It’s surprisingly difficult to find children’s picture books about New Year’s Day traditions and New Year’s Eve. Holiday books are not usually in short supply and there are quite a lot of books about Chinese New Year and Rosh Hashanah, but surprisingly few for the January 1st holiday.
Nonetheless, fearless book finder that I am, I rustled up a few New Year picture books for you to read with the kids. I was even able to rustle up picture books that describe the way people around the world celebrate, plus diverse celebrations from different cultures here at home. You may be able to find a few more nonfiction books about New Year’s traditions in the library if that is what you are after.
So whether you stay up all night, counting down the hours until the start of a brand new year, or if you all head off to bed early for a good night’s sleep make it your New Year Resolution to read all of these books and continue in the same way throughout the year. (Note: Book covers and titles are affiliate links)
Books about New Year’s Day Celebrations
Every Month Is a New Year: Celebrations Around the World by Marilyn Singer. This is a great book of poetry which introduces kids (and grown-ups!) to new year holidays around the world. Most western children know about January 1, the Lunar New Year and Rosh Hashanah, but there are 9 more new year traditions for the rest of the months!
Shanté Keys and the New Year’s Peasby Gail Piernas-Davenport. Eating black-eyed peas at New Year’s is a southern tradition signifying good luck for the coming year. When Shanté goes out to her neighbors, looking for the requisite peas, she learns all about how other cultures celebrate New Year’s. If you’ve been reading multicultural Christmas books this season, this is the natural successor.
The Stars Will Still Shine by Cynthia Rylant. I’ll just start out with my favorite, shall I? It’s not really a New Year-specific book, but is still at the top of my list of books to read when everyone is talking about the holiday. I love this gentle reassuring book about how cycles of events continue to come and go. It’s optimistic, reaffirming the goodness of life and the kindness of individuals no matter what comes. Read it all year long.
Happy New Year, Spot! by Eric Hill. So, you need a New Year book for toddlers and preschoolers to explain why they can’t stay up until midnight. Good old Spot is your answer! This lovable, dependable children’s book character can’t stay up either, but he still finds a way to join in the celebration. Expect to read it twelve dozen times in a row. But if it gets the kids to bed, you’ll read it twice as many times, right?
I really like Owen Paul Lewis’ simple illustrative style of P. Bear’s New Year’s Party: A Counting Book, and it’s great for toddlers and preschoolers. There are some nice components: a clock for teaching time, interesting vocabulary for groups of animals (“flock”, “herd”, etc), as well as counting.
Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller is a fun choice to read if you are discussing resolutions with your children. Squirrel walks through the forest wondering what resolutions she should make for the new year, finally realizing that all her kind and helpful actions are what’s really important.
Happy New Year Everywhere! by Arlene Erlbach. Are you the kind of person who has the energy for New Year’s themed crafts and activities organized by country? If you are, then this is the book for you.
The Night Before New Year’s. Author Natalie Wing has a series of “night before [insert holiday here]” books. This one looks at… you guessed it. New Year’s. It’s a fun choice for kids addicted to counting down the hours.
Get ready to read for more holidays:
- New Year’s Kindness Resolutions for Families
- Family Read Aloud Books for Every Season
- The Giant Hug: a Family Valentine Craft and Book
- 15 Smile-Inducing Children’s Books about Happiness and Joy