Light olefins are the basic building blocks for the petrochemical industry. In this work, selective production of light olefins from catalytic cracking of bio-oil was performed by using the La/HZSM-5 catalyst. With a nearly complete conversion of bio-oil, the maximum yield reached 0.28 ± 0.02 kg olefins/(kg bio-oil), which was close to that from methanol. Addition of La into zeolite efficiently changed the total acid amount of HZSM-5, especially the acid distribution among the strong, medium and weak acid sites. A moderate increase of the number of the medium acid sites effectively enhanced the olefins selectivity and improved the catalyst stability. The comparison between the catalytic cracking and pyrolysis of bio-oil was studied. The mechanism of the conversion of bio-oil to light olefins was also discussed.