Best Children’s Books About The Dragon Boat Festival

Best Children’s Books About The Dragon Boat Festival

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This article is part of our Dragon Boat Festival Family Guide. Sign up for our newsletter to receive our best activity, recipe and craft ideas before every Chinese holiday.

For a holiday that’s over 2,000 years old, there are surprisingly few children’s books exclusively dedicated to the Dragon Boat Festival. Fortunately, I’ve found five that do a good job of introducing the holiday, as well as the sport of dragon boat racing.

If you’re headed out to see dragon boat races this summer, you can pick up one of these books to share with your kids in the weeks before as a way to prepare them for what they’ll see.

Whether you’re watching dragon boat racing in person or floating toy dragon boats in your bathtub, the books below, which I’ll update as I discover new titles, each offer a great way to introduce your child to the Dragon Boat Festival.


One is a Drummer

One is a Drummer

For the youngest readers, Roseanne Thong’s One is a Drummer is a good starting point. This is a counting book that incorporates the Dragon Boat Festival in its journey from one to ten. Parents will have to voice over details about the holiday in their own commentary.

» Read Reviews and Buy at Amazon.com

Celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival

Celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival

Sanmu Tang’s Celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival is a charming volume in which a little girl asks her grandfather about the Dragon Boat Festival. Be aware that this book does include mention of Qu Yuan’s suicide, a necessary part of the historical narrative that may be disturbing to younger readers nonetheless.

» Read Reviews and Buy at Amazon.com

Gung Ho! A Dragon Boat Story

Gung Ho! A Dragon Boat Story

Sarah Hughes’ Gung Ho! A Dragon Boat Story is probably my favorite book of this bunch. A uniquely Chinese American take on the holiday, Gung Ho! follows the adventures of a team competing in the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival.

» Read Reviews and Buy at Amazon.com

Awakening the Dragon

Awakening the Dragon

Arlene Chan’s Awakening the Dragon offers a thorough retelling of the Dragon Boat Festival, with a heavy dose of Chinese mythology and history. A comprehensive book for older children covering the holiday’s origins and customs, as well as the sport of dragon boating.

» Read Reviews and Buy at Amazon.com

Dragon Boats: A Celebration

Dragon Boats: A Celebration

Pat Barker’s Dragon Boats: A Celebration is a similarly robust book about the sport of dragon boat racing that would be great for more athletically-inclined kids. It includes race rules, paddling technique and history.

» Read Reviews and Buy at Amazon.com

Your turn! What are your family’s favorite books about the Dragon Boat Festival? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

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