Pin It
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

5 Multicultural Picture Books For Younger Children

By
5 Multicultural Picture Books For Younger Children —InCultureParent.com

It is important and enormously enriching for children to read books that encompass diverse cultures, places and languages from the wider world outside of them. And it is never too early to start this habit. But sometimes finding these types of books for very young children can be challenging. Reading early literacy books and other simple stories that are also culturally flavorful is the best approach. So, here is a fantastic assortment of books that stretch the borders and take your little ones, and your really little ones, to faraway Australia, Vietnam, India, Armenia and a whole bunch of other fascinating countries and cultures!

 

Kangaroos Hop Kangaroos Hop by Ros Moriarty& Illustrated by Balarinji

 

In this book we travel to Australian landscapes filled with kangaroos, echidnas, lizards and goannas! A cumulative tale with repetitive lines makes it fun and interesting for small children. But what makes the book very special is the accompanying artwork. The art comes from the Balarinji studio—Australia’s leading indigenous art and design group.The author who is also the director of the studio is passionately involved with projects that support Australia’s indigenous people. The Aboriginal art in the book is vibrant and bold with distinctly styled patterns and designs throughout.

 

A translation in Yanyuwa language (spoken by Aboriginal families in Australia) completes the book. Ultimately, this book is so much more than a children’s book on animals. Ten Scared Fish, also delivered by the Balarinji studio, is a counting concept book similar in style and content.

 

1,2,3 Vietnam!: A creative Vietnam-themed picture book for young children (Volume 2)‘ 1, 2, 3 Vietnam!’ and ‘Vietnam A to Z: Discover the colorful culture of Vietnam! Vietnam A to Z’ by Elka Ray

 

I love concept books that are culturally informative; they offer much more than what mainstream concept books give us. They are also wonderful resources to celebrate diversity and open up the world to children early on.As the titles above indicate these are Vietnam–themed early childhood concept books. Author and Illustrator Elka Ray is based in Ho Chi Minh, and her stories are often set in Vietnam. In these books children are exposed to the landscapes, foods, everyday things and traditions of Vietnam. Simple ‘color-pencil’ drawings visually aid and explain words and practices. Translations in Vietnamese appear alongside on every page making it a great way to introduce or use the language.

 

ranganna

Ranganna by Arthi Anand Navaneeth& Illustrated by Kavita Singh Kale

 

Ranganna, a small blue elephant who loves color wishes to have his toe nails painted. And each a different color! With help from two little girls his wish is fulfilled. The setting in India, where Ranganna lives, turns out to be the prefect canvas for strikingly colorful artwork in this book. The spreads showing Ranganna wandering near a busy temple and along the river bed filled with trees and sun-drying saris explode with color and charm. Ranganna is a simple tale for fun and flavor!

 

The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale The Greedy Sparrow by Lucine Kasbarian & Illustrated by Maria Zaikina

 

Great for read-alouds, this fable that was passed down in the author’s Armenian family is about a trickster sparrow who wants it all but eventually loses everything. With references to several Armenian places and details, Kasbarian’s love for ethnic traditions and lifelong involvement in the Armenian-American community comes through. Outlined in thick black lines, Zaikina’s illustrations are refreshing. Her extensive research of the culture is transparent in her work, particularly in the Armenian wedding scene. Featuring a baker, shepherd, bride, a minstrel and more, young children will be left with a lesson to learn and a quick-paced tale to love.

 

I See the Sun in…. Book Series by Dedie King& Illustrated by Judith Inglese

 

While most books in this set are ideal for a younger audience, all of them are great even for older kids. Every story starts off with a child waking up to the morning sun in a faraway country. We follow the routine of the child through the day and until dusk sets in. Children can easily relate to the similarities and at the same time recognize the disparities in many lifestyle details. Real lives inreal places provide an amazing (virtual) travel and learning experience crossing cultural and geographical boundaries.

 

Personally, I was introduced to many new words in different languages and names of places in diverse countries. I even liked the choice of countries—Nepal, Afghanistan, Russia, China and Mexico! The authenticity in the details clearly comes from the author’s enriched world travels and cultural immersions. With bilingual text to add value, brilliant collage art (in a combination of drawings and photographs) to bring the stories to life, and a useful glossary at the end, the “I See the Sun” series of books can be a fantastic addition to any library, classroom or book shelf.

 

ISeeTheSunBookSeries

 

Disclosure: We received free copies of the books but the choice to write the review was all ours.

© 2013, Meera Sriram. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


Almost African: My Childhood as a Serbo-Croatian in Sudan

The freedom of growing up as the only Serbo-Croatian in Sudan

Is Raising Bilingual Children Worth the Costs?

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

The West's Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep

How the West sleeps is different from the rest

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Meera Sriram has been reviewing and recommending diverse children’s literature for about ten years now. She loves to pass on a title or an author to a friend (or a stranger, for that matter). Picture books particularly appeal to the inner child in her. She moved to the U.S. at the turn of the millennium from India. After graduate studies and a brief stint as an electrical engineer, she decided to express herself in other creative ways, primarily through writing. She has co-authored four books for children, all published in India. Her writing interests include people and cultures, nature, and life’s everyday moments. She also runs an early literacy program for toddlers and preschoolers in her neighboring communities. She lives in Berkeley, CA, with her husband and two kids. Curling up to read a good book with her children is something she looks forward to every day. She constantly fantasizes about a world with no boundaries over hot chai, to help her stay warm in foggy Northern California. More at www.meerasriram.com.

Leave us a comment!

1 Comment
  1. CommentsFestive Animals Children Birthday Party   |  Wednesday, 04 December 2013 at 10:49 am

    […] InCultureParent | 5 Multicultural Picture Books For Younger Children While most books in this set are ideal for a younger audience, all of them are great even for older kids. Every story starts off with a child waking up to the morning sun in a faraway country. We follow the routine of the child  […]









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!



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!
For quite sometime, whenever there were articles that surfaced the internet concerning whether it was appropriate to breastfeed in public, I was so baffled. As a Mongolian, I was so shocked that som...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
For quite some whenever there was articles circulated on the internet concerning whether it is appropriate to breastfeed in public. As a Mongolian, I was so shocked that some countries considered i...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
I live with my Czech in laws with my four children and my Czech is crap I try to learn but the baby doesn't sleep well I'm a constant zombie and the brain just doesn't work. Plus being tired makes m...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
I am so glad I found this site. I am happy to see that I am not alone in experiencing 'family issues' after getting married. I am not from the West but I am married to a Canadian. I never truly unde...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
[…] my most favourite article about breastfeeding called Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan by Ruth Kamnitzer. I have no doubt that Mongolians would find our social stigmas around [R...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
[…] sources and reasons for the rules of these countries too, such as China, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, and Hungary (see above re “Titanic”).  Has anyone got s...
From International Baby Naming Laws–Are They a Good Thing?
[…] Source Inculture Parents […...
From Lotus Lanterns for Wesak (Buddha Day)
If your nerves shat down your hormones , can you get pregnant by injecting a sperm in you to develop a baby . Please let me know...
From Baby-Making the Hindu Way
[…] Diwali Lantern from InCultureParent […...
From Diwali Craft: Make a Lantern

More Multicultural Books, Etc.