Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to Chinese culture. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about Chinese culture.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.
When it comes to children’s stories about Chinese culture, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Moving Day to popular sellers like The Year of the Book to some of our favorite hidden gems like Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas.
We hope this list of kids books about Chinese culture can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
Bringing in the New Year - A Chinese American family prepares for and celebrates the Lunar New Year, in a book that includes endnotes discussing the customs and traditions of the Chinese New Year.
Popo's Lucky Chinese New Year - When her Chinese grandmother comes to visit, a young Chinese-American girl learns of and participates in the customs and beliefs celebrating an authentic Chinese New Year.
My First Chinese New Year - Chinese New Year is a time of new beginnings. Follow one little girl as she learns how to welcome the coming year and experience all the festivities surrounding it. Karen Katz’s warm and lively introduction to a special holiday will make even the youngest child want to start a Chinese New Year tradition!
The Animals of Chinese New Year - Drawing on the myth of the Chinese zodiac, The Animals of Chinese New Year follows twelve animals as they speed across a river, competing to represent the imminent new year in a race held by the Jade Emperor,the most powerful Chinese god. Each animal competes in its own unique way.The ox works hard, the tiger is brave, the dog smiles kindly, but who will win? Bright photographs of babies demonstrating the same traits as the animals in the text, complemented by traditional Chinese graphic elements, accompany Sookfong Lee’s lively text. Orca Book Publishers is pleased to offer this book as a dual-language (English/Simplified Chinese) edition.
Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire - Priscilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins is on a tight deadline. Her baby sister is about to be born, and Cilla needs to become a bestselling author before her family forgets all about her. So she writes about what she knows best―herself! Stories from her bestselling memoir, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire, include:
Katie's Happy Mother's Day - When Katie’s mother feels unwell on the day before Mother’s Day, Katie wants to do everything she can think of to help her mother get well—but she forgot to get a present.
Keep Dancing, Katie - Katie loves being the best dancer in her dance class, so when Mattie joins the class and begins to outshine her, Katie is jealous.
The Major Eights 1: Battle of the Bands - Jasmine, Maggie, Becca, and Scarlet love jamming together, but are they ready to perform in front of a real audience in a Battle of the Bands competition? Find out in the first book of this early chapter book series! Jasmine, Maggie, Becca, and Scarlet love jamming together in Jasmine’s basement. Maggie bangs on the drums, Becca strums her guitar, Jasmine plunks the keys of her keyboard, and Scarlet wails into her hairbrush mic. Even though they may not have the best equipment, or an audience, they have fun making music to their own beat. But when Jasmine’s brother tells her about an upcoming Battle of the Bands competition, Jasmine thinks this could be their chance to prove they’re a real band. Now she just has to convince the other girls. . . . With each book told from a different girl’s perspective, this series is all about girl power, diversity, and marching to the beat of your own drum!
Want to see books about girls and women?
Chinese New Year Colors - This bilingual color concept book celebrates a rainbow of traditional objects seen during the Chinese New Year. Hóng is the color of explosive firecrackers! Jīn is the hue of lucky coins. Zŏng is the shade of sweet peanut puffs. Welcome to the festivities of the Chinese New Year, where symbolic gifts, foods, and objects come together in a celebration of beautiful colors. This vibrant, simple, and highly graphic bilingual book is the perfect introduction to Chinese and English words for colors as it honors one of the biggest holidays around the world. Includes informative back matter.
Mulan's Lunar New Year - It’s the Lunar New Year, and it happens to be Mulan’s favorite festival! There is a lot to do to prepare for this important celebration, and for the first time, Mulan is old enough to help out. But everything Mulan does seems to turn out wrong. . . . Follow along with Mulan in this special Lunar New Year story that captures the unique sense of magic, imagination, and possibility that surrounds the holiday!
D is for Dragon Dance - A bilingual introduction to the Chinese New Year in English and Chinese. From the dazzling dragon dance to the scrumptious steamed dumplings to the firecrackers that frighten away evil spirits, this alphabet book celebrates the traditions of the lunar new year. First published in 2006, this new rendition presents the English text alongside the Chinese.
Katie Saves the Earth - With Earth Day coming up, Katie decides to have a yard sale with her friends and recycle her old toys.
Red, White, and Blue and Katie Woo! - As Katie, her parents, and friends celebrate Independence Day with a parade, games, a picnic, and fireworks, the few things that go wrong do not interfere with their fun.
Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! - Ling and Ting are twins. They have the same brown eyes. They have the same pink cheeks. They have the same happy smiles. Ling and Ting are two adorable identical twins, and they stick together, whether they are making dumplings, getting their hair cut, or practicing magic tricks. But looks are deceiving—people can be very different, even if they look exactly the same.
Not Exactly the Same! - Ling and Ting are twins. They have the same brown eyes. They have the same pink cheeks. They have the same happy smiles. Ling and Ting are two adorable identical twins, and they stick together, whether they are making dumplings, getting their hair cut, or practicing magic tricks. But looks are deceiving—people can be very different, even if they look exactly the same.
Waiting for May - A young boy looks forward to the day when a new sister, who will be adopted from China, joins his family.
The Story of Chopsticks: Amazing Chinese Inventions - Enjoy the first adventure in this colorful series of how the Kang brothers discovered some of China’s most amazing inventions! Poor Kùai! The youngest boy in the Kang family never gets enough to eat. One day he comes up with a brilliant plan: he will use sticks to grab the food when it’s too hot to touch. What will his family think? Then comes a big wedding the entire village will attend… with a delicious feast to mark the occasion. Along with presents, Kùai sneaks in his sticks. Now will Kùai be in the biggest trouble of his life?
The Rock Maiden - When her fisherman husband fails to come home after a storm at sea, the beautiful maiden Ling Yee is heartbroken. Every morning, she puts her baby on her back and clambers to the top of a cliff looking for any signs of his return. But day after day, she is disappointed. The villagers try to convince her to give up her vigil. “No,” she would say, “He will come home soon.” Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Heavens, takes pity on her grief and turns Ling Yee and her child into stone so that they would mourn no more. The fisherman eventually finds his way home―only to discover that his wife has been transformed into the Rock Maiden. Will the family forever be kept apart? Or will devotion and faithfulness ultimately be rewarded? Find out in this re-envisioning of an old Hong Kong legend by award-winning author Natasha Yim, featuring stunning illustrations by renowned Finnish artist Pirkko Vainio.
Boy Dumplings: A Tasty Chinese Tale - Enjoy this hilarious and fun-filled tale, now with extra illustrations! In long ago China, a ghost can’t wait to sink his teeth into his next meal. Luckily he finds a plump boy! But can the child think fast enough to avoid becoming a midnight snack? Maybe so, if the ghost tries cooking the tricky recipe for “boy dumplings”…
The Emperor's Riddle - During a family trip to China, eleven-year-old Mia Chen and her older brother Jake follow clues and solve riddles in hopes of finding their missing Aunt Lin and, perhaps, a legendary treasure.
No Valentines for Katie (Katie Woo) - Katie Woo’s class had a special celebration for Valentine’s Day. Katie had lots of fun reading the little candy hearts that her teacher handed out. But when everyone got a special valentine except her, she felt terrible. Could it be that nobody likes Katie Woo?
Flower Girl Katie - Katie is delighted when her Aunt Patty asks her to be a flower girl—but then she starts thinking about everything that could go wrong and worries that she will spoil her aunt’s wedding.
Want to see books about multicultural?
Katie's Lucky Birthday - Katie looks forward to celebrating her birthday at school, and then finds a way to make it even more special when her friend Pedro mentions that he has a summer birthday.
Katie Woo Has the Flu - Katie misses school while she is home with the flu.
Katie and the Class Pet - Katie is so excited when her name is drawn to take the class pet, Binky,home for the weekend. Things start off great, and Katie takes good care of Binky. But when she loses him, she dreads telling her teacher and classmates.
Katie Finds a Job - As Career Day at school approaches, Katie has great ideas for helping her friends present their future professions, but cannot think of a job that she would like to do.
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Goodbye to Goldie - Katie Woo’s dog, Goldie, was very old. Goldie became sick and died. Katie will miss her friend. She is glad that she has lots of happy memories of Goldie.
Katie Woo Where Are You? - Katie and her parents are off to the mall for a day of shopping. While her mom looks for a new dress, her dad is checking out the lawn mowers and televisions. And Katie is nowhere to be found. Does Katie even know that she’s lost?
Boss of the World - It was supposed to be a fun day at the beach, but Katie Woo is being bossy. Can she stop being bossy and have fun with her friends?
Katie and the Fancy Substitute - There is an elegant substitute teacher in class today, but Katie’s attempts to impress her keep going wrong.
Want to see 8 more books about Chinese culture and feelings and emotions ?
How about books about feelings and emotions?
A Happy Day - Katie Woo loves her life and lists the many reasons she is so happy.
Make-Believe Class - One cold, gray, winter day, Miss Winkle leads Katie Woo and the rest of her class on an imaginary journey, challenging them to find ways to complete their lessons on a sunny island, under the sea, or on the moon.
Katie in the Kitchen - Katie wants to be helpful, and so she starts making dinner on her own.
Daddy Can't Dance - Katie and her father are invited to a Daddy-Daughter dance, the only problem is that her father is not a good dancer—he frequently steps on his partner’s feet.