Chinese New Year Storytime


Happy Chinese New Year!

Today marks the Lunar New Year, so for yesterday’s storytime we celebrated the event with some special books and a dragon craft. It was by far the biggest crowd I’ve ever read to (about 60+). A great way to ring in the new year!

Chinese New Year Storytime Line Up:

Bringing In the New Year by Grace Lin

Grace Lin is the author of the critically acclaimed Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and her new 2012 novel, Dumpling Days. This picture book was a wonderful introduction to the festivities of the Chinese New Year. If you haven’t read any of her books yet, please do. She writes books for all ages.

A New Year’s Reunion by Yu Li Qiong, illustrated by Zhu Cheng Liang

I wasn’t going to read this book at first be cause I thought it too serious, but my husband persuaded me to add it back into the lineup and I’m glad he did. A heartfelt book about a father who is a migrant worker traveling home only once every year for the Chinese New Year.

Ten Mice for Tet! by Pegi Deitz Shea and Cynthia Weill, illustrated by Ngoc Trang To, embroidery by Pham Veit-Dinh

A simple introduction to the celebration of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year also celebrated on the Lunar New Year.

Tikki Tikki Tembo retold by Arlene Mosel, illustrated by Blair Lent

The classic folktale. I was read this book by my school librarian when I was a a wee young girl and the majority of the kids yesterday recognized this widely read book as well.

Fortune Cookies by Albert Bitterman, illustrated by Chris Raschka

A fun finish to a more serious storytime, Fortune Cookies illustrates one girl’s week of adventures day by day, fortune cookie by fortune cookie.

Chinese New Year Craft:

It’s the year of the Dragon! Way cooler than the pig (what I am), or the rat, or the goat. And much more fun to find a craft for. Attached to the handouts I give at storytime was a Chinese Zodiac Calendar, which the kids really enjoyed looking at and finding out which animal they were.

Once I saw this dragon puppet craft circulating pintrest via JellyFish Jelly a few months back, I have been saving and saving toilet paper and paper towel rolls. It had to be done. And the kids LOVED it.

Materials needed: solo cups, paper towel/toilet paper tubes, sting or yarn, paint stirrer or a ruler or a stick, cut-out paper dragon faces, and cray paper.

There was quite a crowd and I wasn’t prepared to have so many people in attendance and unfortunately ran out of dragons to make. Thankfully, I had swedish fish to hand out as a backup along with a few dragon mask printouts.

The dozens of toilet paper tubes were cut in half  and paper towel tubes were cut into sixths.

Poked holes in all the cup bottoms with an old seam ripper. You can also use scissors or a tack.

Cut a piece of yarn about 12-14 inches and double knot the end. Start threading first a cup, then a tube, cup, then tub, etc. until you’ve threaded all 6 or 7 cups. The last cup does not need a tube. Double knot the end.

When I first started making them, I used 7 cups (and 6 tubes) per dragon, but quickly switched to 6 cups (and 5 tubes) so I could make more dragons.

After strung together I hole-punched the first cup near the rim, and the third to last cup.

Then I cut two strings in equal length in the desired length you’d like your puppet to hang.

Tie a tight double knot to of one of the strings to the first hole-punched hole of the first cup. This is going to be the head of the dragon.

Tie the other end of the string to a stick. I used free paint stirrers from Home Depot. They were very nice about giving me a large quantity.

Do the same with the second string except tie one end to the third to last cup and the other end to the stick/paint stirrer.

Now it’s time to decorate. I printed out dragon faces on colored paper to be glued or taped to the head.

I also taped strips of cray paper to the bottom of the cups.

About 4-5 strips per cup.

And that’s it.

A Mighty Dragon Puppet!

If my instructions seemed a bit too abbreviated, printable instructions can be found at JellyFish Jelly.

Happy New Year!

image sources: bringing in the new year, new year reunion, ten mice for tet, tikki tikki tembo, fortune cookies, dragon paper cut,


9 Responses to “Chinese New Year Storytime”

  1. El Capitan says:

    60 plus in attendance! Holy crap, that’s a lot……word must be getting out as to how awesome story time is. Back when I went in ole 2011, there wasn’t nearly that many.

    Nice dragon craft too!

    • Rebecca says:

      I don’t think I can take credit for how many people were there. There was an event celebrating the library’s fundraising goals right after. Even if it was a fluke, it was fun!

  2. Miya says:

    I can’t tell you how much you have made my day! Thank you for linking me and for such a thorough presentation of my cup dragon. How awesome is it that I can draw a picture in Perth, Australia and it gets printed out in Kansas?! Thanks again, Miya

    • Rebecca says:

      Hi Miya! Thank YOU for the great idea! It was a hit!! I love reading your blog and was so excited to share one of your crafts for storytime. We’re connected through crafting :) Many thanks and all the best, Rebecca

  3. Kristie says:

    LOVE the craft!!! I will be tucking that one away for a rainy day craft. Nick will love it!! Thanks for the great idea!!


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