In the Classroom: The Best Books on Chinese New Year

As a teacher, I am often concerned by the number of bad books out there.  Ugly books, inaccurate books, the list goes on and on.  So in preparation for this week's post, I asked my favorite librarian to share a few of her favorite books on Chinese New Year.  The following books get her seal of approval (and ours too):

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn
Celebrating Chinese New Year by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith 
Why Rat Comes First by Clara Yen  

In Sam and the Lucky Money, Karen Chinn tells the fictional story of a young boy celebrating the New Year in Chinatown with his family.  This book is perfect for the Preschool through Second Grade classroom.

Celebrating Chinese New Year by Diana Hoyt-Goldsmith is a non-fiction guide to the traditions and customs behind one family's Chinese New Year celebration. 

Why the Rat Comes First by Clara Yen explains the story behind the Chinese zodiac.

Speaking of the zodiac, as you may know, this is the Year of the Snake. In honor of the snake, we wanted to share a simple snake finger puppet project.  

This project is brought to you courtesy of SDCHM Staff Member Diana Inocencio. 

Scrap copy paper
Crayons or markers
Scrap pieces of ribbon (optional)

1. Draw a line spiraling from the outside edge of the paper to the center. This is your "snake." (Teachers, you could do this step ahead of time for your younger students.)

2. Color your snake. Don't forget to add eyes.

3. Once you have finished decorating your snake, cut along the spiral line until you get to the center.
4. Cut a small, finger-sized hole at the base of your snake's head.  Reinforce the hole with tape to prevent papercuts.
5. Optional: Tape a small piece of scrap ribbon underneath the head to make a tongue for your snake.

When everyone is finished with their puppet, get your class together for a snake dance!

- Laura Touhey

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