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Chinese New Year Books and Activities for Upper Elementary

Start learning about another major holiday this year with these Chinese New Year books and activities for upper elementary students.

The Chinese and Gregorian calendar New Year celebrations are similar but different. Although many of our students in the US would recognize the idea of staying up late at night and fireworks lighting up the sky as something that is celebrated in their communities on New Years’ Eve, the Chinese New Year celebration includes some culturally unique concepts such as wearing red and giving gifts. 

Celebrating different cultures and holidays from around the world is a significant part of the classroom experience, and for many students, the only time they learn about holidays other than those of their own culture or faith is in school. 

Giving students foundational information about different holidays from around the world provides a general understanding of different cultures and builds their general knowledge base with the information they can apply to other situations.  In addition to general learning about the holiday, students also get to see how others interact with each other, celebrate, and what other cultures believe is important or not important. 

By including even a few Chinese New Year books and activities in your upper elementary classroom, students will learn a little more about a holiday and tradition that is believed to have originated thousands of years ago and is still going strong to this day.

Chinese New Year Books and Activities for Upper Elementary Pinterest Image

Chinese New Year Books and Activities for your Upper Elementary Classroom

There are a lot of options to choose from when picking Chinese New Year books and activities for upper elementary, but I strongly recommend some of these books to start with.

Ruby's Chinese New Year Image

Ruby’s Chinese New Year

Ruby is trying to get a letter to her grandmother in this Chinese New Year story that will help kids learn a little more about the animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Chinese New Year (Mr. Men Little Miss)

In this fun book about Chinese New Year, the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters are teaching students about this large two-week celebration in a fun new way.

Mr. Men and Little Miss: Chinese New Year
National Geographic: Celebrate Chinese New Year

Celebrate Chinese New Year: With Fireworks, Dragons, and Lanterns

This book is brought to you by National Geographic and features an array of wonderful images and stories that you can experience with your students.

Celebrating Chinese New Year

This fun book written for kids will give your students a closer look into the “history, folklore, traditions, and customs of the Chinese New Year.” They also include some bonus activities for students to try!

Celebrating Chinese New Year Image
Goldy Luck and the 3 Pandas Image

Gold Luck and the Three Pandas

This fun take on the well-known Goldilocks plotline takes place in China during the Chinese New Year and includes a special recipe for turnip cakes.

How to Catch a Dragon

Kids will get an up close and personal look at a Chinese New Year experience as they follow along on a dragon chase through a traditional Chinese New Year celebration.

How to Catch a Dragon Image
The Runaway Wok Image

The Runaway Wok

In this Chinese New Years’ tale, your students will learn about the importance of generosity as they experience the story of a wok and a very special feast.

Classroom Resources

In addition to reading about the Chinese New Year, we also like to spend some time integrating the holiday into our classroom activities through reading and writing.

The Free Chinese New Year Mystery Picture Skill Review download gives students a chance to read short fiction and nonfiction passages about the holiday while coloring in a fun mystery picture. The best part is that each passage introduces students to another little piece of the Chinese New Year tradition and history.

Get this FREE download to use with your students, and if you absolutely love it, then you’ll also want to take a closer look at the Chinese New Year Close Read with Mystery Pictures resource

This close read resource includes the following longer passages, all broken down into three different reading levels. Along with each passage, students will also answer a series of reading comprehension questions and attempt to correctly complete a mystery picture based on their answers.

  • “The Legend of the Chinese New Year” is a fictional passage based on the legend of the Chinese New Year
  • “The Importance of the Zodiac” is an informational passage about the history behind the Chinese Zodiac and how it relates to the Chinese New Year
  • “The History and Traditions of the Chinese New Year” is an informational passage about the history & traditions of the holiday of Chinese New Year

To learn even more ways to use your Close Read with Mystery Picture resources, check out this post!

Chinese New Year Books and Activities for Upper Elementary Facebook Image

Using a combination of fun fiction and nonfiction books and a few classroom resources will provide your students an awesome opportunity to learn about this highly celebrated Chinese holiday as well as the history and traditions that surround it.

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