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The Lunar New Year Surprise, by Jade Wang

Hi friends,

I recently published my very first children's book, The Lunar New Year Surprise!  

This book was a labor of love and I partnered with Soaring Kite Books, an independent publisher that shares uplifting diverse stories.  I was also matched with the amazingly talented illustrator, Tammy Do, to bring this story to life.

Culture & Representation

I'm proud to have this chance to share about my Chinese/Taiwanese culture, tradition, and customs around the Lunar New Year (also known as the Spring Festival or Chun Jie 春節).  Events in this book are part of the fond memories I have growing up with my family, and I'm delighted that I get to share that with my daughter through this story and Tammy's beautiful illustrations.

This book is part of Soaring Kite Book's In Our Home educational series, highlighting international festivals and holidays.  It presents an opportunity for children to embrace multiculturalism and foster understanding of the world around them at a young age. 

A Crocheted Surprise

If you haven't noticed already, there is an element of crochet in The Lunar New Year Surprise!  Here's "Lucky", the crocheted lion doll, and I had a blast working on this crochet design!  

I crocheted him using chenille velvet yarn, and he came out super plush and soft! The eyes are made with felt, making it one of my few "mixed media" amigurumis!

Admittedly, this doll was quite a bit more complex than I had anticipated, and included adding felt eyes (that I trimmed and re-shaped numerous times) and crocheting on felt, making it very tricky to write up as a pattern for crocheters to follow and obtain the exact results.  For that reason, I ended up scrapping the idea of turning Lucky into a crochet pattern for others to make, but don't worry -- I'm planning to recreate a smaller, simpler version!

Publisher's Weekly Review

Amid Lunar New Year preparations and celebrations, bespectacled young Gege attempts to give little sister Meimei a handmade present: a crocheted Chinese lion. But every time Gege tries to offer the gift, Meimei is off helping and taking part in the “biggest, yummiest, NOISIEST celebration of the year!” Wang details traditional Spring Festival customs and their meanings, portrayed in Do’s festive illustrations: red paper cutouts decorate the house to “bring happiness and good blessings,” and the lion dance is powerfully loud “to chase away ghosts and evil spirits.” As the red-clad family settles down post-feast, Gege finally delivers the present, to Meimei’s delight. Back matter includes more about Lunar New Year dishes globally and a zodiac animal guide. Ages 5–9.

Anyhow, I hope your little reader will enjoy The Lunar New Year Surprise as much as mine does!

I'll be updating this blog post in the coming week or two with a behind-the-scenes look at the process of making Lucky, the lion doll!

Thank you so much for reading and being here with me on this journey. Wishing you all the very best!