Asian New Year Picture Books and Crafts

Asian New Year Books and Crafts

Author Debbi Michiko Florence and I are creating a six-part Asian Culture Series with books, activities, and recipes. We are kicking off the series by looking at the Asian New Year.

This is part one of our 6 Part Asian Craft and Culture Series:

Did you know that Japanese New Year and Korean New Year are celebrated on January 1st, but Chinese New Year and Tet, Vietnamese New Year, is celebrated based on the lunar calendar? (More Chinese New Year books here.)

microwave mochi for Japanese New Year

Today, we are sharing:

  • Making mochi the easy way by way of a microwave!
  • A Chinese Red Envelope Craft
  • A picture book list for Asian New Year

Thanks for coming on our Asian Culture series journey. Will you celebrate an Asian New Year this upcoming year? We hope this post will make it easier!


Recipe: Microwave Mochi

Debbi Michiko Florence has this recipe on her website: Microwave Mochi Recipe.

easy microwave mochi recipe

I found Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour at my local Korean Supermarket, but you can also buy it online at Amazon. 3 boxes are $10.

You will need:

  • Mochiko Japanese Rice Flour (1.5 cups)
  • white sugar (1 cup or 3/4 cup if you like it less sweet)
  • water (1.5 cups)
  • cooking spray or oil

making mochi

  1. Mix the ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
  2. Pour into greased microwavable pan.
  3. Cook in microwave on high for 7.5 minutes.
  4. Pour mochi onto cutting board dusted with Mochiko powder.
  5. Cool and cut into squares.
  6. Eat by dipping into soy sauce if you like savory or cinnamon sugar if you like sweet.

easy Japanese sweets mochi

Activity: Make Chinese Red Envelopes

If you want to make your own Chinese Red Envelopes, I have a printable craft here. I did this craft with my son’s 2nd grade class. If you want to explore China further, you can print out replicas of Chinese money to cut out and put in the envelopes too.

Asian New Year Picture Books

Japanese New YearJasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic

Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is a younger sister who never gets to do anything first. For this year’s New Year’s celebration, her older sister gets to help the women roll mochi for the first time. Jasmine decides she will have her own first: the first female in her family to pound mochi with the men! [early chapter book, ages 6 and up]

Chinese New YearThe Nian Monster by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Alina Chau

In a previous post, I shared Grace Lin’s take on why Tiki Tiki Tembo is problematic as a picture book, and gave a list of Chinese New Year picture books to use instead.

The Nian Monster would be my first choice to replace Tiki Tiki Tembo as it also is an exciting story of overcoming danger but this book also shows why the special foods used to celebrate Chinese New Year also helped in defeating the Nian monster. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Vietnamese New YearTen Mice for Tet by Pegi Deitz Shea and Cynthia Weill, illustrated by To Ngoc Trang

Janet Wong shared a list of Lunar New Year celebrations and picture books on the Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog with web resources for your lunar new year celebration research:

Cambodian/Khmer Chaul Chnam Thmey

Chinese New Year

Korean New Year

Mongolian Tsagaan Sar

Thai Songkran

Tibetan Losar

Vietnamese Tết

Ten Mice for Tet counts down the preparations and celebration of Tet with end notes that give more background on Tet. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

Korean New YearNew Clothes for New Year’s Day by Hyun-joo Bae

Asian New Year celebrations include getting ready for the New Year by cleaning the house, preparing special food, and getting new clothes. In this Korean celebration, a little girl gets dressed in a special hanbok that her mother made for her. A hanbok is the traditional Korean dress that includes a wrap around skirt, short jacket, vest and bag. It is typically colorful and beautifully embroidered. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord
Ten-year-old Bandit Wong emigrates to America in 1947 from China and assimilates into the Chinese-American Shirley Temple Wong. Shirley’s adjustment to America is not easy. Because birthdays are counted differently in China, Shirley is placed as a ten-year-old into her new school and struggles to fit in as she learns English and tries to make friends. When spring comes, Shirley learns to play stick ball with the help of a new friend, and following Jackie Robinson and the Brookyn Dodger’s quest for the pennant shows Shirley that America is, indeed, the land of opportunity. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
It’s the Year of the Dog and Pacy focuses on finding her talent and making new friends.  This is the first book of Grace Lin’s beloved Pacy series that reflects her own childhood. The Year of the Dog turns out to be a very lucky year for Pacy.  [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
The Year of the Rat by Grace Lin
The sequel to The Year of the Dog finds Pacy dealing with big changes that this year portends.  Her best friend Melody moves away, and Pacy struggles with filling that void which brings forth questions about racism and her own identity. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

Asian New Year Picture Books and Crafts

I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my blog, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you. I use this money to pay for postage and handling for my giveaways.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Wonderful post! I might have to “borrow” this idea and do one for South Asian holidays. 😉
    Darshana Khiani recently posted…Earth! My First 4.54 Billion YearsMy Profile

  2. Hooray for Andrea & Debbi & their books!!! Thanks for sharing this, Mia!

  3. Soon it will be Chinese New Year !! I’m so impressed you made Mochi . Happy MCBD !! As always it’s such a joy to do this together.
    Valarie recently posted…Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 Book Review Linkup!My Profile

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