Every Month Is a New Year:
Celebrations Around the World
(2018) Lee & Low Books
by Marilyn Singer
collages by Susan L. Roth


"This celebration of new year celebrations around the world is itself worth celebrating. Readers must turn the book on its side to enjoy the wall-calendar dimensions of each spread, all of which feature a short, gently-rhyming poem told from an individual child’s point of view about commemorations from Times Square to Chile, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Jordan, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain, and Thailand. They’re organized chronologically across the Gregorian calendar, as a piece about Wep Ronpet (as marked in Ancient Egypt and now some U.S. communities) explains: “Everyone believes in a different beginning. / The Year may start for me, for you, anew in January, April, May, / or in some other month, on some other day. . . . But what is true and what is clear is that all of us hope for a luminous year.” The collage illustrations using paper sourced from across the globe are spectacular, with culturally distinctive elements yet a consistent style, and the back matter is stellar and solid, with additional information, pronunciations, a map, and thorough source notes. This complete package is an illuminating and respectful appreciation of both our global uniqueness and our commonality."
-starred review, Booklist

"The passing of the year celebrated round the world through verse and collage. While many regard Jan. 1 as the first day of the calendar year, in this magnificent collaboration, Singer and Roth show that cultural observances of that new beginning happen each month. Presenting 16 celebrations from over 14 countries, they explore 12 months' worth of events that mark time's passage. "From the earth's movement, / from the moon's phases, / these clocks and calendars / we create. / Together /… / we / celebrate." Such remembrances can involve purification rituals, whether "washing the bad away" in April, by cleaning house and starting "the new year right / with a gigantic water fight" in Thailand, or setting "the bad ablaze" in Ecuador, at midnight on Dec. 31, by burning giant effigies representing the "año viejo." Scots look ahead to the "First Footer" (or visitor); Spaniards try to eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds for good luck—"so each new month will be sweet." Throughout the collection, which opens like a wall calendar, each of Roth's intricate collages animates Singer's verse, bursting with texture in a riot of color. "Happy New Year" in 15 languages precedes extensive notes, a glossary and pronunciation guide, and an impressive list of sources. A visually and sonically stunning introduction to the importance of appreciating time and the change of seasons throughout the world: a multicultural gem."
-starred review, Kirkus Reviews

"Fittingly taking the shape of a calendar, this graceful grouping of more than a dozen poems showcases new year celebrations, both secular and religious, from across the globe and throughout the year. Lines from “Smashing the Pots,” about the Kemetic holiday of Wep Ronpet, crystallize the book’s intent: “Everyone believes in a different beginning./ But what is true and what is clear/ is that all of us hope for a luminous year.” The poems are framed by calendar-style grids filled with thematic collage elements, and dramatic scenes of shared meals (for Nowruz in Iran), flying kites (for Matariki in New Zealand), and other festivities appear in the main images above. Closing notes thoroughly explore the holidays Singer introduces, closing out a lovely collection that both looks back at tradition and forward to new beginnings, wherever one might live. "
-starred review, Publishers Weekly