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Chinese Culture: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about Chinese culture?

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 Front Desk 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!

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Top 10 Books About Chinese Culture

#1
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Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
Written by Natasha Yim & illustrated by Grace Zong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this Chinese American retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” a careless Goldy Luck wreaks havoc on the home of a family of panda bears. She eats up the littlest panda’s rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and rumples all the blankets on his futon. When Goldy takes responsibility for her actions, she makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!) just in time for Chinese New Year.

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#2
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The Dancing Dragon
Written by Marcia K. Vaughan & illustrated by Stanley Wong Hoo Foon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

A rhyming story that describes a typical Chinese New Year celebration.

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#3
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Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom
Written by Teresa Robeson & illustrated by Rebecca Huang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on beta decay. Along the way, she earned the admiration of famous scientists like Enrico Fermi and Robert Oppenheimer and became the first woman hired as an instructor by Princeton University, the first woman elected President of the American Physical Society, the first scientist to have an asteroid named after her when she was still alive, and many other honors.

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#4
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Ruby's Chinese New Year
Written by Vickie Lee & illustrated by Joey Chou
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this picture book celebrating Chinese New Year, animals from the Chinese zodiac help a little girl deliver a gift to her grandmother. Ruby has a special card to give to her grandmother for Chinese New Year. But who will help her get to grandmother’s house to deliver it? Will it be clever Rat, strong Ox, or cautious Rabbit? Ruby meets each of the twelve zodiac animals on her journey. This picture book includes back matter with a focus on the animals of the Chinese zodiac. - GODWIN BOOKS -

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#5
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Grandpa Grumps
Written by Katrina Moore & illustrated by Xindi Yan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting from China, and try as she might, Daisy can’t get her grumpy grandpa to smile!

Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting for the first time from China, and Daisy is so excited to meet him! She has big plans for all the fun they’ll have together, like tea parties and snow angels, but when Yeh-Yeh arrives, Daisy finds him less jolly than she imagined. Throughout the week, she tries all sorts of things to get him past his grumpiness. Will she be able to make him smile before he goes home?

Kids will love this funny and heartwarming story about overcoming cultural differences and connecting across generations!

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#6
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Sam and the Lucky Money
Written by Karen Chin & illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-hwa Hu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Sam must decide how to spend the lucky money he’s received for Chinese New Year.

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#7
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Two Bicycles in Beijing
Written by Teresa Robeson & illustrated by Junyi Wu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

One, two; yi, er. Side by side, two bicycles, Lunzi and Huangche, come out of the factory. Side by side, they watch the city of Beijing from their shop window. Then a young girl comes in and buys Huangche, rolling him away from Lunzi! With the help of a delivery boy, Lunzi begins an epic race to find her friend that introduces readers to all the sights and sounds of Beijing.

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#8
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Katie Saves Thanksgiving
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

When a snowstorm causes the power to go out, Katie and her parents think their Thanksgiving dinner with JoJo and Pedro is ruined, but by being a good neighbor, Katie manages to save the day. Simultaneous.

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#9
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Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
Written by Kat Zhang & illustrated by Charlene Chua
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Meet the funny, fierce, and fearless Amy Wu, who is determined to make a perfect bao bun today. Can she rise to the occasion?

Amy loves to make bao with her family. But it takes skill to make the bao taste and look delicious. And her bao keep coming out all wrong.

Then she has an idea that may give her a second chance…Will Amy ever make the perfect bao?

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#10
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Katie Woo's Neighborhood
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Laura Zarrin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie Woo loves her community. But it’s not just the parks, stores, and services that make the neighborhood great–it’s the all of the people who build the community and make it work. With every new neighbor Katie meets, she’s inspired to find new ways to be an awesome neighbor herself!

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Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Chinese Culture and...

Books About Chinese Culture and Chinese New Year

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Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
Written by Natasha Yim & illustrated by Grace Zong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this Chinese American retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” a careless Goldy Luck wreaks havoc on the home of a family of panda bears. She eats up the littlest panda’s rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and rumples all the blankets on his futon. When Goldy takes responsibility for her actions, she makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!) just in time for Chinese New Year.

Buy book
$16.95
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$14.41
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$16.95
Used $16.95
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Add to list
The Dancing Dragon
Written by Marcia K. Vaughan & illustrated by Stanley Wong Hoo Foon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

A rhyming story that describes a typical Chinese New Year celebration.

Buy book
$6.50
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$5.53
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$6.50
Used $1.69
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Ruby's Chinese New Year
Written by Vickie Lee & illustrated by Joey Chou
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this picture book celebrating Chinese New Year, animals from the Chinese zodiac help a little girl deliver a gift to her grandmother. Ruby has a special card to give to her grandmother for Chinese New Year. But who will help her get to grandmother’s house to deliver it? Will it be clever Rat, strong Ox, or cautious Rabbit? Ruby meets each of the twelve zodiac animals on her journey. This picture book includes back matter with a focus on the animals of the Chinese zodiac. - GODWIN BOOKS -

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. Sam and the Lucky Money - Sam must decide how to spend the lucky money he’s received for Chinese New Year.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Books About Chinese Culture and Girls And Women

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Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom
Written by Teresa Robeson & illustrated by Rebecca Huang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on beta decay. Along the way, she earned the admiration of famous scientists like Enrico Fermi and Robert Oppenheimer and became the first woman hired as an instructor by Princeton University, the first woman elected President of the American Physical Society, the first scientist to have an asteroid named after her when she was still alive, and many other honors.

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Lily and the Great Quake: A San Francisco Earthquake Survival Story
Written by & illustrated by Alessia Trunfio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Lily is a twelve-year-old Chinese American girl living in San Francisco’s Chinatown when an earthquake destroys her home and sets her neighborhood on fire. Separated from her parents, Lily must help her younger brother and neighbor escape San Francisco. As the city burns, Lily struggles to keep her group close as they face peril and racism. Will Lily be reunited with her parents and make it across the bay to the safety of Oakland? Readers can learn the real story of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake from the nonfiction backmatter in this Girls Survive story. A glossary, discussion questions, and writing prompts are also provided.

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Cilla Lee-Jenkins: This Book Is a Classic
Written by Susan Tan & illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Priscilla Cilla Lee-Jenkins has just finished her (future) bestselling memoir, and now she s ready to write a Classic. This one promises to have everything: Romance, Adventure, and plenty of Drama like Cilla s struggles to be more Chinese, be the perfect flower girl at Aunt Eva s wedding, and learn how to share her best friend.

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  1. Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire - Cilla Lee-Jenkins is 50% Chinese, 50% Caucasian, and 100% destined for literary greatness! 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 include: - How she dealt with being bald until she was five - How she overcame her struggles with reading - How family traditions with her Grandma and Grandpa Jenkins and her Chinese grandparents, Nai Nai and Ye Ye, are so different Debut author Susan Tan has written a novel bursting with love and humor, as told through a bright, irresistible biracial protagonist who will win your heart and make you laugh.

  2. 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:

    • How she dealt with being bald until she was five
    • How she overcame her struggles with reading
    • How family traditions with her Grandma and Grandpa Jenkins and her Chinese grandparents, Nai Nai and Ye Ye, are so different
    Debut author Susan Tan has written a novel bursting with love and humor, as told through a bright, irresistible biracial protagonist who will win your heart and make you laugh.

  3. Disney's Mulan - The beauty and magnificence of Disney’s new animated film is brought to life in this large, ornate picture book with brief text and simple, yet elegantly rendered, artwork. The book tells the courageous story of Mulan.

  4. 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.

Books About Chinese Culture and Multicultural

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Katie Woo's Neighborhood
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Laura Zarrin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie Woo loves her community. But it’s not just the parks, stores, and services that make the neighborhood great–it’s the all of the people who build the community and make it work. With every new neighbor Katie meets, she’s inspired to find new ways to be an awesome neighbor herself!

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Front Desk
Written by Kelly Yang
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Winner of the Asian / Pacific American Award for Children's Literature!
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Prairie Lotus
Written by Linda Sue Park
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12
Prairie Lotus
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  1. Ming's Christmas Wishes - Ming wishes for three things at Christmas. First, to sing in the school Christmas choir. Second, to have a Christmas tree like the one in the department store window. And third, to feel she belongs somewhere.

  2. Change Your Name Store - An exciting story of self-discovery from Leanne Shirtliffe (of the humor blog IronicMom), with fun, colorful illustrations takes children on a journey to find their true identity and to celebrate who they are--name and all.

  3. The Year of the Book - This fully illustrated chapter book follows Anna, a young Asian-American girl, as she navigates relationships with family, friends, and her fourth-grade classroom, and finds a true best friend.

  4. Boo, Katie Woo! - Disappointed that her monster costume does not frighten anyone, Katie Woo still finds a way to have a happy Halloween.

Books About Chinese Culture and Friendship

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Two Bicycles in Beijing
Written by Teresa Robeson & illustrated by Junyi Wu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

One, two; yi, er. Side by side, two bicycles, Lunzi and Huangche, come out of the factory. Side by side, they watch the city of Beijing from their shop window. Then a young girl comes in and buys Huangche, rolling him away from Lunzi! With the help of a delivery boy, Lunzi begins an epic race to find her friend that introduces readers to all the sights and sounds of Beijing.

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Stargazing
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Stargazing is a heartwarming middle-grade graphic novel in the spirit of Real Friends and El Deafo, from New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Jen Wang.

Moon is everything Christine isn't. She's confident, impulsive, artistic . . . and though they both grew up in the same Chinese-American suburb, Moon is somehow unlike anyone Christine has ever known.

But after Moon moves in next door, these unlikely friends are soon best friends, sharing their favorite music videos and painting their toenails when Christine's strict parents aren't around. Moon even tells Christine her deepest secret: that she has visions, sometimes, of celestial beings who speak to her from the stars. Who reassure her that earth isn't where she really belongs.

Moon's visions have an all-too-earthly root, however, and soon Christine's best friend is in the hospital, fighting for her life. Can Christine be the friend Moon needs, now, when the sky is falling?

Jen Wang draws on her childhood to paint a deeply personal yet wholly relatable friendship story that's at turns joyful, heart-wrenching, and full of hope.

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Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things
Written by & illustrated by LeUyen Pham
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Here’s the first book in the beloved and hilarious Alvin Ho chapter book series, which has been compared to Diary of a Wimpy Kid and is perfect for both beginning and reluctant readers. <p/>Alvin, an Asian American second grader, is afraid of <i>everything</i>–elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all, school. He’s so afraid of school that, while he’s there, he never, <i>ever, </i>says a word. But at home he’s a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, so he can be just like his dad. <p/>From Lenore Look and <i>New York Times</i> bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham comes a drop-dead-funny and touching series with a truly unforgettable character. <p/>”Shares with Diary of a Wimpy Kid the humor that stems from trying to manipulate the world.” –<i>Newsday</i> <p/> “Alvin’s a winner.” –<i>New York Post</i>

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  1. Katie's Spooky Sleepover - Katie’s friends have come for a sleepover, and telling a scary story seems like a good idea–until she has a dream about a monster under her bed, and she wakes up to find her lucky kimono missing.

  2. Katie Woo, Super Scout - On a hike with the Super Scouts, Katie is paired up with a girl she does not know who seems much better at scouting then Katie is, but eventually Katie finds that she has discovered a new friend.

  3. 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!

  4. 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?

Books About Chinese Culture and Feelings And Emotions

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A Nervous Night
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie is nervous about a sleepover at her grandparents’ house.

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Grandpa Grumps
Written by Katrina Moore & illustrated by Xindi Yan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting from China, and try as she might, Daisy can’t get her grumpy grandpa to smile!

Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting for the first time from China, and Daisy is so excited to meet him! She has big plans for all the fun they’ll have together, like tea parties and snow angels, but when Yeh-Yeh arrives, Daisy finds him less jolly than she imagined. Throughout the week, she tries all sorts of things to get him past his grumpiness. Will she be able to make him smile before he goes home?

Kids will love this funny and heartwarming story about overcoming cultural differences and connecting across generations!

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My Day with Gong Gong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A day in Chinatown takes an unexpected turn when a bored little girl makes a connection with her grandpa.

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  1. Star of the Show - Katie is sad when she is cast as an earthworm in her school play, because that means she cannot be the star.

  2. 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.

  3. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters - Here’s the second book in the beloved and hilarious Alvin Ho chapter book series, which has been compared to Diary of a Wimpy Kid and is perfect for both beginning and reluctant readers. <p/>Alvin, an Asian American second grader who’s afraid of <i>everything</i>, is back, and his worst fear has come true: <i>he has to go camping. </i>What will he do exposed in the wilderness with bears and darkness and . . . pit toilets? Luckily, he’s got his night-vision goggles and water purifying tablets and super-duper heavy-duty flashlight to keep him safe. And he’s got his dad, too. <p/> From Lenore Look and <i>New York Times</i> bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham comes a drop-dead-funny and touching series with a truly unforgettable character. <p/>”Shares with Diary of a Wimpy Kid the humor that stems from trying to manipulate the world.” –<i>Newsday</i> <p/> “Alvin’s a winner.” –<i>New York Post</i>

  4. 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.

Books About Chinese Culture and Holidays

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Katie Saves Thanksgiving
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

When a snowstorm causes the power to go out, Katie and her parents think their Thanksgiving dinner with JoJo and Pedro is ruined, but by being a good neighbor, Katie manages to save the day. Simultaneous.

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A New Year's Reunion
Written by Yu Li-Qiong & illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Maomao s dad works many miles away, but he is coming home for New Year!Little Maomao s father works in faraway places and comes home just once a year, for Chinese New Year. At first Maomao barely recognizes him, but before long the family is happily making sticky rice balls, listening to firecrackers, and watching the dragon dance in the streets below. Papa gets a haircut, makes repairs to the house, and hides a lucky coin for Maomao to find. Which she does! But all too soon it is time for Papa to go away again. This poignant, vibrantly illustrated tale, which won the prestigious Feng Zikai Chinese Children s Picture Book Award in 2009, is sure to resonate with every child who misses relatives when they are away and shows how a family s love is strong enough to endure over time and distance.

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Nian, the Chinese New Year Dragon
Written by Virginia Loh-Hagan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

2020 Feather Quill Reviewer’s Choice Award <p> Mei hates springtime. Why? Because it’s only in the spring that Nian, a fierce dragon, is able to leave his mountain prison under the sea to terrorize the local village. When the villagers hear the rumblings of Nian’s hungry stomach, they know that winter has ended and spring is coming. But this year on the night before the first day of spring, a magical warrior visits Mei in her dreams. He tells Mei that it is her destiny to face and defeat Nian. But she must do it within 15 days or the dragon will be free forever. Author Virginia Loh-Hagan (PoPo’s Lucky Chinese New Year) gives this retelling of the Nian legend an original twist, while explaining the origins of Chinese New Year traditions.

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  1. 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.

  2. Katie Saves the Earth - With Earth Day coming up, Katie decides to have a yard sale with her friends and recycle her old toys.

Books About Chinese Culture and Family Life

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Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
Written by Kat Zhang & illustrated by Charlene Chua
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Meet the funny, fierce, and fearless Amy Wu, who is determined to make a perfect bao bun today. Can she rise to the occasion?

Amy loves to make bao with her family. But it takes skill to make the bao taste and look delicious. And her bao keep coming out all wrong.

Then she has an idea that may give her a second chance…Will Amy ever make the perfect bao?

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Moving Day
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie Woo’s family is moving to a new house. Katie will miss her old room, and she thinks her new house seems a little weird. Her parents say it will feel like home soon enough, but she’s just not sure.

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Ruby Lu, Star of the Show
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

Ruby is starting third grade, and she can’t wait! In third grade you get to join clubs, like for knitting and ballroom dancing and yoga. In third grade you get to sign up for a musical instrument (Ruby is convinced that she is destined to play the harp) and play in the orchestra. In third grade you also get to learn cursive…and that’s only the beginning! But for Ruby Lu, third grade also means an especially big change: her father loses his job. When her mother goes to work to support the family, Ruby and Oscar have to adjust to her father’s bizarre caretaking, which is definitely not all fun and games. And then there’s the fact that money is tighter than ever. Ruby is determined to change things, though. Surely there’s a way for her to make a million dollars! <p/>As Ruby is about to discover, making money isn’t easy…but having a loving family is the most valuable thing of all. This is another funny, charming, heartfelt gem from Lenore Look.

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  1. 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!

  2. 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.

Books About Chinese Culture and America

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Popo's Lucky Chinese New Year
Written by Virginia Loh-Hagan & illustrated by Renne Benoit
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

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.

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Mountain Chef
Written by Annette Bay Pimentel & illustrated by Rich Lo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The true story of a Chinese American mountain man who fed thirty people for ten days in the wilderness–and helped inspire the creation of the National Park Service. Tie Sing was born in the mountains. The mountains were in his blood. But because he was of Chinese descent at a time in America when to be Chinese meant working in restaurants or laundries, Tie Sing’s prospects were limited. But he had bigger plans. He began cooking for mapmakers and soon built a reputation as the best trail cook in California. When millionaire Stephen Mather began his quest to create a national park service in 1915, he invited a group of influential men–writers, tycoons, members of Congress, and even a movie star–to go camping in the Sierras. Tie Sing was hired to cook. Tie Sing planned diligently. He understood the importance of this trip. But when disaster struck–twice!–and Tie Sing’s supplies were lost, it was his creative spirit and quick mind that saved the day. His sumptuous menus had to be struck and Tie Sing had to start over in order to feed the thirty people in the group for ten whole days. His skills were tested and Tie Sing rose to the challenge. On the last night, he fed not just the campers’ bodies, but also their minds, reminding them to remember and protect the mountains. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, created by Congress on August 25, 1916. Today, you can hike to Sing Peak, named for Tie Sing, in Yosemite National Park.

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Red, White, and Blue and Katie Woo!
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

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.

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  1. Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me - Not long after arriving in North America from China, a young girl and her father bump into a kind old man at their local park. They have no idea that he has been teaching young people music for over fifty years. Mr. Mergler can hear music in a way that most of us can’t, and he knows this little girl has a talent that, with encouragement, will grow into something magical. He gives her a gift that will tie them together forever

  2. Hannah Is My Name - “Based on her own immigration story, Yang’s offering is a winner — a spot-on depiction of the immigration experience in America.” — KIRKUS REVIEWS It’s a long way from Taiwan to San Francisco, but Hannah’s family has made the journey because they want to make America their home. In America, Baba tells his daughter, people are free to say what they think, and children can grow up to be whatever they choose. As Hannah takes a new name, starts a new school, learns a new language, and adjusts to a new way of life, they all wait — and hope — for the arrival of the green cards that will assure they are finally home to stay.

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Books About Chinese Culture and History

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Lunar New Year
Written by Hannah Eliot & illustrated by Alina Chau
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Learn all about the traditions of Lunar New Year—also known as Chinese New Year—with this fourth board book in the Celebrate the World series, which highlights special occasions and holidays across the globe.

After the winter solstice each year, it’s time for a celebration with many names: Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, and Lunar New Year! With beautiful artwork by Chinese illustrator Alina Chau, this festive board book teaches readers that Lunar New Year invites us to spend time with family and friends, to light lanterns, and set off fireworks, dance with dragons, and to live the new year in harmony and happiness.

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Bruce Lee: My First Bruce Lee
Written by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara & illustrated by Miguel Bustos
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

In this board book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Bruce Lee, the martial artist and Hollywood film star.

Born in San Francisco but raised in Hong Kong, Bruce Lee was the child star of Hong Kong cinema. But, after getting into trouble as a teenager, his father sent him to live in America. Starring roles were hard to come by for Asian-American actors in Hollywood, but Bruce went on to act in blockbuster hits, featuring his skill as a martial artist. Babies and toddlers will love to snuggle as you read to them the engaging story of this fascinating star, and will also enjoy exploring the stylish and quirky illustrations of this sturdy board book on their own.

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children.

Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!

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Chinese New Year Colors
Written & illustrated by Richard Lo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

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  1. 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?

  2. Earth Dragon Awakes: The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 - Over the years the earth has moved many times under San Francisco. But it has been thirty-eight years since the last strong earthquake. People have forgotten how bad it can be. But soon they will remember.

  3. Dragon's Gate - Otter has always dreamed of going to America, “the Land of the Golden Mountain.” There, together with his adoptive father and his hero, Uncle Foxfire, he plans to learn everything he can about American technology. Armed with this knowledge, they can all return to China and carry out the Great Work - to free China from the tyranny of the Machu and other invaders.

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Books About Chinese Culture and China

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Dim Sum for Everyone!
Written & illustrated by Grace Lin
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A Chinese American family sits down to enjoy a traditional dim sum meal. Dumplings, cakes, buns, and tarts are wheeled out in little dishes on trolleys, and each family member gets to choose a favorite treat! Lin’s bold and gloriously patterned artwork is a feast for the eyes. Her story is simple and tailor-made for reading aloud to young children, and she includes an informative author’s note for parents, teachers, and children who want to learn more about the origins and practice of dim sum.

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12 Lucky Animals: A Bilingual Baby Book
Written by Vickie Lee & illustrated by Joey Chou
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Vickie Lee and Joey Chou’s illustrated 12 Lucky Animals is a young, dual-language animal concept book introducing Chinese characters and the animals of the Chinese zodiac…

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Starry River of the Sky
Written by Grace Lin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
From bestselling author Grace Lin comes the companion to the Newbery Honor winner Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and the National Book Award finalist When the Sea Turned to Silver.
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  1. The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes - Ming Da is only nine years old when he becomes the emperor of China, and his three advisors take advantage of him by stealing his stores of rice, gold, and precious stones. But Ming Da has a plan. With the help of his tailors, he comes up with a clever idea to outsmart his devious advisors: He asks his tailors to make “magical” new clothes for him. Anyone who is honest, the young emperor explains, will see the clothes’ true splendor, but anyone who is dishonest will see only burlap sacks. The emperor dons a burlap sack, and the ministers can’t help but fall for his cunning trick.

  2. 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.

  3. 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”…

  4. The Story of Kites - Ting, Pan, and Kùai are tired of working in the rice fields, protecting the harvest from the birds. They try everything – they bang pots, blow whistles, and wave their arms. If only they could fly, they’d drive those birds away forever! Then the boys get an idea: if they made wings, they could fly! Using paper, straw, and feathers, the boys try to launch themselves into the sky from the hilltop above the rice fields. Kersplash! What else can the Kang boys come up with to keep those naughty birds away from their rice? Enjoy the third adventure of the Kang brothers who discovered some of China’s most amazing inventions — now with a new bilingual Chinese translation!

Books About Chinese Culture and Siblings

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The Dragon Warrior
Written by Katie Zhao
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Inspired by Chinese mythology, this high-action middle-grade fantasy follows an outcast as she embarks on a quest to prove herself–perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and The Serpent’s Secret. As a member of the Jade Society, twelve-year-old Faryn Liu dreams of honoring her family and the gods by becoming a warrior. But the Society has shunned Faryn and her brother Alex ever since their father disappeared years ago, forcing them to train in secret. Then, during an errand into San Francisco, Faryn stumbles into a battle with a demon–and helps defeat it. She just might be the fabled Heaven Breaker, a powerful warrior meant to work for the all-mighty deity, the Jade Emperor, by commanding an army of dragons to defeat the demons. That is, if she can prove her worth and find the island of the immortals before the Lunar New Year. With Alex and other unlikely allies at her side, Faryn sets off on a daring quest across Chinatowns. But becoming the Heaven Breaker will require more sacrifices than she first realized . . . What will Faryn be willing to give up to claim her destiny? This richly woven contemporary middle-grade fantasy, full of humor, magic, and heart, will appeal to readers who love Roshani Chokshi and Sayantani DasGupta.

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Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything
Written by & illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

When Ruby’s cousin Flying Duck emigrates from China to live with her, Ruby decides the best thing about Flying Duck is that she is a great new friend. BUT the worst thing about Flying Duck is that now, no one speaks English at home. Plus, there’s strange food on the table every night and only chopsticks to eat it with. And Flying Duck is deaf, and Ruby doesn’t know any Chinese Sign Language. <p/> As if that weren’t enough, this summer proves to be even more perilous as Ruby faces the dangers of swimming lessons, the joys of summer school, the difficulty of staying with a twelve-step program, the miracle needed to keep a beautiful stray dog that wanders into her life, and much more. Is it all too much for anyone – even the Empress of Everything – to handle?

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Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!
Written & illustrated by Grace Lin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

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.

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  1. 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.

  2. Waiting for May - A young boy looks forward to the day when a new sister, who will be adopted from China, joins his family.

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Books About Chinese Culture and School

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The Big Lie
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon and Fran Manushkin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Jake’s new toy plane is missing. No one knows where it is, except Katie Woo. But Katie wants to keep the plane. What should she do?

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No More Teasing
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

A mean boy always teases Katie Woo. It makes Katie sad and mad. How can she make the bully stop teasing her?

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Katie's Lucky Birthday
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

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.

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  1. Katie Woo Has the Flu - Katie misses school while she is home with the flu.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

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Books About Chinese Culture and New Experiences

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Cartwheel Katie
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie is enrolled in a gymnastics class, but when she has trouble doing some of the moves she gets discouraged and considers dropping out.

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Katie's Noisy Music
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie Woo wants to learn an instrument, but she is having trouble deciding what kind of music suits her best.

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Fly High, Katie!
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie is flying to Florida to visit her grandmother, but she has never been on an airplane before.

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  1. Piggy Bank Problems - Katie goes to the bank with her friends JoJo and Pedro, and learns the value of having a place to keep her money.

  2. 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.

Books About Chinese Culture and Places And Regions

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The Tricky Tooth (Katie Woo)
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Everyone in Katie Woo’s class has lost a tooth, except her! She tries everything she can think of to make her wiggly tooth fall out, but nothing works. Will she ever lose her tricky tooth?

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Make-Believe Class
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon and Fran Manushkin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

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.

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Katie in the Kitchen
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie wants to be helpful, and so she starts making dinner on her own.

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  1. Katie and the Fancy Substitute - There is an elegant substitute teacher in class today, but Katie’s attempts to impress her keep going wrong.

  2. Katie Goes Camping - Katie has a wonderful time camping with her friends Pedro and JoJo, but when it gets dark the shadows make ordinary things seem frightening.

  3. Best Season Ever - Katie and her friends Pedro and JoJo disagree over which season of the year is the best.

  4. Moo, Katie Woo! - Katie and her class visit a farm, and find out where eggs and milk come from.

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