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!
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!”
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
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!
This 14 page E-book available as an immediate digital download from TeachersPayTeachers shares a dozen different instruments from world cultures plus a map of where you might find them. Instruments included are ones that are easily recognized – like the guitar – but also more unusual instruments that come from Russia, India, China, Hawaii and South America as well.
Written by and Meera Sriram and Praba Ram, Illustrations by Koel Basu
One of the great things about books is that they can take you and your family around the world. You can visit another country or explore a different culture. And some books – like Bijoy and the Big River – have just the right combination of great information, rich photography and an engaging story.
In this book you get to visit with a young boy from the state of Assam in Northeast India. Their family lives close to an important river that flows out of the Himalaya mountains and past their village. A great deal of their lives revolves around the river as well as their occupation of raising silkworms and making silk. On one special day, Bijoy gets to accompany his dad on his first ferry trip to a village famous for making some of the finest silk in the land.
Traveling with Bijoy, the wonders of this area unfold, combining details of day-to-day life with exciting experiences such as seeing river dolphins, a beautiful sunset on the river or passing a cruise ship bound for a nearby wildlife park. Bijoy and the Big River is a wonderful, children’s book that will intrigue readers of any age and encourage them to discover more about this exciting and important region of the world.
You can purchase this book from Tulika Press, a publishing house offering exceptional books for young readers in a variety of languages including English, Telegu, Bengali, Gujarati and Tamil. Find out more here:
Sophia is off on an adventure with her family. They’ll be taking an airplane to Costa Rica and exploring the jungle and the rainforest. As you can imagine, her whole family will explore an exciting new world. And, as the story unfolds, we watch to see how certain activities, objects or animals remind Sophia and her little brother of yoga postures they know.
Although yoga is an art form that dates back centuries, it can be practiced by very young children in a way that immediately inspires and delights. This book is a perfect way of sharing yoga poses and practices as well as a love and curiosity for our beautiful, bright planet.
I reviewed the Spanish version of this book and recommend it highly to my readers, especially those with “all abilities kids”. Link for the Spanish language version is below.
Sofia En Una Aventura Por La Selva
Give Your Children the Healthy Benefits of Yoga with this Kids Yoga Stories Adventure Book!
Join Sophia on her jungle adventure! Fly like a toucan, slither like a snake, and flutter like a butterfly as you act out this journey through a Costa Rican jungle. What else might you see?
Kids Yoga Stories introduce you to engaging characters who will get your child laughing, moving, and creating. Reading is good for the mind AND body! The story links several yoga poses in a specific sequence to create a coherent and meaningful story.
This book for ages 3 to 7 is more than a storybook, but it's also a unique experience for children.
Sophia's Jungle Adventure is also available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Italian, Russian, and German. See the author's page for the whole list of yoga stories (including the complementary, Sophia's Jungle Adventure Coloring Book) at www.amazon.com/author/giselleshardlow.
Old Babushka, known throughout all of Moskva for her beautifully painted eggs, is preparing her eggs for the Easter Festival when she takes in an injured goose. She names the goose Rechenka, and they live happily together until one day when Rechenka accidentally overturns a basket, breaking all of Babushka's lovingly crafted eggs.
But the next morning Babushka has a surprise awaiting her in the basket. She cries: "A miracle!" It is one of many in this charmingly told tale of friendship and caring.
With vibrant illustrations, Patricia Polacco has joyously re-created the flavor of Old Moscow and its festivals. The eggs, stunningly colored and intricately designed, are authentic reproductions of eggs painted in the Ukrainian style. Rechenka's Eggs is a timeless story of classic beauty.
Written And Illustrated By Patricia Polacco
A kindly old woman named Babuska is famous for her special Easter Eggs. Each year she wins first prize for the beautiful creations she has crafted over the long cold months of winter in Russia. But this year may be different. Babuska has rescued a goose with a wounded wing and; by mistake, it’s broken all her marvelously crafted eggs. Can an Easter miracle brighten the life of the little goose and sweet, patient Babuska?
The word “Babuska” in Russian and Polish can mean old woman or grandmother. You’ll love this tale of a special grandmother and how her kindness and faith make for the most heart-warming Easter ever.
Written/Retold by Eric A. Kimmel, Illustrated By Katya Krenina
On a cold, wintery morning, Katrusya and her grandfather discover something alarming. Small birds had been caught in an unexpected snowfall and are in danger of freezing to death. The young girl and her grandfather pick up as many as they can and bring them inside. So does the rest of her family and her entire village. Even the priest from the local church invites the birds to come inside and have a safe refuge from the cold.
The little birds brighten the spirits of all the villagers during an especially long winter until they need to fly away in Spring. Can the villagers let them go? What will come of this simple act of kindness? Perhaps an Easter miracle?
This is a beautiful book about how small actions can create big results and transform even the bleakest situation. Illustrated by Katya Krenina, a native of the Ukraine, this book is charming and uplifting, especially in Spring or before the Easter holidays.
Villagers take in a flock of golden birds nearly frozen by an early snow and are rewarded with beautifully decorated eggs the next spring.
The greedy Leprechaun King has locked away all the luck in Ireland and the whole country has fallen in to despair. Through clever charades, Fiona outwits the Leprechaun King and restores luck to the land.
Luminous illustrations add to the magic and wonder of this original folktale.
Written by Teresa Bateman
Illustrated By Kelly Murphy
What would you do if suddenly all the luck in the world disappeared?
This is an enchanted and enchanting story about the wee folk of Ireland and one clever heroine named Fiona. The book tells the tale of a Leprechaun king who decides to hide all the luck in the world away from the humans. The results are terrible as cows will not give milk, chickens won’t lay eggs and potatoes won’t grow in the fields. And people simply don’t know what to do. All except clever Fiona.
How can a human outwit a Leprechaun king and make things right? Pick up this charming book and find out how a good heart and a clever mind can sometimes change even the more dire situations.
Written By Virginia Kroll
Illustrated By Sally Wern Comport
Although Easter is usually a happy time of year, this year seems like it will be quite a challenge for Anya. Her father has gone off to war and the family has lost their grey goose that lays the eggs they use to make beautiful pysanky – traditional Ukrainian Easter Eggs. Can an Easter miracle save the day?
This book with it’s soft, heart-warming illustrations is a gentle story showing great love between the family members and a deep abiding sense of God’s presence and love. The book also shares background information about the art of Ukrainian pysanky and has several easy crafts for bringing this story alive.
A Ukrainian Celebration of New Life in Christ Children love coloring Easter eggs, and here's a story to explain one of the origins of this tradition. In early nineteenth-century Ukraine, Christians celebrated Easter by exchanging colorful, hand-decorated pysanky eggs---but with Papa away at the war and Mama struggling to make ends meet, Anya's family was too poor to buy eggs to decorate one year. That is, until Anya discovered an abandoned nest of goose eggs and began planning an Easter surprise for her family. But God had an even better surprise in store, and when the eggs unexpectedly began to hatch, Anya learned what the Easter story teaches: spring brings gifts of myriad new beginnings, just as the risen Christ gave the gift of new life to us all. Each Traditions of Faith book features a story of how significant Christian traditions emerged in cultures around the world, with a note about the origin and history of the tradition, and offers ideas and activities each family can adopt as its own.
Don Pedro wants to care the best radish sculpture for the Nigh of the Radishes. One radish won't cooperate. Written in a style reminicent of the Gingerbread Man. Based on the annual festival in Oaxaca, Mexico. Bilingual edition in English and Spanish.
Written by Janice Levy
Have you heard about the Christmas custom in Oaxaca, Mexico called The Night of The Radish (El Noche de Los Rabanos)? As part of the special festivities, people carve large radishes into elaborate scenes – most of which have a Christmas or Nativity theme. And some are amazing works of art.
In this story, one radish decides that she does not want to become part of this festival and runs away. A huge chase ensues and a cast of characters chase the radish in a way that resembles the story of the gingerbread man.
Funny, cute and a nice way to talk about how holiday customs differ from place to place, the Runaway Radish is a great book to add a touch of mirth to the holiday season!
Written by Bhakti Mathur
Illustrated By Maulshree Somani
Several teachers I know recommended this book as a fun way to learn about the holiday of Diwali – through rhymes! They felt the book was fun, age appropriate and also culturally accurate and respectfully written! Text and illustrations are adorable and introduce this holiday to readers in a way that is as exciting and understandable.
Brilliant firecrackers lighting up the night, Diyas twinkling like stars—what a sight! This is Diwali, in all its glory, as told to Klaka, by his Ammaùa magical story. First, the celebration of Prince Rama, his homecoming, and his victory over Ravana, the evil demon king. Next, a story about Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, who rewards her true devotees with fortune and good health.
Written By Verma Jatinder, Illustrated By Nilesh Mistry
This book is less about the holiday of Diwali and more about the exciting story behind it. The book is a retelling of the “Ramayana”, an age-old Hindu epic tale of how Prince Rama overcomes the Demon King. Full of adventure, magic and miracles, this story will delight both young and older readers.
Perfect for reading as part of a Diwali celebration or as a way to learn more about India and Hindu folklore.
The Story of Divaali is a wonderful rendition of the "Ramayana," an age-old Hindu epic filled with magic, miracles and adventure. The compelling story tells of a young prince Rama who overcomes Ravana the Demon King. Out of his triumph, Divaali, the Indian festival of lights, is born. The powerful narrative is perfectly complemented by the jewel-like illustrations of Nilesh Mistry. Drawing on the versions told to him in childhood by his parents, Jatinder Verma brings the essence of this great Indian epic to life for a new generation.
By Roger Priddy
A 12 page, beautiful, bright “touch and feel” board book about Diwali, perfect for the youngest child.
What a nice way to share this joyous holiday with really young children through colorful rangoli and other simple but pleasing, powerful images that share the spirit of this holiday.
Book by Priddy, Roger
Written by Jonny Zucker, Illustrations by Jan Barger
For Hindu people, Diwali is a very special holiday that celebrates the new year. Although customs and practices vary from area to area and from North to South India, Diwali is a joyous occasion involving bringing in a new year, making and sharing sweets, gathering with friends and family and telling stories that have deep and powerful cultural significance.
How do people celebrate Diwali? Beautiful, colorful patterns called rangolis are painted and small lights called “diya” are lit (or modern electric lights are sometimes used as well). And then there are trips to the temple, small presents, fireworks and much more! This book is perfect for children of any age. Beautiful pictures and easy to read text share the joy and fun of this special holiday in a way that is sure to appeal to any reader.
Books in the Festival Time series describe the activities of typical families as parents and children celebrate some of their culture’s major holidays. Attractive color illustrations on every page will appeal to younger children. The simply yet delightfully told stories describe the festivities while giving children background information about holidays in many different cultures. A two-page spread at the back of each book contains information for parents, and includes suggestions on ways to communicate the holiday’s meaning to kids. Diwali is the Hindu five-day festival of lights that welcomes in the lunar new year. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashwin, or Aasho, which occurs in October or November, depending on the lunar calendar. During the festival, parents tell stories that relate to the holiday, exchange gifts of sweets, light candles, and attend elaborate fireworks displays. The holiday is marked by an abundance of lights displayed in homes and businesses.