Best Kids Books About Culture

34 Kids Books About Culture

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Those Magnificent Sheep In Their Flying Machines book
#1
Those Magnificent Sheep In Their Flying Machines
Written by Peter Bently and illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The sheep on the hillside were munching away, much as they always did, day after day, when suddenly something went ZOOM overhead! "Let's go and see what it is!" they all said. And so begins a ripping, round-the-world adventure as the magnificent sheep take to skies in their spiffing, yellow flying machine...

That's Not How You Do It! book
#2
That's Not How You Do It!
Written and illustrated by Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Lucy knows how to do everything. All her friends ask her for help if they need to know the right way to do something. When Toshi arrives, Lucy thinks he can't do anything properly at all. She can barely hide her frustration. When she finally tries to teach Toshi the right way to do things, she learns a very important lesson herself.

The Talkative Tortoise book
#3
The Talkative Tortoise
Written by Andrew Fusek Peters and illustrated by Charlotte Cooke
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A talkative tortoise lets his vanity win out over common sense in this tale of why the tortoise has a cracked shell. This traditional Himalayan 'Tale with a Twist' is retold by poet, author and storyteller, Andrew Fusek Peters. Tales from around the world provide an insight into cultures other than our own.

Decorated Horses book
#4
Decorated Horses
Written by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent and illustrated by Jeannie Brett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

This nonfiction picture book about horses has a fresh focus: how people over the ages have decorated horses in special ways. Organized into three categories—warfare and hunting, performance and competition, performance, and ceremony—the book introduces horses such as the chariot-pulling war horse of the Persians to the rose-decorated winner of the Kentucky Derby.

Ossiri and the Bala Mengro book
#5
Ossiri and the Bala Mengro
Written by Katharine Quarmby, Richard O'Neill and illustrated by Hannah Tolson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

A Traveller girl creates her own musical instrument from a willow branch and lots of recycled objects. She plays it enthusiastically, but it sounds terrible! Ignoring warnings not to awaken the ogre in the hills, Ossiri goes there to practise playing her instrument. Will she wake the ogre, and will it appreciate her playing? Told by a Romani storyteller and a picture book author, this original tale offers a fascinating insight into Travelling lifestyles and cultures.

I'm an Immigrant Too! book
#6
I'm an Immigrant Too!
Written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

From beloved Australian author Mem Fox comes a timely picture book about how all of our lives are enriched by the vibrant cultural diversity immigrants bring to their new communities. What journeys we have travelled, from countries near and far! Together now, we live in peace, beneath the Southern Star. Inspired by the plight of immigrants around the world, Mem Fox was moved to write this lyrical and rhyming exploration of the myriad ways immigrants have enriched her home country of Australia. Young readers everywhere will see themselves—and their friends and neighbors—in this powerful and moving picture book.

A Canadian Year book
#7
A Canadian Year
Written by Tania McCartney and illustrated by Tina Snerling
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

Meet Liam, Ava, Oki, Chloe and Noah - Canadian kids representing a multicultural blend of culture and race that typifies our amazing country. They'll take you through a year in the life of Canada's kids, from celebrations, traditions and events, to our everyday way of life and the little things that make childhood so memorable. A Canadian Year is a picture book bursting with national pride. It's a snapshot of who we are as Canadians, blending our modern-day culture and lifestyle with past traditions and native heritage. Its pages feature meandering text, dates and gorgeous illustrations showcasing our five Canadian kids at play, at school, at home, and enjoying the sights and sites of our nation. From the frozen glaciers of our north to the sweeping prairies, rocky mountains and great lakes, from vibrant cities to tiny towns, this is our Canadian childhood.

The Dalai Lama book
#8
The Dalai Lama
Written and illustrated by Demi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

By award-winning picture book author Demi, this is a fully illustrated nonfiction picture book that tells the story of the search for the fourteenth Dalai Lama. Now in paperback for the first time, with a foreword written by The Dalai Lama himself. When the thirteenth Dalai Lama died in 1933, the highest holy men in Tibet searched throughout the land for his successor. They were spiritually guided to the humble dwelling of a loving family high in the Himalayas. When the search party greeted the youngest son, the child told them, "Now I am going home!" At last the fourteenth Dalai Lama had been found, and at the age of two, the young boy was taken to the capital city, Lhasa, where he began his training to become the spiritual leader of Tibet. The work of the Dalai Lama and the fate of Tibet are topics of evergrowing international focus. In simple language and glorious art, Demi pays tribute to the fourteenth Dalai Lama's remarkable life. She captures the beauty of Tibetan culture, as well as the charm, talent, and vision of one of the world's best-known spiritual figures.

Sugar Hill book
#9
Sugar Hill
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by R Gregory Christie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Take a walk through Harlem's Sugar Hill and meet all the amazing people who made this neighborhood legendary. With upbeat rhyming, read-aloud text, Sugar Hill celebrates the Harlem neighborhood that successful African Americans first called home during the 1920s. Children raised in Sugar Hill not only looked up to these achievers but also experienced art and culture at home, at church, and in the community. Books, music lessons, and art classes expanded their horizons beyond the narrow limits of segregation. Includes brief biographies of jazz greats Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis; artists Aaron Douglas and Faith Ringgold; entertainers Lena Horne and the Nicholas Brothers; writer Zora Neale Hurston; civil rights leader W. E. B. DuBois and lawyer Thurgood Marshall.

Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town book
#10
Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town
Written by A. LaFaye and illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Dede sees a notice offering land for black people in Kansas, her family decides to quit sharecropping and become homesteading pioneers.Inspired by the true story of Nicodemus, Kansas, a town founded in the late 1870s by Exodusters—former slaves leaving the Jim Crow South in search of a new beginning— this fictional story follows Dede and her parents as they set out to stake and secure a claim, finally allowing them to have a home to call their own.

Night of the Moon book
#11
Night of the Moon
Written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Julie Paschkis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Now in paperback, this sweet tale follows Yasmeen, a seven-year-old Pakistani-American girl, as she celebrates the Muslim holidays of Ramadan, "The Night of the Moon" (Chaand Raat), and Eid. With lush illustrations that evoke Islamic art, this beautiful story offers a peek into modern Muslim culture—and into the ancient roots of its most cherished traditions.

The Wild Beast book
#12
The Wild Beast
Written by Eric Walters and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Inspired by a story told to the author while on safari in 2015, The Wild Beast describes the creation of one of Africa’s most unusual animals, the wildebeest. According to oral tradition, the Creator built this unique beast out of leftover parts from other magnificent animals found on the continent. Horns from buffalos and stripes meant for zebras.Tails from giraffes and bumps meant for camels.This creative retelling will introduce little ones to a story rich in both imagery and in lesson: Take what you need to live. Take no more. Waste nothing.

Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of Science book
#13
Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of Science
Written by Bob Cooper and illustrated by Greg Paprocki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Little Leonardo s Fascinating World of Science introduces kids to the vast and varied areas of science and the different types of scientists they can aspire to become. Whether it s ancient dinosaur bones unearthed by paleontologists, anthropologists studying different cultures around the globe, or new planets discovered by astronomers, there s bound to be something here any child will find fascinating and appealing.

Someone New book
#14
Someone New
Written and illustrated by Anne Sibley O'Brien
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

When Anne Sibley O’Brien’s book I’m New Here was released, the New York Times noted that “Readers are placed squarely into the characters’ point of view,” giving insight into the immigrant child’s experience. In this companion book, readers’ points of view are flipped, and we see the new children from the perspective of the American kids in the classroom. There is sympathy, but also confusion. There is curiosity, but also trepidation. What each child learns, however, is that friendship and understanding close the gaps in language and culture.

On the News book
#15
On the News
Written by Jillian Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

On the News gently introduces young children to the realities of natural disasters, terrorism and other forms of tragedy. In age-appropriate language and tone, Dr. Roberts explains what tragedy is, the feelings it may create and how to manage those feelings. She also emphasizes the good that can come out of tragedy, looking at how people help one another in caring, compassionate and heroic ways.The book’s question-and-answer format will help parents have a meaningful conversation about these difficult topics with their children and equip them to better handle questions that arise when children are exposed to the news. The World Around Us series introduces children to complex cultural,social and environmental issues they may encounter outside the comfort of their homes, in a way that is straightforward and accessible.

EveryBody's Different on EveryBody Street book
#16
EveryBody's Different on EveryBody Street
Written by Sheree Fitch and illustrated by Emma Fitzgerald
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Playful words lead you into this beautiful children’s book and invite you to celebrate our gifts,our weaknesses,our differences and our sameness. Fitch displays her wit and mastery of words in quick, rollicking rhymes that are complemented by Emma Fitzgerald’s lively illustrations. EveryBody’s Different on EveryBody Street was originally produced in 2001 as a fundraiser to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Festival of Trees in support of the Nova Scotia Hospital and to raise awareness for mental illness and addiction.

The Art Collector book
#17
The Art Collector
Written by Jan Wahl and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Oscar’s Great-Granny showed him how to draw. Oscar was not good at drawing. But he loved art, so he kept the drawing of a red chicken that Great-Granny gave to him and he loved to look at it. He bought another drawing at a flea market, and he loved looking at that one, too. As he grew up, Oscar collected more drawings and paintings, filling his bedroom with color and shapes and scenes. Oscar collected and collected until a museum had to be built to hold all of his drawings and paintings. Not everyone can become an artist, but as Oscar learned, everyone can love looking at art. Oscar’s passion for the stories in paintings and the thoughts they provoke will inspire young readers to see art in a new way—even if they don’t enjoy making it themselves.

If You Lived Here book
#18
If You Lived Here
Written and illustrated by Giles Laroche
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Features intricately detailed, bas-relief collage spreads of dwellings in other world regions and historical times to explain how different people live and have lived--from a village house in South Africa that tells the story of its family to a floating green house in the Netherlands. 20,000 first printing.

Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy book
#19
Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy
Written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Edel Rodriguez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

A moving biography of the late Leonard Nimoy, the iconic Spock from Star Trek, whose story exemplifies the American experience and the power of pursuing your dreams.

Atlas of Food book
#20
Atlas of Food
Written by Genny Gallo and illustrated by Annalisa Beghelli
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-99

Discovering the flavors and traditions of cooking around the world! A worldwide trip among main and wellknown traditional dishes, to learn the tradition and the relation to nature of the people who created them. The drawings of the dishes on the maps take the reader on a journey through the flavours of the world, enriching their understanding of traditions and, why not, stirring the appetite.

Juna's Jar book
#21
Juna's Jar
Written by Jane Bahk and illustrated by Felicia Hoshino
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Juna and her best friend, Hector, love to go on adventures in the park, collecting things to put in Juna’s empty kimchi jars. But then one day Hector unexpectedly moves away, and Juna is left wondering who will play with her. With the help of her special jar, Juna searches for her friend the world over. What Juna finds is that adventure—and new friends—can be found in the most unexpected places. Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, Juna’s Jar is a heartwarming and whimsical celebration of friendship and the power of imagination.

Pancakes to Parathas book
#22
Pancakes to Parathas
Written by Alice B. McGinty and illustrated by Tomoko Suzuki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Breakfast varies from country to country, but it's how all children begin their day. Explore the meals of twelve countries in this playful approach to the world! From Australia to India to the USA, come travel around the world at dawn. Children everywhere are waking up to breakfast. In Japan, students eat soured soybeans called natto. In Brazil, even kids drink coffee--with lots of milk! With rhythm and rhymes and bold, graphic art, Pancakes to Parathas invites young readers to explore the world through the most important meal of the day.

Journey Through Islamic Art book
#23
Journey Through Islamic Art
Written by Nahima bint Robert and illustrated by Diana Mayo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A young girl's imagination takes flight and carries her on a magical journey into the world of Islamic art and architecture. From colossal mosques to opulent palaces and lush ornamental gardens, she travels through Islamic world's rich artistic heritage. A perfect way to introduce young readers to Islamic history and culture, Diana Mayo's sumptuous illustrations bring the richness and splendour of Islamic art to life. Some editions of this dual language book can be used with your TalkingPEN.

The Thundermaker book
#24
The Thundermaker
Written by Alan Syliboy and illustrated by Lindsay R Marshall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

The Thundermaker is based on Mi’kmaw artist Alan Syliboy’s spectacular mixed-media exhibit of the same name. In the book, Big Thunder teaches his son, Little Thunder, about the important responsibility he has in making thunder for his people. Little Thunder learns about his Mi’kmaw identity through his father’s teachings and his mother’s traditional stories. Syliboy’s spectacular, vibrant artwork brings the story of Little Thunder to vivid life.

You Hold Me Up book
#25
You Hold Me Up
Written by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Danielle Daniel
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

This vibrant picture book, beautifully illustrated by celebrated artist Danielle Daniel, encourages children to show love and support for each other and to consider each other’s well-being in their everyday actions. Consultant, international speaker and award-winning author Monique Gray Smith wrote You Hold Me Up to prompt a dialogue among young people, their care providers and educators about Reconciliation and the importance of the connections children make with their friends, classmates and families. This is a foundational book about building relationships, fostering empathy and encouraging respect between peers, starting with our littlest citizens. Orca Book Publishers is pleased to offer this hardcover picture book as a dual-language (English and Plains Cree) edition.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.