Erin Eitter Kono
Gorgeous illustrations fill this bedtime book that instantly draw both parent and child into a world of hula, swaying palm trees and towering volcanoes. Music and dance wrap their way around a mother and baby as many of the meaningful traditions of Hawaiian culture are gently and simply explained.
What does “aloha” and the aloha spirit mean? Why does the mother call her little one “keiki”? And how can a gourd called an ipu be a drum? Simple enough for the tiniest child but rich enough for older readers, this is beautiful book is a marvelous journey to a memorable Hawaiian paradise.
If the music of Hawaii captivates your interest, check out this related post:
Written By Joanie Boney, Illustrated By Emily Zieroth
Did you ever move as a child? It’s tough, right?
Well this is the story of a little girl who moves to a new school in a new country. And – as difficult as that is – she has the good fortune of meeting three really kind girls who help her find her place in a new world that looks quite different from her home across the sea. This children’s story works beautifully on so many levels. The girls get to talk about what’s it’s like to be different from their friends, mentioning things like hair type, skin color and nationality. At the same time, they share great child-like wisdom such as “we are all different but we are all beautiful”.
And, to make the book even better, there’s a second half that’s colorable, so you kids can add your own touch to the story and the pictures.
This is a wonderful book that can be read just for fun or used to open up great discussions about diversity, celebrating diversity, what it means to be different and what it means to be a good friend.
You can get it on Amazon or Kindle, here: http://amzn.com/069238569X
Tari: The Little Balinese Dancer
Written by Pamela Noensie,
Illustrations by Garetta Lamore
Take a trip to the beautiful island of Bali.
This wonderful book is a “girls-eye-view” of life in a small village on an island in the South Pacific. Throughout the beautifully illustrated pages, the book shares customs, traditions, food and many other aspects of day-to-day life for Tari. It also weaves a lovely story about the young girl’s grandmother and their shared love of traditional dance from Bali.
This is an excellent book, especially on the topics of traditional cultures, world cultures, strong girl characters and dance. Highly recommended!
Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama
Written by Hester Bass, Illustrated by E.B. Lewis
There are many great books for children that bring the civil rights era alive for children. This book does just that – but with a wonderful twist. The author tells the story of segregation and prejudice in the deep South with a special emphasis on how people in the town of Hunstville, Alabama used peaceful means to make meaningful change in their community.
Beautiful illustrations mark the pages that show not only what people faced; like being unable to be measured for shoes if you were African-American, but also events such as the “Blue Jean Sunday” protest, a Mother’s Day celebration in an “all-white” park and a sit-in at lunch counter where the police had to arrest a mother and her baby. Over and over, the residents of Huntsville found powerful and creative ways to show their neighbors and the world that an unfair and unequal life was simply not acceptable.
This well-researched book is a great read for older children, especially when studying this era of American history. It’s an up-close and personal look at segregation and one town that chose to follow a non-violent path to making positive and permanent change.
Christmas Day in the Morning
by Pearl S. Buck
Money is tight at Christmas and a young boy wonders what he can possibly get his Dad to show him how much he loves him. After lot of anxiety and stress, he finally comes up with the best present of all and this tale of a quiet, love-filled Christmas will totally inspire and warm your heart.
Written by author and humanitarian, Pearl S. Buck, this older book (originally published in 1955) has been reissued with beautiful, full color paintings as the illustrations. If you’re looking for a book that focuses on the holiday spirit of love and giving – this is a perfect Christmas book to pick!
Maya and Leela Present: Dances of India
by Kyra Khanna and Malini Sekhar, Illustrated by Alyssa M. Torres
Children love to dance and move, and this bright and beautiful board book introduces them to Indian culture in the most wonderful way – through the enthusiastic eyes of two young girls.
In Dances of Of India, Maya and Leela watch and participate as the dancing and music come to life with bells jingling, sticks tapping, drums drumming and dancers acting out legendary characters. Deceptively simple, the book is a ton of fun to read but can be used in lots of ways – to teach basic beats of music, to share stories that the dancers reenact or to try out fun creative activities with kids such as tapping musical sticks, making masks or swirling with colorful scarves.
How to sum up this book for young readers and pre-readers? The last page does it perfectly:
“All Across the Land,
Music Fills The air
That’s because, in India
Dance is everywhere !”
Check out this wonderful “must have” book for tiny dancers and little global citizens! To purchase a copy from the publisher’s site, visit:
Or find it on Amazon at:
Yikang’s Day – From Dawn To Dusk In A Chinese City, Written By Sungwan So
This is a wonderful “day in the life” book that follows a young girl named Yikang throughout her day, from breakfast with her family, through her school day and back home for dinner and family time. Set in the northern city of Changzi (Shanxi Province), this brightly photographed story is a great way to learn more about life in modern China. It’s also a fun way to start discussions about how life in other cultures may be different and how it might be the same.
For instance, many students will recognize the subjects that Yikang studies during her day such as art, math and music. Plus there’s exercise time at school and a flag salute that’s similar to many US schools. However, Yikang goes to school on a bicycle and gets to go home for an extended lunch – returning at about 3 PM! Along with a nice story, the book also has very good notes about Chinese culture, names and surnames and much more.
Part of the Dawn to Dusk book series, Yikang’s day is a great way to help kids see the world through the eyes of a child growing up in a different culture. Some other favorite Dawn To Dusk titles are also listed below as well!
Bongani’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a South African City (A Child’s Day)
by Gisèle Wulfsohn
Iina-Marja’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in Lapland (A Child’s Day) by Jaakko Alatalo
Rise and Shine, Mariko-Chan!
Written by Chiyoko Tomioka, Illustrated by Yoshiharu Tsuchida
What is morning like at your house?
For little Mariko and her Japanese/Japanese-American family it’s a busy and happy time. She needs to get up, get washed and then there’s breakfast with her mom and dad, her two older sisters; Yuko and Yumi, and her “Oba-san” (grandmother).
This short book with bright and inviting illustrations is a wonderful multicultural read. It shares an experience common to all children – getting ready for the day – while allowing young readers to discover unique aspects of Japanese culture such as special names used to show affection or respect and different foods that might be part of a Japanese meal. Written by Chiyoko Tomioka, this book was originally published in Japan as: “Chiko-chan, Itterasshai”, meaning “See You Later, Chiko-chan!”
Written and Illustrated by Keiko Kasza
Choco is a little bird who is very sad. He doesn’t know who his mother is, but he is certain of one thing. His mother will look just like him…right?
This sweet little bird’s journey to find “mom” is a touching story with a happy ending. But the ending is not what Choco expected which asks and answers many important questions; such as “does a family have to look alike to be a family?”, “What makes a perfect mom or parent?”. It’s a great read for any child, but especially helpful and enjoyable as a book that addresses the issues of adoption, cross-cultural adoption or being different.
Written and illustrated by Keiko Kasza; a talented artist who was born on a small island in Japan, this is a truly charming picture book that brings home the point is that love – not looks – that make a family real!
Meet The Obamas, America’s First Family
Written By Andrea Davis Pinkney
Get a fascinating look behind the scenes into the White House and it’s first African-American President. And read on to meet the entire first family, plus the presidential dog, “Bo”.
Do you know how many people work at the White House? That there’s a swimming pool, children’s garden and much more that might surprise you? This “short but sweet” Scholastic book is a beautiful tour of President Obama’s White House complete with lots of information about the first family and moving photographs, like one young boy who asks to touch the Presidents hair to see if it was like his own.
Don’t miss the chance to chance to share these details and important aspects of the US presidency with your child through this easy-to-read, first family portrait.
How Dalia Put a Big Yellow Comforter Inside a Tiny Blue Box: And Other Wonders of Tzedakah
Written By Linda Heller, Illustrated By Stacey Dressen McQueen
Do you know about the Jewish tradition of Tzedakah? This enchanting and inspiring book will tell you all about it.
Dalia is a young girl whose teacher encourages her to start a little fund in a box and her fellow students are intrigued by what their contributions could create. Dalia shares her ideas with her younger brother who doesn’t want to be left out of the fun. And when it’s all said and done, there’s an amazing party that takes care of someone special in their community changes her life!
Although this is a book is about a specific, beautiful tradition of Judaism, it is a wonderful books for people of any faith as it delves into up the topic of giving, sharing with others and good deeds. It’s a great book for talking to kids about empathy, compassion and how meaningful it can be to express love for humanity and community.
by Carolivia Herron, Illustrated by Jeremy Tugeau
Sometimes family histories are complicated. And exciting. And amazing!
“Always An Olivia” is written as the story of an elderly African-American grandmother who lovingly passes along the details of an incredible tale to her granddaughter. It’s the story of the journey their family made as Jews escaping persecution in Spain. Then there’s a pirate ship and a brave young girl and a landing in the US Georgia Sea Isles in a community of descendants of West African slaves. And so much more! But throughout all this, one thing remains the same. There is always an “Olivia” in each generation of the family.
Critically-acclaimed author Carolivia Herron shares this amazing tale that is actually based on her own unique family history and how one daughter in each generation is given the name “Olivia” to honor the past.
Along with being an exciting and informative read, the book is a good conversation starter on topics such as multiculturalism, tolerance, Jewish history, family history and discovering your roots.
Written by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Illustrated By Diana Bryer
What a wonderful book!
It starts as young Jacobo enjoys life with his grandmother (Abuelita) in a small town in New Mexico in the United States. Although the young boy and his grandmother love their community and are active in their Catholic church, some things do seem out of place to Jacobo. Abuelita cooks differently than her neighbors and she has her own special rituals, like lighting candles on Friday nights. When a new family moves into the neighborhood who are Jewish, Jacobo starts asking more questions and finds out about his family history – one that started with an exodus of Sephartic Jews from Spain, centuries ago.
This short but powerful tale written by a woman rabbi and scholar; Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, is a perfect way to begin discussions on topics such as multicultural families, Jewish history, tolerance, religious identity and family secrets.
Read it in Spanish:
Las Matzas Secretas de Abuelita by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Writer, poet and essaying, Julia Alvarez has crafted a great book for young readers. When Miguel’s family moves from New York City to rural Vermont, he must come to grip with a world where he is different. And he’s not so sure how he feels about it.
To make matters worse, his Aunt Lola comes to visit from the Dominican Republic. Although he loves her, he worries his friends will not accept her wonderfully colorful personality and this will might make things even more difficult with his new friends. What will it take for Miguel to understand how special his family and their cultural heritage is?
I particularly liked this book because it talks frankly about language. In the beginning Miguel understands Spanish but refuses to speak it. And Tia Lola isn’t too comfortable learning English. This book is a great conversation-starter about how hard it can be to bridge a cultural gap by learning a new language – but how incredibly meaningful it is!
Find it in English on Amazon.com here:
Or, read it in Spanish:
De como tia Lola vino (de visita) a quedarse
As an older mom, I grew up in a time when there were few choices for children’s books. Nonetheless, I fell in love with the little bird that asked “Are You My Mother”, counted in English with “One Fish, Two Fish” and balked at the idea of eating “Green Eggs and Ham”.
Now there are Spanish language versions of many of these simple but meaningful books that captured the hearts of more than one generation. Here are four of my readers absolute favorites:
What a perfect bedtime book. As comforting and lyrical in Spanish as it is in English!
A little lost bird searches for it’s mom. The Spanish is a perfect translation making it a wonderful beginner’s book for learning Spanish or for developing general reading skills and a love of literacy!
This is the Dr. Suess counting and colors classic. Although it’s hard to translate the clever wordplay of Dr. Suess into Spanish and not everyone adores this particular Spanish version, the book is still a favorite of bilingual families.
Written and Illustrated by Dr. Suess
Translated by Aida E. Marcuse
Would you like to eat green eggs and ham – in a boat or with a goat? Readers love this translation of the classic silly kids book that delights young readers in Spanish as much as it does in English!
We’re part of the MKB Hispanic Heritage Blog Hop. Please check out our last post to see how you can enter to win some new favorite books in Spanish!
Welcome to the Third Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop, hosted this year by Multicultural Kid Blogs and 17 of our member blogs! Don’t miss our amazing giveaway, and share your own posts at our linky!
Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15 every year, “celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America” (from HispanicHeritageMonth.gov)
Be sure to visit all of the participating blogs (listed below) and follow our related Pinterest boards:
Don’t miss our Twitter party “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage with Kids,” Tuesday, September 23, from 9 – 10 pm ET! Follow #mkbhhm to participate!
MKB Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop: Participating Blogs
Hispanic Heritage Month GIVEAWAY!
This year to celebrate we are giving away fabulous prizes! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post for a chance to win!
Please note that there are shipping restrictions on some prizes. In the event that the winner lives outside of the shipping area, that portion of the prize will be added to the following prize package.
Grand Prize Package
Smart Play Pad (SRP $ 24.99): Interactive tablet like electronic toy makes early learning fun and exciting for little ones. More than 30 touch sensitive keys teach language and pronunciation skills to help prepare children for school. Bilingual feature helps kids learn in English & Spanish. Lightweight and truly portable for on-the-go learning. Ships to US and Canada only.
A basket of fun from Escuela Falcón in Guanajuato, Gto., Mexico. This prize includes educational games, ceramic Day of the Dead skulls, a hand-painted ceramic box, wooden toys, and a certificate for 5 hours of Skype Spanish lessons with Escuela Falcón.
A basket from Lanugo with the book “Lula la Consentida,” a limited-edition “Latino de Corazón” infant onsie, and Seventh Generation’s baby product essentials. US shipping only.
A Spanish edition of the award-winning game Bananagrams.
DVD of Spanish music videos from Rockalingua.
First Prize Package
A child’s sweater and bag from Peru courtesy of Kid World Citizen. The handmade, wool sweater is typical from the Andes and might fit a child ages 2-4. The little backpack is also handmade with gorgeous details typical of the region.
A Spanish edition of the award-winning game Bananagrams.
Chocolalala – CD of songs in English and Spanish from Mister G.
Hola Hello – A CD of children’s songs in English and Spanish from Mariana Iranzi.
Mis primeros poemas – A book of poems and audio CD for Spanish learners from All Bilingual Press.
Digital download of Spanish Colors Activities Pack with printable minibooks, games and activity pages from Mundo de Pepita.
Spanish activity book with an audio CD with listening exercises for kids between 3-10 years old (value: 12€) from Lingua Toys.
Hand-crafted guiro (traditional instrument), hand-carved from a gourd in Bolivia with a sun and moon pattern. Great instrument as well as a piece of folk art. From DARIAMUSIC. US shipping only.
Second Prize Package
Handwoven scarf from Nicaragua courtesy of Spanish Playground.
A CD of children’s songs in English and Spanish from Mariana Iranzi.
ABC Fiesta – CD of songs in English and Spanish from Mister G.
Digital download of 6 printable Spanish high frequency words books from Custom Literacy.
Bonus Prize: France Shipping Only!
Beautiful piñata created especially for this contest by Piñatas de Laly.
Link Up Your Posts Now it’s your turn to share your posts! The linky will be open through October 15, so come back and share throughout Hispanic Heritage Month!
Who hasn’t sung the rhyme or played the game of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”? This adorable book shares that popular kids rhyme and game in both English and Spanish.
Although a few parents I knew were bothered that the author substituted the words “legs” for “knee” and “foot” and toes”, the Spanish lyrics work within the song perfectly and are super-singable for kids of any age.
A wonderful little board book that not only teaches new words but encourages kids to get active with language and play!
A beautiful little “first book” for young children, especially those learning in both English and Spanish. Colorful illustrations of animal families are used to share the concepts of loving and caring that children will relate directly to their own lives.
I especially appreciated how this book focuses on the simple interactions that are so meaningful to both parent and child: listening while a child talks, tucking them into bed, singing a song for them, etc. Whether you’re adding this book for home or the early education classroom, you’ll get get hours of enjoyment from this wonderful board book for bilingual babies and toddlers!
Find This Book on Amazon.com here: Quiero a mi Mama Porque (I Love my Mommy Because Eng/Span ed) (Spanish Edition)
Abuelita (Grandmother) has come to stay in Jose’s house and changes are afoot! In this beautifully illustrated book, we see the world through Jose’s eyes as Abuelita comes to stay and life transforms in the most wonderful and meaningful ways. For instance, José has to share his room with his grandmother, but he doesn’t mind it because she tells him stories long into the night. New smells appear in the kitchen but also delicious hot chocolate for José in the mornings! Things are different, but they are good, and Abuelita adds so much to the household because she is so “full of life”!
This is a great book for starting conversations about ancestry, relatives and cultural backgrounds. It’s also a good book for discussing what happens when new members come or go from a household. Each page (or set of pages) has the text in English and Spanish, making it a great book for both bilingual readers as well as those learning either Spanish or English.
This short but fact-filled book tells the complete history of the island of New Zealand through illustrations and one or two page descriptions of important events.
It starts with the arrival of the first Polynesians peoples around 800 BC and the volcanic eruptions that shaped the island and moves forward to more modern times of British and European settlers. It describes the culture clash between the old and the new, with a special emphasis on Maori history.
Written and illustrated by a graphic designer from NZ TV, this is an amazingly complete cultural history of New Zealand. My only complaint is that there are not similar books for other countries all over the globe – this book is a great mini-lesson in world history!