Monday, January 26, 2009

It's Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year begins according to the Chinese calendar which consists of both Gregorian and lunar-solar calendar systems. As the track of the new moon changes from year to year, the Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February. This year, Chinese New Year occurs on Monday, January 26. It is the Year of the Ox.

To celebrate Chinese New Year, I have two reviews for today...

Chinn, Karen.
Sam and the Lucky Money.
Lee & Low Books, Inc.: New York, NY

Ages: 5-8
Genre: Fiction, Holidays
Guided Reading Level: P


Sam is very excited to head to Chinatown for New Year's Day. Every year, as part of tradition, his grandparents give him leisees, crisp dollar bills tucked in red envelopes that are decorated with symbols of luck. This year is even better than most - Sam gets to chose how to spend his money, Mom and Dad aren't even making him the notebook or socks that he has had to other years. When they arrive on the bustling streets in China Town, crowds of people are swarming everywhere in anticipation of the New Year traditions - meals, the parade, the firecrackers, and the arrival of the festival lion. He takes his time, shopping... trying to decide what to buy. Buns? New Year's cookies? Cars, planes, robots, stuffed animals? Basketballs? Sam has settled on purchasing a basketball - until he discovers that he can afford nothing in the store. "What is four dollars good for?" He questions appearing greedy. After a scolding from his mother about appreciating what he has, Sam suddenly remembers the man on the street who had no shoes or socks. His mood quickly changes as he realizes that he can do anything he wants with his money and he opts to give all four dollars to the man so he can buy at least some socks. After giving the less fortunate man his money, Sam realizes how lucky he really is!

This is a wonderful book that depicts the Chinese New Year celebrations for Asian Americans. The vivid illustrations realistically portray many aspects of the culture as it truly exists. This would make for a wonderful read-aloud to children or could be incorporated into a unit on different Christmas/New Year's celebrations around the world.

Crane, Carol.
D is for Dancing Dragon: A China Alphabet.
Sleeping Bear Press: Chelsea, MI.

Ages: 5-12
Genre: Non-fiction
Guided Reading Level: N/A


While the book does not focus entirely on the Chinese New Year celebration, it does contain significant detailed information on the holiday for several different letters of the alphabet. The book is also a wonderful resource as it can be used with older children as well, as the text to describe each illustration is very simple but further detailed information is also provided. This book would fit well into a unit study on China (perhaps the 3rd grade level) or could again be used when learning about certain aspects of Chinese history... for example, Chinese New Year.

Lesson Plans/Book Activities:


style='clear: both;' Tarie Sabido said...

Katie, thank you so much for posting about the Lunar New Year! Kung Hei Fat Choy! :D