Books By Age
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:
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:
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!”
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.
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!
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!
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.
What if you lived on a beautiful island before the time that Europeans came to the New World? This book is set in just that time and place.
Morning Girl and her brother, Star Boy, live in a close-knit family and clan on an idyllic island. But they are as different as night and day. Set in Taino culture, the story follows both children as they discover who they are and how they belong to their family and their world.
Michael Dorris; the author, is a member of the Modoc tribe and an exceptional writer as well as a trained anthropologist. His portrayal of life in this early Native American setting is both accurate and unforgettable. This is a beautifully written and memorable book with an interesting historical twist at the end.
Written by Michael Rose Ramirez
There’s a certain magic to hummingbirds that makes them popular in folktales wherever they are found. But how did this unusual bird first come to be?
The hummingbird myth from Taino cultures tells of a beautiful young girl and a brave young man. Unfortunately their parents did not feel they should be friends and so they are separated.
Do they find a way to be together? And how does the hummingbird come into the story? This tale of young love and devotion weaves a magical tale around a beautiful creature and may make you think twice the next time you see hummingbird in real life!
Written and Illustrated By George L. Crespo
If you lived on an island, the sea would probably be an important part of any legend or creation tale. This creation tale; retold and illustrated by George Crespo, was collected over 500 years ago by a Spanish friar who came to the island now known as Puerto Rico.
Author, painter and sculptor; George Crespo, changed a few minor details but kept a powerful story of how the ocean came into being. The story involves a family, a great hunter, a big storm and four boys who could not do as they were told.
How did one giant expanse of land turn into a series of islands in a deep blue sea? You’ll have to check out “How The Sea Began” to get the full story!
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: