Early Elementary Books

Theme: New Year, New Opportunities

Jamaica Louise James - (ISBN: 978-0763602840)

by Amy Hest

Jamaica has a big surprise for her grandmother’s birthday, an arrangement of Jamaica’s very own paintings outside of the grandmother’s ticket booth where she works in the subway! Not only do Jamaica, her mother, and grandmother enjoy the great works of art, but also the other passengers who walk by on their way to the trains! What can you make for a relative’s birthday?

Only One Year - (ISBN: 978-1600602528)

by Andrea Cheng

Sharon’s parents send her two-year old brother to live in China for one year, and she tries to forget her confusion about this change by building a dollhouse with her younger sister and accompanying her parents to work after they get out of school. Think of a time when you made something with a sibling. What did you create together?

Sam and The Lucky Money - (ISBN: 978-1880000533)

by Karen Chinn

Sam wanders through the streets of Chinatown with his mother during the day of Chinese New Year, trying to decide how to spend his “lucky” money, the money he got in the traditional red envelopes. After he notices a homeless man, visions of that man’s face keeps haunting his thoughts. Sam thinks that probably his four dollar gift will not buy him such a big toy or a lot of candy, so what do you think he does with the good luck dollars?

The Little Match Girl - (ISBN: 978-1937004118)

by Hans Christian Andersen

A very poor little girl, trying to sell matches on New Year’s Eve, lights stick after stick to keep warm and enjoys the beautiful visions she sees inside the glow of the match light. Unfortunately, the matches do not keep her warm enough to survive the night in this fairy tale classic. Compare this book with the movie that usually shows on TV during the Christmas/New Year’s holidays.

Where’s Molly? - (ISBN: 978-0780763500)

by Uli Waas

Molly, the family’s beloved terrier, runs away when she hears the fireworks bang on New Year’s Eve. A happy reunion takes place at the local animal shelter, and the beginning of the New Year has deeper meaning for Molly’s family when the next day rolls around and everyone is home together. Did you ever have a pet run away?

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown - (ISBN: 978-0394884677)

by Charles Schultz

Just in Time for New Year’s!: A Harry & Emily Adventure - (ISBN: 978-0823418428)

by Karen Gray Ruelle

Ten Mice for Tet! - (ISBN: 0811834964)

by Peggy Deitz Shea

The Peace Bell - (ISBN: 0805078002)

by Margi Preus

Unhappy New Year, Emma - (ISBN: 978-0688083427)

by James Stevenson

Activities for this Theme

Make a Chinese paper lantern, typically used to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Color some New Year’s pictures.

Fold and decorate a pretty New Year fan.

Play a countdown game for the upcoming New Year.

Learn some Chinese symbols as you make the traditional red money envelopes decorated with Chinese calligraphy.

Make a New Year photo frame.

Take some photos of your family on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Choose your favorite picture and narrate the photo using an online tool, like Voicethread.