Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to Eastern Europe. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about Eastern Europe.
Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about Eastern Europe, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Baboushka and the Three Kings to popular sellers like Joseph Had a Little Overcoat to some of our favorite hidden gems like Bony-legs.
We hope this list of kids books about Eastern Europe can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
Lisa and Lottie - When they meet for the first time at summer camp, two ten-year-old girls discover they are twins and plot to bring their divorced parents together again.
The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain - “I was born at the beginning of it all, on the Red side―the Communist side―of the Iron Curtain.” Through annotated illustrations, journals, maps, and dreamscapes, Peter Sís shows what life was like for a child who loved to draw, proudly wore the red scarf of a Young Pioneer, stood guard at the giant statue of Stalin, and believed whatever he was told to believe. But adolescence brought questions. Cracks began to appear in the Iron Curtain, and news from the West slowly filtered into the country. Sís learned about beat poetry, rock ‘n’ roll, blue jeans, and Coca-Cola. He let his hair grow long, secretly read banned books, and joined a rock band. Then came the Prague Spring of 1968, and for a teenager who wanted to see the world and meet the Beatles, this was a magical time. It was short-lived, however, brought to a sudden and brutal end by the Soviet-led invasion. But this brief flowering had provided a glimpse of new possibilities―creativity could be discouraged but not easily killed. By joining memory and history, Sís takes us on his extraordinary journey: from infant with paintbrush in hand to young man borne aloft by the wings of his art. This title has Common Core connections. The Wall is a 2007 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year, a 2008 Caldecott Honor Book, a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year, the winner of the 2008 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Nonfiction, and a nominee for the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids.
Anya and the Dragon - This lush tale of magic and dragons is a gem for any adventure-seeking middle grader and perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time. Anya and the Dragon is the story of fantasy and mayhem in tenth century Eastern Europe, where headstrong eleven-year-old Anya is a daughter of the only Jewish family in her village. When her family’s livelihood is threatened by a bigoted magistrate, Anya is lured in by a friendly family of fools, who promise her money in exchange for helping them capture the last dragon in Kievan Rus. This seems easy enough, until she finds out that the scary old dragon isn’t as old—or as scary—as everyone thought. Now Anya is faced with a choice: save the dragon, or save her family.
The Way Meat Loves Salt: A Cinderella Tale from the Jewish Tradition - Many years ago in Poland, there lived a rabbi who had a wife and three daughters. One day, the rabbi asks his children a powerful question: “How much do you love me?” His older daughters profess their love in gold and diamonds, but his youngest daughter, Mireleh, declares she loves her father the way meat loves salt. For this remark, she is banished from her father’s home. In this flavorful Jewish Cinderella tale, Mireleh’s courageous journey is peppered with a perfect blend of magic and romance, leading to a reconciliation with her beloved father. Lavishly illustrated in Louise August’s bold linocuts, The Way Meat Loves Salt will make a wonderful gift for the Jewish holidays.
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