Kicking off the New Year with a fun read-aloud gets students thinking about goal-setting, while helping them transition back after a long holiday break! These 10 Happy New Year’s books for kids are my favorite go-to picture books to read in January.
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Picture Books to Celebrate a Happy New Year’s
Teachers get the wonderful privilege of celebrating the New Year’s twice: Back-to-School and the New Year’s celebration in January.
So while you’re planning engaging crafts and activities, add one of these fun Happy New Year’s books for kids to the mix while you celebrate a new year!
Natasha Wing’s “Night Before…” series is a big hit in my classroom.
If you’ve seen my other read-aloud book recommendations lists, you have seen Natasha’s books.
This Night Before New Year’s shows fun ways to celebrate the New Year’s with your students.
The easy reading format makes it a quick activity–just in case you’re stretched for time when it comes to your New Year’s classroom activities.
The book fits well with early readers in Kinder and 1st grade, but if you’re just looking for something quick to read, this New Year’s book works for older kids too.
Happy New Year’s Books for Different Cultures
Everyone celebrates New Year’s differently.
These Happy New Year’s books for kids showcase the variety of ways to bring in the new year with a bang.
Freedom Soup by Tami Charles presents the Haitian traditions and cuisine for celebrating New Year’s.
The special soup for New Year’s also aligns with the historical account of the Haitian revolution, which is why it’s called ‘freedom’ soup.
I also really love the songs and illustrations throughout book.
It’s a great way to expose your kiddos to different cultural traditions for Happy New Year!
Shante’ Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport is my absolute favorite happy New Year’s book for kids!
Several Southern families in the United States enjoy eating black-eyed peas on the first day of the year to signal good luck for the year ahead.
My own family has included black-eyed peas in our January 1st menu for years. I love cooking them for my students as a fun New Year’s treat. (even though many students DON’T consider any type of peas to be a treat! LOL)
Celebrating New Year’s Around the World
Want to know how people across 20 different countries ring in the New Year? This Happy New Year’s book for kids tells it all.
Happy New Year, Everywhere by Arlene Erlbach works really well for kids in 2nd through 5th grade.
It has tons of colorful pictures and examples of how people celebrate the new year holiday differently.
Every Month is a New Year by Marilyn Singer is a wonderful happy new year read aloud for two main reasons:
- It shows that not all “New Year’s” celebrations happen in January.
- Students get to see how different people celebrate New Year’s.
The book covers other celebrations such as Chinese New Year’s, Nowruz for Iranians, and Songkran for people in Thai.
As these different holidays come up throughout the school year, you can refer back to this book for details.
Goal-Setting New Year’s Books for Kids
While you are celebrating a new year with your students, I bet you also want to cover some goal-setting with them too?!
The timing and occasion is just too perfect to miss out on helping our kiddos set new goals for the new semester and new year.
These are some of my favorite read-alouds for setting new goals:
Before you run away hysterical over the title and cover illustration, here me out!
I Need a New Butt by Dawn McMillan is about a boy who thinks his butt is broken and he wants to find a new one.
It’s a hilarious book that can be connected to goal-setting because it shows this kid spending so much time trying to change something that doesn’t need to be changed.
If you have students who struggle to set realistic, worthwhile goals, this book may help them.
DISCLAIMER: The illustrations inside show a few pages with different booties. Your kids will have full-blown laughing fits!
Just in case you have some really sensitive parents who may not like this type of content, you may want to talk to your administration about it first.
Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats works great for New Year’s goal-setting because its theme on perseverance.
The main character doesn’t give up on his goal of learning to whistle, which offers a great message to your students about not giving up.
Plus, this book is FREE on Amazon’s Audiobook program. You can try a free trial HERE.
A Growth Mindset Read-Aloud for the New Year
This book is another one of my favorites when it comes to read alouds for upper elementary students.
After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat fits perfectly with goal setting for the new year with its growth-mindset theme.
I actually end up reading this book more than once during the school year because students need on-going reminders about having the right mindset.
Some of your students need hope to start over fresh for the new year. Maybe they had a really rough first semester, which would lead almost anyone to feeling discouraged about setting new goals.
This book helps students see that no matter how things start–no matter how bad you fall–you can get back up again.
To be honest, we adults need that powerful reminder too!
Help Your Students Set New Year’s Resolutions
My final Happy New Year’s book for kids is Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller.
This cute book shows kids what it really means to make a resolution. Squirrel’s simple question: “What is a resolution?” is such a valid question that your students may ask! (Depending on their age.)
Squirrel gets help from her friend Bear to learn what resolutions are and how to help her friends set their resolutions too.
Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution is available on the Free Time Unlimited Reading Program for Prime members. I’ve been using this for years to save money on books for my classroom.
I also use it at home with my son Caleb so that he always has something to read.
You pay a low flat fee each month, which allows you to check out tons of e-books, videos, apps and more. I currently pay $3.99 a month.
Check it out by clicking the image above. You may even find more happy new year’s books for kids to use in your classroom!
More Ideas & Classroom Resources for the New Year
As you plan your New Year’s classroom activities, here are more ideas and resources that you’ll enjoy:
- 5 Creative Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Cheap & Free Ways to Stock Your Classroom Library
- 11 Children’s Books Written by Celebrities
- If I Lived in a Snow Globe…Winter Writing Activity
- Cold Hands, Warm Hearts Winter Bulletin Board
Happy “New Year’s” Reading!