Professional Book Review

Professional Book Review: January 2012

Happy New Year Everywhere by Arlene Erlbach will give a glimpse on the ways how people from the different parts of the world celebrate the first day of the year.

About the author:

I’ve always loved to write and make up stories” – Arlene Erlbach

Noted for her award winning teen romance book “Does Your Nose Get in the Way, Too,?”, Arlene Erlbach wrote books ranging from fiction, non-fiction, how-to and even facts- based books. She is a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator and also a reading teacher in Chicago.

Here is the book review written by Wendy Morris from, a website that evaluates not only children’s book but also books for teenagers and adults. Founded in the year 2000, continues to help readers in choosing good books.

Happy New Year, Everywhere!
Arlene Erlbah
illustrated by Sharon Lane Hol
The Millbrook Press, 2000
$22.90 hardcover

How do you celebrate the New Year? Do you . . .

Sing “Auld Lang Syne” and watch fireworks with your family?

Eat twelve grapes at midnight and count to twelve as fast as you can? Wear a scary mask to frighten away evil spirits and bad luck?

Eat vasilopita with a coin hidden inside for good fortune? These are just a few of the many different ways people celebrate the New Year around the world. In some places the New Year doesn’t even begin on January first — it begins in February or April or even September!

Arlene Erlbach has collected New Year customs from all over the world — twenty countries in all, including Japan, Israel, Greece, Chile and more. For each country she gives a brief, basic description of some of the traditions and their backgrounds. There are maps, pronunciation guides, and the date — or dates! — the New Year is celebrated. Erlbach also includes crafts, recipes and other New Year-related activities for you to do; all are simple and kid-friendly (if not always authentic) requiring little or no adult assistance.

I can easily imagine a kid, seven or eight or nine years old, carefully studying each country in the book, doing as many of the crafts as possible, and then encouraging the rest of the family to participate as each New Year holiday during the calendar year comes around. I know, because I would have done that myself at that age. For the reader who finds the entry for a specific country too brief or superficial, the book provides a reasonably generous bibliography of references and further reading.

And since not every New Year begins in January, Happy New Year, Everywhere! is good all year round.

Reviewed by Wendy Morris. © 2000 by Wendy Morris.


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