Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 21, 2019

Book Giveaway – NIAN, THE CHINESE NEW YEAR DRAGON by Virginia Loh-Hagan

Virginia Loh-Hagan has written a new picture book titled, NIAN, THE CHINESE NEW YEAR DRAGON, Illustrated by Timothy Banks and published by Sleeping Bear Press. Sleeping Bear Press has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Virginia and Timothy!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


Mei hates springtime. Why? Because it’s only in the spring that Nian, a fierce dragon, is able to leave his mountain prison under the sea to terrorize the local village. When the villagers hear the rumblings of Nian’s hungry stomach, they know that winter has ended and spring is coming. But this year on the night before the first day of spring, a magical warrior visits Mei in her dreams. He tells Mei that it is her destiny to face and defeat Nian. But she must do it within 15 days or the dragon will be free forever. Author Virginia Loh-Hagan (PoPo’s Lucky Chinese New Year) gives this retelling of the Nian legend an original twist, while explaining the origins of Chinese New Year traditions.


Nian: The Chinese New Year Dragon is my newest book (to be released in December 2019). But, it has been kicking around in my life for several years. I think I wrote the first draft around 2010. I wrote it around the same time as  PoPo’s Lucky Chinese New Year. In fact, I came across the Chinese New Year Monster folktale when I was doing research for PoPo’s Lucky Chinese New Year. I saved it in my notes as something to explore further…which I did!

After the publication of Paper Son: Lee’s Journey to America in 2013, I had established a great partnership with the Sleeping Bear family. This is also about the time I started writing for 45th Parallel Press. (Cherry Lake Publishing owns Sleeping Bear Press and 45th Parallel Press.)

I submitted PoPo’s Lucky Chinese New Year and Nian: The Chinese New Year Dragon to Sleeping Bear Press soon after the success of Paper Son. The funny bit is that Sleeping Bear initially turned down both of these stories. I submitted PoPo’s Lucky Chinese New Year to some other publishers where the manuscript would get through the first levels of review only to be rejected at the final levels (which is also what had happened at Sleeping Bear Press). But, I took this as good news. This let me know that my story had potential. There was interest. Plus, I fixed the manuscript each time. It got better.

Also, it just needed a champion. And, its champion was Barb McNally, my wonderful Sleeping Bear Press editor (whom I love very dearly). Barb has been championing both of these stories since 2013. I had put the manuscripts aside for several years and then Barb asked about PoPo’s Lucky Chinese New Year in 2015 when we were promoting Paper Son at the International Literacy Association in St. Louis, Missouri. I pulled it out of consideration from another publisher and sent it back to Barb. After that, magic happened! Fast forward – With the success of PoPo’s Lucky Chinese New Year, it seemed like the perfect time to publish Nian: The Chinese New Year Dragon!

I took some liberties with the Chinese New Year folktale. First, I made the protagonist a young female. Second, I added elements of a pourquoi story in that I wanted to explain why we practice some Chinese New Year traditions (i.e. making loud noises like firecrackers, wearing red, and putting out food for ancestors). In addition, I chose to feature a dragon because I have an intense love for dragons (like I might need some therapy!). I wanted to explain how the dragon was tamed into becoming a lucky symbol. The best part of the book, however, is Timothy Banks’ illustrations! He brought my little story to life! This story is a little edgy, a little dark, with a lot of spunk – Timothy captured this magnificently. Again, I credit Barb for choosing Timothy as the illustrator. (She had respectfully rejected my ideas for illustrators and I’m glad she did! Timothy is perfect! Note: My advice for future writers is to listen to your editors and trust that they love your stories as much as you do! They know best!)

I have been so incredibly lucky to have Sleeping Bear Press in my life. My stories have thrived under their direction. The book journey for Nian: The Chinese New Year Dragon consists of good luck, perfect timing, hard work, and Barb. 🙂


Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan is an author, university faculty member, and former K-8 teacher. She’s currently directing the Liberal Studies program at San Diego State University. She has over 300 books in the world. She writes about things that geek her and about geeky things. She especially likes to write about her Chinese-American heritage. After all, she was born on Flag Day in the Year of the Dragon. She feels very lucky to have several Asian-American themed books with Sleeping Bear Press (Paper Son, PoPo’s Lucky Chinese New Year, Nian: The Chinese New Year Dragon).

She’s also interested in writing fun facts about monsters, weird bodily noises, urban legends, hot dogs, and anything on the odd side. As such, she writes many titles for 45th Parallel Press (an imprint of Cherry Lake Publishing); these are hi-lo books aimed to serve the needs of older struggling readers. She’s also written some academic books about literacy instruction. She lives in southern San Diego with two non-trained naughty dogs and one semi-well-trained husband. Learn more about her at


Timothy Banks is an American illustrator recognized by Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, Spectrum, 3×3 MagazineCreative Quarterly, PLAY! Illustration and Showcase. His clients include Nike, Paste Magazine, Egmont, Faber & Faber, and Nickelodeon. He has illustrated dozens of children’s books, including a reimagining of the Wizard of Oz for young readers, There’s A Norseman in the Classroom and the classic Enid Blyton series, The Five Finder Outer, for Egmont UK. He has done extensive work for Paste Magazine, including “The Failure Issue” named one of 2015’s best covers[5] by min. Also, Banks’ work was selected to be the official image for Piccolo Spoleto 2014. And In 2017, Banks published an illustrated anthology, Monsters In Charleston, depicting whimsical monsters taking over his hometown of Charleston, SC.

Virginia, thank you for sharing your book and it’s journey. I think people will be able to see the beauty of this book, though this feature hold a candle to actually holding the book in your hands. It is a real treasure for anyone’s library collection. Best of luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. this looks like a beautiful book!


  2. I think this book looks awesome! Love the story it tells. Congratulations!


  3. What a fun story to read with children (or by ourselves!) Congratulations Virginia. And Timothy – stunning! Your art is absolutely gorgeous and original.


  4. So happy that magic happened for you. Patience! And great story and illustrations.Love the color palette.


  5. This book sounds wonderful! congratulations!!


  6. This looks beautiful – I’m so glad you persevered to publication!


  7. Thanks for sharing both stories–The book itself and its journey to publication. Also, I love your blog, Kathy!


  8. Congrats! It looks like a great book to add to my library so my children can have more stories they can connect to. Thanks for representin’! 🙌🏼


  9. Thanks for sharing the story of Virginia working to publish this book. Virginia’s perseverance paid off. I can’t wait to read it!


  10. This is a great looking book, wonderful illustrations. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve tweeted a link to this post:, and pinned an image with a link on Pinterest as well:
    I also follow your blog daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com.
    Thanks again, have a great day everyone!!


  11. I’ll share on Facebook! Love Virginia’s books!


  12. Congratulations, Virginia and Timothy! Your new book looks amazing! I can’t wait to read it. I receive your blog daily.


  13. What a fun heroine story with art that takes us to another realm! Congratulations!!


  14. Loos fascinating! I have always found this myth to be really intriguing.


  15. I was unfamiliar with this story but I love it, and will look at the dragons in the lunar new year parades with fresh appreciation now.


  16. This looks great! I’m looking forward to reading it.


  17. Tweeted and shared on FB!


  18. This looks wonderful! Love those dragon illos! Congrats!


  19. Love it! Talk about two very talented people. Congratulations on publishing a wonderful book!


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