By Kitty Felde

We’ve watched the ball drop in Times Square, cheered on our favorite teams in the Peach, Fiesta, Cotton, Citrus, and Rose Bowl games, made and already forgotten our New Year’s Resolutions.

But we get a second chance at starting the new year right: Chinese New Year is January 22.  

In the days leading up to it, it is traditional to clean out your house. Former librarian Anne Bensfield says there’s a literary advantage to the new year: “This is a great time to declutter your bookshelves to make room for new favorites.” 

Start with your own bookshelves. Discard books about ancient technology like that dusty copy of DOS for Dummies. Weed out duplicate copies of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series (I’m talking to you, husband Tad…) Take that stack of books to a Little Free Library or your favorite charity thrift store, then give yourself permission to use that holiday gift card on the latest best seller. 

Next, help your kids to organize their own bookshelves – by title, author, topic, color, or anything else that makes sense to them. Ask which book is their favorite and why. And then re-read it with them. I promise that it will give you new insights into what they’re thinking about, worried about, getting excited about. 

Then take the time to reread your own favorites. Rereading reminds us of our younger selves and allows us to recapture the passion we had for a particular book…and share it with that next generation. Pick a book you can part with and inscribe it to a younger reader, telling them why you think this particular book is perfect for them and what it meant to you. You can even wrap it in bright red paper to mark the Chinese New Year holiday. And then share that book with your young reader. A gift in late January will certainly stand out rather than be forgotten among the torn wrapping paper under the Christmas tree.

Chinese New Year gives us another opportunity for a fresh start on 2023 reading.

Kitty Felde is host and executive producer of the award-winning Book Club for Kids podcast. Her latest Fina Mendoza mystery State of the Union explains the State of the Union address and other civics topis to kids.

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