Pin It
Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Children’s Books: 7 Global Favorites

By
Children's books around the world

One of the first things I found myself unconsciously doing when reading aloud to my kids was changing the word “Daddy” in stories to “Baba.” My kids, before preschool, had no clue what a “Daddy” was. Beyond the usual Goodnight Moon and other American classics, I gravitated toward more multicultural books to show my kids my own love of the world (and perhaps subconsciously to see if I could find any “Babas” in books!). Through friends and family around the globe who have sent us some of their favorites, we’ve been lucky to also discover books we may have never stumbled upon on our own.

 

Here are some multicultural books we love as well as other favorites from around the world:

 

Marlaguette,by Marie Colmont, is a classic French story (I am not sure if it exists in English) of a young girl who helps an injured wolf. As the wolf recovers, she wants him to become vegetarian, but it’s impossible for a wolf to change his nature.

 

Tenzin’s Deer, by Barbara Soros (author) and Danuta Mayer (illustrator), features a boy in Tibet who discovers a hurt deer and nurses him sweetly back to health. It weaves Buddhist principles throughout the book in a child-friendly way, such as the ideas of non-attachment and being one with all beings.

 

Basava and The Dots of Fire, by Radhika Chadha (author) and Bhakti Phatak (illustrator), is a beautifully illustrated story about a little boy from an Indian village who goes into the woods to gather firewood and rescues a dragonfly with wet wings and butterfly from a spider web. When the forest grows dark and he can’t find his way home, he discovers how they will in turn help him. Published in India, this book is also available in Hindi, Marathi, Gujrati, Tamil, Telugu, Malyalam and Kannada.

 

Mein Schönstes Wimmel-Bilderbuch (My Beautiful Teeming Picture Book) by Ali Mitgutsch: Despite the German title, the book has no words and is all pictures, so it’s perfect for any reader. Depicting life in Germany across different seasons, the pages are full of tiny details to discover. I love it because of the freedom it allows the reader to create any story, without the limitation of words. The pictures inspire new questions from my kids each time as they uncover a new element. The details of many of the pictures are very German, like the little corner for “FKK” in the beach picture, which is a reference to German’s FKK (free body culture or in other words, nudity) clubs. Despite how this may sound, it is all very normal in Germany.

 

In Tashi and the Tibetan Flower Cure, by Naomi C. Rose, a Tibetan-American girl is saddened by her Popola’s (grandfather’s) deteriorating health. When he reminisces about the pollen from flowers helping sick people heal in his Tibetan village, she gets an idea to cure him.

 

The Story Tree, retold by Hugh Lupton and illustrated by Sophie Fatus, is a collection of seven classic fables from different countries with fun illustrations. My kids love the African-American story, “The Sweetest Song,” of the little girl who tricks the wolf. The German story, “The Magic Porridge Pot,” is another of their top requests.

 

Suki’s Kimono, by Chieri Uegaki (author) and Stephanie Jorisch (illustrator), tells the story about maintaining your individuality and taking pride in your culture. Suki, a Japanese girl, goes to her first day of school proudly wearing a kimono that her grandmother gave her. Her older sisters think she is silly for not wearing something “new” and “cool.” We follow Suki during her first school day and watch her classmates’ reaction to her kimono.

 

What are some of your favorite multicultural books?

© 2012 – 2013, Stephanie Meade. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan

Colleague drank your breast milk from the work fridge again? Tales of breastfeeding in Mongolia

Is Raising Bilingual Children Worth the Costs?

Fancy schools, international vacations, foreign language books, DVDs and tutors add up fast

Overheard on the Beijing Subway When People Don't Think I Speak Mandarin

The awesome stuff I overhear like what these two Chinese women think of foreigners.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Stephanie is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of InCultureParent. She has two Moroccan-American daughters (ages 5 and 6), whom she is raising, together with her husband, bilingual in Arabic and English at home, while also introducing Spanish. After many moves worldwide, she currently lives in Berkeley, California.

Leave us a comment!

2 Comments
  1. CommentsLauren   |  Monday, 30 January 2012 at 6:41 pm

    We love the Thai bedtime story HUSH by Minfong Ho — it makes anybody sleepy

  2. CommentsThe Editors   |  Monday, 30 January 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Thanks for the suggestion. I’d love to check it out. A friend also just texted me today to check out Ladder to the Moon by Maya Soetero-Ng so we have two new ones to explore from just today now.









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!
[easy_sign_up phone="0"]

A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
Hi...I am an Asian who was adopted and raised by Caucasian American missionaries in South America. I have two kids-my daughter is 16 and my son is 11. When I had my first baby I too was indoctrinate...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
This Karina, the Karina from the article. I'm now 13. It took this article was written 3 years ago and barely coming across it right now. I was originally trying to look for my folkloric pictures fo...
From How This Single Working Mom Raised a Trilingual Kid
Nice recipe, thank for shari...
From Vaisakhi Recipe: Sarson Ka Sag
I've been in Germany Ten years now, Lived in Frankfurt and Stuttgart, specifically Leonberg. In Frankfurt I was shocked by how unfriendly the People were, how aggressive their Drivers, but in Leonbe...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
At DreamAfrica, we are a streaming app for animations and films from around the world. We celebrate cultural representation in digital media and invite you to download and share our DreamAfrica appp...
From What We Are Not About
Imagine those people who work at your typical IT Department, yeah those weirdos with low EQ, no manners, no social skills; indeed those who kiss the bosses' ass when it's convenient, but get offend...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I contacted the editor of this magazine (Stephanie) and she told me she'd inform Jan about this article. I have since changed my mind about going to Germany because of Merkel's policies, and this i...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@Daniela You speak BS, you have never seen Franconia, or you're a Franconian girl. In the second case, I know that no intellectual conversation could be made with Franconian people, because you'r...
From Are Germans Really Rude?

More Multicultural Books, Etc.