My First Chinese New Year

( 2 )


Chinese New Year is a time of new beginnings. Follow one little girl as she learns how to welcome the coming year and experience all the festivities surrounding it. Karen Katz's warm and lively introduction to a special holiday will make even the youngest child want to start a Chinese New Year tradition!

A girl and her family prepare for and celebrate Chinese New Year.

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Chinese New Year is a time of new beginnings. Follow one little girl as she learns how to welcome the coming year and experience all the festivities surrounding it. Karen Katz's warm and lively introduction to a special holiday will make even the youngest child want to start a Chinese New Year tradition!

A girl and her family prepare for and celebrate Chinese New Year.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The tale radiates warmth and quietly builds up to the dramatic dragon dance and the traditional greeting of ‘Gung Hay Fat Choy!’ The collage illustrations, cut from paper with colorful Asian designs, also include paint and other media to capture the joyful celebrants. This is a clear introduction to the holiday that young children will enjoy in one-on-one or group read-alouds.” —School Library Journal

“This one’s a winner.” —Kirkus Reviews

Praise for My First Kwanzaa:

“The simple text and colorful folkloric illustrations with vivid patterns make this a good book to share with young children.” —School Library Journal

Praise for Over the Moon:

“An ebullient tribute for families whose members may have come from a faraway place.” —Publishers Weekly

Praise for The Colors of Us:

“Katz’s pencil-and-gouache pictures joyously convey the range of human pigmentation. Positive and useful.” —School Library Journal

“Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love.” —Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Karen Katz introduces readers to the traditions and importance of this holiday in China with My First Chinese New Year. "Red means good luck and happiness in China" reads the text, as mother and child hang patterned red tissues for decoration. The girl narrator "sweep[s] away the bad luck from last year" with her younger sister and makes an altar "to honor our ancestors" with her grandfather, among other activities sure to inspire readers and their kin. The family enjoying a banquet and a colorful parade round out the fun. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Vibrant illustrations done in collage and mixed media accompany this simple story explaining the traditions surrounding the Chinese New Year celebrations. The narrator and her family are preparing for the big event. She hangs red papers with her mother, buys plum and quince blossoms with her father, and makes an alter with her Grandpa, decorated with oranges and tangerines. Along with her sister, the narrator has her hair cut in honor of the new year, and they grab hold of a broom to sweep out bad luck. Grandma helps make a special soup. The reasons for each tradition are explained in simple sentences. The story culminates with the big parade. The family watches the Lion Dancers, drummers, and floats, which all precede the grand finale: the Dragon. "Gung Hay Fat Choy!" declares the last page, "Happy New Year!" A brief author's note is included at the end of the book, explaining the Chinese calendar and the significance of the traditions. 2004, Henry Holt and Company, Ages 4 to 8.
—Mary Loftus
Kirkus Reviews
A girl and her family celebrate the Chinese New Year in Katz's engaging offering. Throughout, holiday traditions and symbolism are clearly and simply explained. "Red means good luck and happiness in China," the girl says, as she and her mother hang colorful banners throughout the house. Later, purchasing plum and quince blossom with her father, she says, "The tiny buds remind us that new things can always grow." With her grandmother, the girl makes soup "to bring good health." Katz uses bright colors and energetic patterns in her collage and mixed-media illustrations to capture the excitement that surrounds the celebration. At the New Year's Day parade, a multicultural crowd lines the street, reflecting the diversity of urban America. Gung Hay Fat Choy! This one's a winner. (author's note) (Picture book. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250018687
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 12/11/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 588,192
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.98 (w) x 8.82 (h) x 0.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Katz has been an illustrator and graphic designer for many years. She has a special interest in folk art from around the world and has written and illustrated more than ten books for children, including Over the Moon, The Colors of Us, Counting Kisses, and My First Kwanzaa. Ms. Katz and her family divide their time between New York City and Woodstock, New York.



From painting and sculpture to quiltmaking and costume design, Karen Katz has been making art in one form or another all her life. But it was not until she and her husband adopted a baby from Guatemala that she considered a career in children's books. Published in 1997, her debut picture book, Over the Moon, told the story of one adoptive family's happy beginnings in a country far away. Since then, Katz has gone on to create many award-winning picture, board, and novelty books that capture the joys of childhood in simple storylines, vibrant colors, and winsome illustrations. Some include count-down elements (Counting Kisses, Ten Tiny Tickles) or interactive features (Where Is Baby's Belly Button?, Peek-A-Baby); still others introduce holiday traditions (My First Kwanzaa, My First Chinese New Year) or reinforce good habits, manners, or behavior (Excuse Me!, No Biting!, I Can Share).

Perhaps the secret to Katz's success (besides the undeniable appeal of her signature round-headed babies!) can be summed up in this quote taken directly from the author/artist's website: "When an idea for a story pops into my head, I ask these questions: Will a child want to read this book? Will parents want to read this book with their children? Will this book make a child laugh? Will this book make a parent and child feel something? Is there something visual here that will hold a child's interest? Will a child see something in a different way after reading this book? If the answer to any of those questions is 'yes,' then I know I'm on the right track."

Good To Know

Katz explains the difference between designing picture books and board books in this way:
Picture books usually have more words in them but they tell more of a narrative story. Board books are usually simpler. They are generally 6 spreads and are about one concept. When I create a board book, I try to make something that is very interactive for the baby, with flaps and pull tabs and lots of surprises. Board books are a perfect size for a baby's hand to hold and touch. Babies can have an experience all by them selves with a good board book and can also have a good lap-time experience with a mommy or daddy or caregiver. Picture books take a little more care since the pages can rip. With a board book, you can throw it in a stroller, chew on the corners and even wipe off mashed peas.

Katz has received numerous awards for her work, including:

  • Smithsonian, People, and Parent Guide magazines Best Books designation, all 1997, all for Over the Moon
  • Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award nomination, Florida Reading Association Award nomination, and Child magazine Best Book designation, all 2000, all for The Colors of Us
  • National Parenting Publications Gold Award, and Child magazine Best Book designation, both 2001, and Bank Street School Books Committee Best Book designation, 2002, all for Counting Kisses
  • Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, 2002, for Counting Kisses and Twelve Hats for Lena.
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      1. Education:
        Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia; Yale Graduate School of Art and Architecture
      2. Website:

    Customer Reviews

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    Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted March 10, 2009

      My daughter learned about the traditions of the Chinese New Year

      After reading this my daughter and I were able to learn some of the traditions of the Chinese New Year celebrations. This knowledge will be used for the future when we adopt our next daughter from China.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted February 15, 2013

      No text was provided for this review.

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