Sam y el dinero de la suerte

By Karen Chinn
Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright

Paperback: $12.95

Hardcover: out of stock


Sam can hardly wait to go shopping with his mom. It's Chinese New Year's day and his grandparents have given him the traditional gift of lucky money–red envelopes called leisees (lay-sees). This year Sam is finally old enough to spend it any way he chooses. Best of all, he gets to spend his lucky money in his favorite place — Chinatown!

But when Sam realizes that his grandparents' gift is not enough to get the things he wants, his excitement turns to disappointment. Even though his mother reminds him that he should appreciate the gift, Sam is not convinced — until a surprise encounter with a stranger.

Translated from Sam and the Lucky Money, Sam y el dinero de la suerte, celebrates the sights and sounds of festive Chinatown streets. while telling the affecting story of a child who discovers that sometimes the best gifts come from the heart.

Check out the classroom-tested, standards-aligned lesson plan Promoting Diversity in the Classroom and School Library through Social Action by Michelle Ota with Sam and the Lucky Money, provided by, a website developed by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English.

Check out reading and craft tips created by the staff and partners of Reading to Kids, a grassroots organization dedicated to inspiring underserved children with a love of reading.

Learning to Give, an organization focused on philanthropy education resources for students, has created a Sam and the Lucky Money literature guide for grades 2–5 available for educators. 

About the Creators

Thumb_thumb Karen Chinn - Author

(1959-2003) was born in Seattle, Washington, and received a bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Washington. She lived in Seattle, WA with her husband and daughter. Sam and the Lucky Money was her first picture book.

Thumb_thumb Cornelius Van Wright

and his wife Ying-Hwa Hu have illustrated dozens of award-winning books. Their illustrations have been praised by Kirkus Reviews as “bright, detailed and dynamic, vividly depicting . . . characters’ facial features and personalities.” Van Wright, a native New Yorker, lives in New York City.