Giveaway: Choice of Kids Books to Celebrate Chinese New Year (US, Ends 2/16) #ourforbiddencity #HiLittleEmperor

49 Flares Twitter 46 Facebook 3 Pin It Share 0 Google+ 0 49 Flares ×

General Sponsored Post Disclosure


2015 is the Year of the Sheep. In February, all around the world, Chinese will celebrate the lunar new year.  With parades, fireworks, special meals, gifts and other traditions, this major holiday is the perfect time to teach your children about Chinese culture.  Most of us are familiar with variations of food dishes from China, but how much more do you know?

Have you ever wondered why the Chinese New Year isn’t on January 1st?  The original Chinese calendar was based on the moon.  The start of each month is when the sun, moon, and earth line up or the New Moon.


But why a Sheep?  The animal connection comes in when talking about the Chinese Zodiac and horoscopes.  There is a 12-year cycle and each year is assigned a specific animal.  Similar to Western civilizations believing that people born in a period in September under the “Virgo” sign exhibit similar personality traits, the Chinese believe that those born in certain years have similar characteristics.  Like sheep, people born in the Year of the Sheep are calm, sensitive, and gentle.

China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world and the Chinese represent 20% of the world population!  Would you like to learn more about China? The organization, China Institute, is an excellent resource to learn more about this culture and the people of China.  From the China Institute website, “Since its founding in 1926, China Institute has been dedicated to educating the American public about Chinese culture, history and contemporary life. The Institute advances a deeper understanding of China in the belief that cross-cultural communication strengthens our global community. The education department achieves this mission through a variety of programs designed for teachers, students, and the general public of all ages.”

Make Your Own Dumplings

Dumpling photo

This is a great activity to do with your children to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  Dumplings, called jiaozi in Mandarin, have been popular in China for hundreds of years. They’re especially popular on Chinese New Year. The recipe below is from the Chinese Institute.  It is for a traditional pork and chive filling, but the great thing about dumplings is that you can make all sorts of fillings.


Dumpling (jiaozi) Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Pork & Chive Filling:

  • 1 cup ground pork (can also use beef)
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 Tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1/2 green onion, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
  • 4 Tablespoons shredded bamboo shoots
  • 2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced


Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to create a smooth dough. Don’t add more water than is necessary. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine, and white pepper to the meat, stirring in one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well. Now, prepare the dough for the dumplings. First knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter to create the dumpling wrappers. Place a portion (about 1 Tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each dumpling wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the remainder of the dumpling wrappers. To cook the dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the dumplings, giving them a gentle stir so they don’t stick together. Bring the water to a boil, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and repeat. When the dumplings come to a boil for a third time, they are ready. Drain and remove. If you want, they can be pan-fried at this point. Repeat this process for the second half of dumplings. 


The Chinese Institute is going to give one lucky KLY reader a book for children.  You would have your choice of these two:


In the Forbidden City

For Ages 9 and up

Chiu Kwong-chiu, author; Design and Cultural Studies Workshop, design and illustrations; Ben Wang, translator; Nancy S. Steinhardt, editor

Serving as the seat of imperial power for six centuries, the Forbidden City is one of China’s most famous and enigmatic landmarks. Accompanied by a mischievous cat, readers will tour this colossal architectural structure, discovering the secrets hidden inside the palace walls. They will encounter the people who have walked through its halls and gardens, including emperors, empresses, and rebel leaders, and hear exciting tales about the power struggles and intrigues of everyday life. This large format book conveys the grandeur of the Forbidden City through highly detailed line drawings of its buildings, gardens, and courtyards with numerous foldout spreads. Each page is populated by a large variety of characters and peppered with entertaining anecdotes. Every book includes a plastic magnifying glass for looking at the drawings more closely.


This is the Greatest Place! The Forbidden City and the World of Small Animals

Ages 4-9

Brian Tse, author; Alice Mak, illustrator; Ben Wang, translator; Nancy S. Steinhardt, editor

Rabbit is eating breakfast with his friends Baby Squirrel, Young Porcupine, and Little Brother Panda when an unexpected visitor arrives. He is a master builder, searching for inspiration to design a great palace for the Emperor of China. Together, Uncle Builder and the little animals explore how nature supplies us with the wonders that enrich our lives. Created by internationally renowned children’s book artists Brian Tse and Alice Mak, this book teaches children about Chinese architecture, how nature’s influence can be seen around us, and how people and animals can live together in harmony. The illustrations capture the majesty of both the natural world and the Forbidden City and are enhanced by interactive component.

Enter in the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photo Credits:  The China Institute


  1. 1
    mrsshukra says:
  2. 2

    I commented on Everyday Confetti, the cookbook post.
    Carol L

49 Flares Twitter 46 Facebook 3 Pin It Share 0 Google+ 0 49 Flares ×