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  • Writer's pictureRebekah Qu

Books to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon

Updated: Jan 25


Books to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon


With the Year of the Dragon upon us, a special energy fills the air, promising excitement, courage, and a hint of magic. I've compiled a collection of enchanting books, each centered around the zodiac animals and, of course, this year's star – the dragon. From captivating picture books to sturdy board books, these tales vividly bring to life the enchanting zodiac animals and majestic dragon. Get ready for a Lunar New Year filled with wonder, wisdom, and the mythical charm of the dragon!



Shop this list on Bookshop or Amazon.




Jump to Book:


 

12 Lucky Animals: A Bilingual Baby Book

12 Lucky Animals

Author: Vickie Lee

Illustrator: Joey Chou (@choochoojoey)


This is a bilingual board book about the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Each page has a colorful illustration for the animal, then provides the animal’s name in English, Chinese, Pinyin, and a phonetic pronunciation for the Chinese name.

Personality traits for each animal are also listed in English.


Get it from Bookshop or Amazon.


Read my full review with additional pictures on Instagram.



Dragon Noodle Party: A Story of Chinese Zodiac Animals

Dragon Noodle Party: A Story of Chinese Zodiac Animals by Ying Compestine

Author: Ying Compestine (@yingchangcompestine)

Illustrator: Paula Pang (@paulalala)


It’s almost time for the party! One-by-one all the animals of the zodiac go up the hill, each one carrying an ingredient. Horse trots up the hill with a big wok. Goat strolls up the hill with wild onions.


Except for snake, that is. It’s his birthday! All of his friends have prepared long noodles to celebrate his long and happy life. Simple text is paired with delightful, friendly art in this joyous look at the Chinese tradition of preparing long noodles to celebrate birthdays, the New Year, and other festive occasions. (Description from Amazon)


Get it from Bookshop or Amazon.



Dragon's Dilemma

Dragon's Dilemma by Catherine Little

Author: Catherine Little (@books.beyond.bedtime)

Illustrator: Sae Kimura (@esalalamu)


"Dragon's Dilemma" weaves a vibrant narrative around the Emperor's Great Race for the Chinese Zodiac, presenting a unique perspective from the confident and mighty dragon. Brimming with self-assurance due to his impressive size, speed, and flight capability, Dragon initially believes his victory is certain. However, the tale takes an unexpected turn as Dragon, choosing to take a leisurely detour during the race, faces a moral quandary upon discovering drought-stricken fields in a village. The storyline beautifully encapsulates the dilemma of choosing between personal success and aiding those in need, ultimately leading Dragon to sacrifice his lead in the race to revive the villagers’ fields. This heartwarming narrative subtly imparts a valuable lesson about the significance of altruism and selflessness.


Get it from Bookshop or Amazon.



I Love Chinese New Year

I Love Chinese New Year by Wong Nava Eva

Author: Eva Wong Nava (@evawongnava)

Illustrator: Xin Li (@lixin.illustration)


'Twelve animals, one for each year, each one with their own special powers. It all started with a race to cross the most heavenly of rivers.' Chinese New Year is right around the corner and Mai-Anne is so excited! As her family start decorating the house, there's a knock on the door... her grandmother, Nai Nai, has arrived! They start their celebrations with a traditional meal filled with fish for good luck, noodles for long life, dumplings for blessings and a WHOLE chicken. Then after dinner Nai Nai tells the story of how Chinese New year began, with the Great Race! Join Mai-Anne as she learns about twelve animals and their special powers in the story of how Chinese New Year began! (Description from Amazon)


Get it from Amazon.



It's Your Year, Baby Dragon

It's Your Year, Baby Dragon from Little Bee Books



Author: Little Bee Books (@littlebeebooks)

Illustrator: Ariel Hsu (@ariel81331)


Baby Dragon is confident and powerful! Welcome the Year of the Dragon (2024) with this fun board book series introducing kids to each zodiac sign through positive personality traits and adorable animal characters.


You are confident, energetic, intelligent, and powerful, Baby Dragon! This exciting board book celebrates all the wonderful ways you interact with your world, and all the amazing attributes you have. (Description from Amazon)


Get it from Bookshop or Amazon.



Li Jian's Stories of the Chinese Zodiac Series

Li Jian's Stories of the Chinese Zodiac Series

Author / Illustrator: Li Jian


The Stories of the Chinese Zodiac series uses Chinese legends to introduce zodiac animals and their characteristics. Each story is written in both English and Chinese characters and is accompanied by stunning illustrations.


Shop the series on Bookshop or Amazon.



Lucky Lunar Animals

Lucky Lunar Animals from Bitty Bao

By: Lacey Bernard & Lulu Cheng (@bitty.bao)


Lucky Lunar Animals is about the Chinese Zodiac. The first part of the book is about the zodiac animals and includes not only the names of each animal, but some of the personality traits for each animal in both Chinese and English. The second part of the book is on elements and includes the traits for each element as well. It was fun to see an explanation of the elements and how to easily figure out your element, because most books just focus on the animals. Available in three bilingual editions: 1) Mandarin with Traditional characters, Pinyin and Zhuyin, 2) Mandarin with Simplified characters and Pinyin, and 3) Cantonese with Traditional characters and Jyutping.


Get it from Bookshop or Amazon.


Read my full review with additional pictures on Instagram.



Oliver Chin's Tales from the Chinese Zodiac Series

Oliver Chin's Tales from the Chinese Zodiac Series

Author: Oliver Chin (@immediumbooks)

Illustrator: Various


The Tales from the Chinese Zodiac series weaves the essence of each zodiac animal into a compelling coming-of-age narrative.


Get it from Bookshop or Amazon.



Ruby’s Chinese New Year

Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee

Author: Vickie Lee

Illustrator: Joey Chou (@choochoojoey)


“Ruby's Chinese New Year” is a delightful story about a young girl's journey to her grandmother's house to celebrate Lunar New Year. Ruby usually spends Lunar New Year with her grandmother, but this year her grandmother is unable to travel. So, Ruby decides to go to her grandmother instead – and take her a special gift! Along the way, Ruby meets each of the Zodiac animals. When Ruby is within sight of her grandmother’s house, something terrible happens, and Ruby thinks her gift is ruined! However, her animal friends come to the rescue and make it a wonderful Lunar New Year celebration.


Get it from Bookshop or Amazon.



The Great Race: Story of the Chinese Zodiac

The Great Race: Story of the Chinese Zodiac by Ling and Eric Lee

Author: Ling and Eric Lee (@learnchinesewithtofu)

Illustrator: Rachel Foo


The Jade Emperor invites all the animals to take part in a race to determine which animals will get to be part of the Zodiac. The cat and the rat are friends and decide to start the race together in the morning, but the rat sneaks off early without taking the cat, thus starting the bad relationship between cats and rats!


Get it from Bookshop or Amazon.


Read my full review with additional pictures on Instagram.



Twelve in a Race

Twelve in a Race by Catherine Little

Author: Catherine Little (@books.beyond.bedtime)

Illustrator: Sae Kimura (@esalalamu)


“Twelve in a Race” tells the captivating tale of the Jade Emperor’s Great Race to establish the Chinese Zodiac. Crafted in short, rhythmic verses, the narrative seamlessly engages young readers and maintaining a delightful pace. The ordered procession of animals across the finish line cleverly integrates their character traits and the corresponding Chinese characters, providing an educational layer to the story. The vibrant illustrations elevate the book's allure, presenting rich, colorful art on each page.


Get it from Bookshop or Amazon.



Welcome Tet with the Zodiac Animals

Welcome Tet with the Zodiac Animals

Author: Jessie Duong (@embebooks)

Illustrator: Feraichi (@feraichii)


This is a 30-page board book introduces the zodiac animals and their common personality traits. Each animal also shares their favorite Tết greeting to welcome the new year. Written in Vietnamese and English, this book will help you and your child brush up on Vietnamese - just in time for Tết. Purchase now to impress the elders and collect all the red envelopes (lì xì). (Description from author website)


Get it from Em be Books.


 

Do you know a fantastic book that would make a great addition to this list? I'd love to hear your recommendations! Please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts. Thank you for helping make this list even better!



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