Happy New Year's Day

Recommended Books for Teaching about New Year's Day

Webmaster's Note: The listing below highlights some of my favorite resources for use in early childhood, elementary and ESL/EFL classrooms. It is by no means all-inclusive, however. If you'd like to see more titles, please use the link on the right to search the thousands of quality books available through my partnership with Amazon.com. And remember, each time you make a purchase through this site you help keep it online.

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Picture BooksEarly ReaderAdvanced | New Year's Around the World | Teacher Resources


Picture Books

New Year's Day (Holidays and Celebrations)
New Year's Day (Holidays and Celebrations) (ages 4-6)
Written by Mari C. Schuh

Simple text and photographs describe the history of New Year's Day and the many ways in which it is celebrated.

Happy New Year, Everywhere (ages 4-8)
Happy New Year, EverywhereWritten by Arlene Erlbach; illustrated by Sharon Lane Holm

Learn about New Year celebrations in 20 countries, including Belgium, Haiti, Iran, and Israel. Each two-page spread includes dates, the traditional greeting (and pronunciation), a brief description of customs and rituals, and a related recipe, craft, or activity.

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Early Reader

A Happy New Year's Day A Happy New Year's Day (ages 6-9)
Written by Roch Carrier; illustrated by Gilles Pelletier

Readers are swept back in time to the year 1940. The world hovers on the brink of World War II, with much of Europe already swept into the fight. Yet in this small Canadian village of Sainte-Justine, families are carrying on with their traditional New Year's feasts. Find out how and why they celebrated in this beautifully-illustrated work.

New Year's Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays) New Year's Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays (Ages 4-8)
Written by David F. Marx

Part of Scholastic's Rookie Reader series, this 32-page book provides a fun, factual introduction to New Year's Day all over the world. Beginning readers trace the holiday from its ancient origins to the modern era and learn that people in different parts of the world celebrate on different days and in different ways.

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Advanced

Happy New Year! Happy New Year! (ages 8-12)
Written by Emery Bernhard; illustrated by Durga Bernhard

Learn how the traditions and superstitions surrounding contemporary New Year's celebrations reflect the holiday's ancient roots. Find out why noise-making is important in greeting the new year, why the Burmese pour buckets of water on each other, and why Jewish families eat apples dipped in honey.

New Year's Day (True Books) New Year's Day (True Books) (ages 8-12)
Written by Dana Meachen Rau

Geared toward slightly older readers, this Scholastic title delves into the history of New Year's Day, giving special attention to Pope Gregory XIII's attempt to "fix" the calendar in 1582 and his declaration that January 1 would officially mark the start of the new year. It also explores how some cultures have clung to traditions that place the start of the new year on different dates.

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New Year's Around the World

Happy New Year! Happy New Year! (ages 8-12)
Written by Emery Bernhard; illustrated by Durga Bernhard

Learn how the traditions and superstitions surrounding contemporary New Year's celebrations reflect the holiday's ancient roots. Find out why noise-making is important in greeting the new year, why the Burmese pour buckets of water on each other, and why Jewish families eat apples dipped in honey.

Happy New Year! Kung-Hsi Fa-Ts'Ai Happy New Year! Kung-Hsi Fa-Ts'Ai (ages 4-8)
Written and illustrated by Demi
Also available in hardcover

Delve into the mysteries of the Chinese New Year in this ritually illustrated picture book. Find out how people prepare for the holiday, what happens on the special day, and what the rituals mean.

Happy New Year, Everywhere Happy New Year, Everywhere (ages 4-8)
Written by Arlene Erlbach; illustrated by Sharon Lane Holm

Learn about New Year celebrations in 20 countries, including Belgium, Haiti, Iran, and Israel. Each two-page spread includes dates, the traditional greeting (and pronunciation), a brief description of customs and rituals, and a related recipe, craft, or activity.

cover Celebrating Chinese New Year (ages 4-8)
Written by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith; illustrated by Lawrence Migdale

Meet Ryan, a young Chinese-American boy living in San Francisco, and join him and his family as they prepare for the coming Chinese New Year.

Gershon's Monster: A Story for the Jewish New Year (ages 4-8)
Gershon's Monster: A Story for the Jewish New YEarWritten by Eric A. Kimmel; illustrated by Jon J. Muth

Rather than regret or atone for his ill deeds, baker Gershon simply sweeps them into his basement. Once a year on Rosh Hashanah, he stuffs these demon-shaped transgressions in a giant bag and dumps them into the Black Sea. But while Gershon goes through the motions of the solemn exercise, he doesn't truly repent. He simply drags his satchel of sins to the sea, and then returns to his old ways -- until his actions come back to haunt him. Find out how he responds -- and finds forgiveness -- in Kimmel's re-telling of this traditional Hasidic legend.

cover Tet: Vietnamese New Year (ages 4-8)
Written by Dianne M. MacMillan

Simple text and black-and-white illustrations explain the origins of the monumental Vietnamese celebration which falls on the same day as the Chinese New Year. Learn how families prepare for Tet, how they celebrate, and what various holiday traditions and symbols mean.

New Year's Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays) New Year's Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays (Ages 4-8)
Written by David F. Marx

Part of Scholastic's Rookie Reader series, this 32-page book provides a fun, factual introduction to New Year's Day all over the world. Beginning readers trace the holiday from its ancient origins to the modern era and learn that people in different parts of the world celebrate on different days and in different ways.

New Year's Day (True Books) New Year's Day (True Books) (ages 8-12)
Written by Dana Meachen Rau

Geared toward slightly older readers, this Scholastic title delves into the history of New Year's Day, giving special attention to Pope Gregory XIII's attempt to "fix" the calendar in 1582 and his declaration that January 1 would officially mark the start of the new year. It also explores how some cultures have clung to traditions that place the start of the new year on different dates.

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Teacher Resources

coverSeasonal Centers: Winter
From Teacher Created Materials

Ready-to-use reproducibles allow busy teachers to set up centers with very little prep time. Creative, hands-on activities motivate students to reinforce skills in all areas of the curriculum. On a personal note, I own all three of the books in the Seasonal Centers series and have used them extensively in the ELL setting. Most of the centers require nothing more than photocopying, coloring and laminating, and many can be adapted for use with an entire class.

ESL Teachers Holiday Activities Kit
Written by Elizabeth St. Claire

Full of ready-to-use reproducible worksheets for all major holidays. Geared toward students with intermediate English language skills.

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