Two New Years

Chronicle. Aug. 2023. 44p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781797212814.
Gr 1-3–Inspired by his own Chinese and Jewish backgrounds, Ho contrasts the different ways New Year is celebrated in the two traditions in order to highlight the commonalities that lie beneath—from special foods to new clothes, from blowing the shofar to sending paper lanterns into the sky, from bidding goodbye to bad luck by sweeping it out the door to dropping pebbles or bread crumbs into a stream (taschlich). Both the Jewish and Asian New Year celebrations, he writes, “bring family home. Children and grandchildren reunite with bubbies and zaydies, rejoice with ma mas and yeh yehs, and remember the ancestors who live in our hearts.” In her radiant illustrations, Scurfield depicts a biracial couple and their children enjoying the double set of festivities and rituals, in public and intimate domestic settings. The author concludes with descriptions of the two “lunisolar” calendars and expansive notes on each set of holiday rituals, symbols, and practices.
VERDICT An illuminating set of contrasts and parallels likely to leave younger audiences primed to welcome different ways of celebrating every version of the new year and to compare them with those of their own families.

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