Happy New Year Everywhere! by Arlene Erlbach
Whether at home or school, books that celebrate ways of honoring holidays in different parts of the world are important additions to the bookshelf. In this carefully researched book, readers are truly entertained as well as enlightened about different times of year that cultures and countries mark as the beginning of a new year. The drawings are colorful and the maps place the countries in a world context. It’s fun to learn about different traditional greetings (and be able to say them correctly thanks to a pronunciation key), as well as experiment with some of the crafts and recipes that go along with the holiday. I really appreciate the extensive bibliography to help interested audiences learn more.
A Happy New Year’s Day by Roch Carrier, illustrated by Gilles Pelletier
Setting: A Canadian village in the 1940’s, in a world in the midst of war. The simple pleasures of warmth and family and community shine through this childhood memory of the author. The tale is a simple yet timeless one, as the family prepares to gather together to celebrate the New Year. Despite the themes, the story is not sentimental, but rather a story that resonates with anticipation, planning, and fun. The illustrations are just right to engage multiple readings: full page pictures in bright colors with lots of intricate details.
Happy New Year by Emery Bernhard
A nice complement to Happy New Year Everywhere! with an emphasis this time on ancient and modern New Year’s customs as well as around the world. Interesting (and new to me) information on why Time Square is a destination in America for New Year’s celebrators. And what about the Wild West? Or Ancient Rome? How and why did their celebrations unfold? And how did the different religions make an impact? In Columbia the tradition is to put an egg in a glass of water and watching how it changes to predict what will happen in the coming new year. Wouldn’t it be fun to try that one out in the classroom–or at home?