Well, considering it’s the last day of our Chinese New Year holidays, I thought I’d share the books we’ve been reading the last few weeks. We’ll start with Jaylene’s favorite.

Come to the party!

Come to the party – Celebrate Chinese Festivals by Suzanne Lauridsen and Sally Heinrich. ISBN 981-229-417-1 Publisher: Asiapac Books PTE LTD

We found this book to be the most similar to our own celebrations for each holiday. The illustrations are cute and we liked how Ling explains everything to her friend Max. Jaylene especially enjoyed the parts where Ling tells Max the stories about how the traditions began. The only concern I have is that there’s a lot of talk about ghosts and other potentially scary topics (Chu Yuan’s suicide comes to mind). While I think it’s important for Jaylene to be able to discuss them as they’re bound to come up with each celebration, it might be a bit much for someone who is not immersed in the culture.

Lanterns and firecrackers

Lanterns and Firecrackers – A Chinese New Year story. By Johnny Zucker and Jan Barger Cohen. ISBN 0-7641-2688-7 Publisher: Barron

A nice little book with cute illustrations. We didn’t get too into it for some reason, perhaps because Jaylene loved the “Come to the Party” one so much.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Kung-His Fa-Ts’ai bye Demi. ISBN: 0-517-88592-1 Publisher: Crown Publishers INC.

We read this a few times, well, portions of it. It’s a bit wordy. The illustrations are somewhat traditional and there isn’t an obvious story line. I bought it mainly for the wealth of information it holds. It gives simplified meanings for the various New Year plants, explains the symbolism behind the New Year foods and gives the names and responsibilities of the various deities involved. If I ever get around to making that countdown for Chinese New Year I’ll be working off a design from this book using the lunar cycle.

Chinese New Year's Dragon

Chinese New Year’s Dragon by Rachel Sing, illustrated by Shao Wei Liu. ISBN: 0-671-88602-9 Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks

There are beautiful illustrations in this one and a story that captivates the imagination. Jaylene really liked this one, but was a bit confused when they used Chinese Transliteration for some terms. My Chinese Zodiac animal is the dragon so I had to snap this book up, even though this is the year of the pig.

We’ll continue to read these books until Lantern festival is finished. Then when we take down our New Year decorations they’ll be packed away until next year. I’ll probably take out “Come to the Party” when the other festivals roll around because Jaylene enjoyed it so much.

Wish me well as I head back to work tomorrow. It’s been a month so perhaps I’ve forgotten all I need to know!