Saturday, September 12, 2020

11 Children's Books about the Chinese Moon Festival

xī wàng míng yuè néng bǎ wǒ mén dě zhù fú hé huān lè dōu dài gěi nǐ.
希 望 明 月 能 把 我 们 的 祝 福 和 欢 乐 都 带 给 你。

May the full moon bring blessings and happiness from our home to yours!

It is almost time for the Chinese Moon Festival, also known as the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival.  This festival is always celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month when there is a full moon.  On this special day, people gather with friends and family, give thanks for bountiful harvests, and say prayers for a good future.  It's also a time filled with colorful lanterns, music, games, and... of course... mooncakes!  Read on to discover 10 children's books about this joyous occasion.

A compilation of 10+ children's books about the Chinese Moon Festival, what it is, who celebrates it, and how it's celebrated. Fiction and nonfiction.
(contains affiliate links and book descriptions from Amazon)

1. Moon Festival Wishes: Moon Cake and Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration by Jillian Lin

Moon Festival Wishes: Moon Cake and Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration by Jillian Lin

The moon is big and round tonight.
Today is a special day for Mei and her family.
It is the Chinese Moon Festival.


In this beautifully illustrated book, children aged 2 to 6 will follow Mei as she and her family prepare for and celebrate the Mid-autumn, Mooncake, or Moon Festival. They will also enjoy reading the story behind one of the most important Chinese celebrations. More interesting facts and questions for discussion are included at the back of the book.  Written in English and Chinese, Moon Festival Wishes is perfect as an early reader or to read aloud.

2. Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes by Nina Simonds and Leslie Swartz

Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes by Nina Simonds and Leslie Swartz

Filled with delectable recipes, hands-on family activities, and traditional tales to read aloud, this extraordinary collection will inspire families everywhere to re-create the magic of Chinese holidays in their own homes. They can feast on golden New Year's dumplings and tasty moon cakes, build a miniature boat for the Dragon Boat Festival, and a kite at Qing Ming or share the story of the greedy Kitchen God or the valiant warrior Hou Yi.

3. Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival by Grace Lin

Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival by Grace Lin

This simple, young, and satisfying story follows a Chinese American family as they celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.  Each member of the family lends a hand as they prepare a moonlit picnic with mooncakes, pomelos, cups of tea, and colorful lanterns. And everyone sends thanks and a secret wish up to the moon.  Grace Lin’s luminous and gloriously patterned artwork is perfect for this holiday tale. Her story is simple—tailor-made for reading aloud to young children. And she includes an informative author’s note with further details on the customs and traditions of the Moon Festival for parents and teachers. The Moon Festival is one of the most important holidays of the year along with the Lunar New Year, so this book makes an excellent companion to Grace Lin’s Bringing In the New Year, which features the same family.

4. A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

Pat, pat, pat...
Little Star's soft feet tiptoed to the Big Mooncake.


Little Star loves the delicious Mooncake that she bakes with her mama. But she's not supposed to eat any yet! What happens when she can't resist a nibble? In this stunning picture book that shines as bright as the stars in the sky, Newbery Honor author Grace Lin creates a heartwarming original story that explains the phases of the moon.

5. The Shadow in the Moon by Christina Matula

The Shadow in the Moon by Christina Matula

Two sisters and their grandmother celebrate a popular Chinese holiday with family. Their favorite part? Mooncakes, of course--along with Ah-ma's story of the ancient Chinese tale of Hou Yi, a brave young archer, and his wife, Chang'E. A long, long time ago, Hou Yi rescued the earth from the heat of ten suns. The Immortals rewarded him with a magic potion that could let him live in the sky with them forever. But when a thief tries to steal the potion, what will Chang'E do to keep it out of dangerous hands? The sisters are mesmerized by Ah-ma's retelling and the fact that the very mooncakes they enjoy each holiday are a symbol of this legend's bravest soul.

6. Mooncakes by Loretta Seto

Mooncakes by Loretta Seto

Mooncakes is the lyrical story of a young girl who shares the special celebration of the Chinese Moon Festival with her parents. As they eat mooncakes, drink tea, and watch the night sky together, Mama and Baba tell ancient tales of a magical tree that can never be cut down, the Jade Rabbit who came to live on the moon, and one brave woman's journey to eternal life. With a gentle focus on the importance of family, Mooncakes is both a perfect book for parents and children to read together and an ideal choice for schools and libraries.

7. Lin Yi's Lantern: A Moon Festival Tale by Brenda Williams

Lin Yi's Lantern: A Moon Festival Tale by Brenda Williams

Lin Yi's mother has sent him to the local market to buy food for the Moon Festival, but what he really wants is a red rabbit lantern. Will he barter well enough to be able to buy one? Benjamin Lacombe's vivid illustrations are the perfect complement to Brenda Williams's gentle story.

8. Moon Messenger: A Family Reunion During the Mid-Autumn Festival- A Story Told in English and Chinese by Wei Jie

Moon Messenger: A Family Reunion During the Mid-Autumn Festival

In China, the Mid-Autumn festival is a time to celebrate and reunite with family. However, Maomao's father is away on a business trip this year, and won't be able to enjoy the holiday with his wife and son. Hoping they can celebrate under the same bright moon despite the distance between them, Maomao asks the moon to deliver a postcard to his father; the moon smiles and promises to deliver the message safely. The moon sets off immediately, using the stars in the sky as her guide. During her journey, the moon makes many friends: swimming alongside the fish, chasing clouds and planes, playing hide-and-seek with a little girl. Finally, she delivers the postcard to Maomao's father and, at last, they are all celebrating under the same moon.

9. The Story of the Mooncake Festival: A Chinese-English Bilingual Book by P.S. Lo

The Story of the Mooncake Festival/ 中秋節的故事: A Chinese-English Bilingual Book by P.S. Lo

Did you know the story behind the Mooncake Festival, during which people pray to the moon, spend time with their families, and have mooncakes and fruits? The story behind the Mooncake Festival is romantic - it is the story of a hero who shot down 9 suns to save the world, "Hou Yi", and his beautiful and kind wife, "Chang E", who accidentally drank an elixir and flew to the moon.  Retold for an international audience and written in both English and Chinese by P.S. Lo (author of "the Story of Tung Ng Festival", who masters both languages), this beautiful book will give children, as well as adults, a glimpse into the tradition and culture of China. 

10. The Mid-Autumn Festival: The Moon Goddess Chang'e by Coral Chen

The Mid-Autumn Festival: The Moon Goddess Chang'e by Coral Chen

The Chinese Library Series is a collection of graded readers for overseas kids who are studying Chinese. It consists of six levels for students to choose based on their own Chinese proficiency. There are stories about the life of modern teenagers, classical works, myths, legends, fables, and so on, which enable students to learn Chinese characters and words better, improve their Chinese competence and enhance their understanding of the Chinese culture while enjoying the joy of reading. A word list is provided for the story in each book, and small exercises and a passage for extended reading are provided after the story to help students to do self-evaluations and teachers to conduct classroom activities.  These five books under the Folktales series, tell five stories about traditional Chinese festivals and are fit for pre-intermediate readers with the level of 903 words.

11. Our Moon Festival: Celebrating the Moon Festival in Asian Communities by Yobe Qiu

Our Moon Festival: Celebrating the Moon Festival in Asian Communities by Yobe Qiu

The story highlights different families and their diverse traditions as they observe Zhong Qiu Jie, Tết Trung Thu, and Tsukimi! In all three stories, children will learn about foods, traditions, dances, parades, and poetry involved in the celebration of the Moon Festival. Just like "Our Lunar New Year" by the same author, children will be so captivated by the celebrations that they will feel part of the holiday too!

Delicious Mooncakes

zhōng qiū jiā jiē míng yuè yuán, liáng chén jiā jiē yuè bǐng tián, zhōng qiū jiā jiē píng ān kuài lè!
中秋佳节明月圆,良辰佳节月饼甜,中秋佳节平安快乐

The moon is bright, the mooncake is sweet, and may you enjoy a happy and safe Mid-Autumn Festival!

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