Book Review: Bella's Chinese New Year

by Lillie Forteau /
Lillie Forteau's picture
Jan 20, 2012 / 0 comments

Book Review - Bella's Chinese New Year is a picture book by Singapore resident Stacey Zolt Hara, illustrated by Steve Pileggi. It's the story of a young girl named Bella, and her adventures during Chinese New Year in Singapore. Bella is adorable - a huge smile, big curly hair, and fun glasses. Bella stars in a series of books, and a website, called Travel with Bella.


Bella's Chinese New Year



One of the things I like about the book is that it shows you what Singapore looks like - from the inside of Bella's house to her street; from the bus to her school. She wears a qipao, a fancy red silky traditional dress, to go to school and celebrate Chinese New Year.


We meet Bella's friends, neighbors, and teachers (and mom and dad). Bella exchanges oranges with her friends to ensure good luck and wealth. And, they throw their lo hei salad HIGH up in the air for health and good luck.


I recommend this book because it teaches about another culture and holiday. I like the illustrations - they are colorful and happy. This is a fun book for readers of all ages.


Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy New Year!


We asked author Stacey Zolt Hara a few questions about Bella's Chinese New Year...



WE: How did you learn about the cultural traditions of celebrating Chinese New Year?

SZH: Part of the joy of living abroad is to immerse yourself in the culture. As a family, we love exploring Chinatown during the festive season, enjoying all the yummy New Year treats (pineapple tarts are my fave) and celebrating with our Singaporean friends.



WE: What about the food - do people really throw it, or just kids?

SZH: Adults and kids alike take part in this Singaporean tradition. The goal is to get the food as high as you can to maximize your health, wealth and good fortune for the new year.



WE: What zodiac sign is Bella?

SZH: A great question! Bella is five years old in the books, so if we assume that is her real age today, she would have been born in 2007 in the year of the Fire Pig. I think that Zodiac Animal and Water Sign suits her well. Pigs are said to be generous and compassionate with a genuine zest for life. Fire Pigs are said to be gutsy risk takers who love a good adventure. Sounds like Bella to me!



Want to know more about Travel with Bella? We interviewed author Stacey Zolt Hara about the backstory to her books - read it here.



Want to learn more about Chinese New Year and Travel with Bella? On Travel with Bella, there are curriculum guides for both books to help parents and teachers deepen the learning experience when reading Travel with Bella books.

Thank you, Stacey, for sharing the world of Bella with us!