven siblings, each one with their own special talents and powers, work together towards a common goal.
Warriors and Wailers by Sarah Tsiang and illustrated by Martha Newbigging (9 – 12 years, and up)
A perfect read for you if you need to learn about jobs in ancient China (and even if you don’t, this makes an interesting read). Check my thoughts on this book here.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (8 – 12 years)
Grace Lin is an amazing storyteller in addition to being an awesome illustrator (Seven Sisters story above).
The Year of the Tiger by Oliver Clyde Chin and illustrated by Justin Roth (4 – 8 years)
How could I resist adding this book to the collection? It is the Year of the Tiger after all, and given I am a tiger (also kind of admitting my age here by saying so!!), I had to include this cute book that takes kids on a fun learning journey of not just the Chinese Zodiac one by one, but also teach other lessons along the away.
Zen Shorts by Jon Muth (4 – 8 years, and up)
I read Jon Muth’s The Three Questions a while ago and fell in love with his artwork and writing. His magic shines through the pages of this book as well (now I want to read the other books in this series, as well as more by Muth). The art is simply enchanting, the stories so very sweetly told while providing life lessons, and well, overall, making this a must-have and must-read. And of course, who can resist Stillwater the panda?
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, have you read any of these books? Do you have any other books related to China or about the people and culture that I can add to this list? I would love to hear any and all thoughts and recommendations