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Social Life And Customs: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about social life and customs?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to social life and customs. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about social life and customs.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. 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, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about social life and customs, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions to popular sellers like Boy to some of our favorite hidden gems like Thank You, Sarah.

We hope this list of kids books about social life and customs 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.

Top 10 Books About Social Life And Customs

Maps book
#1
Maps
Written & illustrated by Daniel Mizielinski and Aleksandra Mizielinska
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Provides an illustrated collection of maps covering the continents and major nations of the world, detailing cities, landmarks, and cultural icons for each.

Dia de Los Muertos book
#2
Dia de Los Muertos
Written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong & illustrated by Carles Ballesteros
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and children throughout the pueblo, or town, are getting ready to celebrate! They decorate with colored streamers, calaveras, or sugar skulls, and pan de muertos, or bread of the dead. There are altars draped in cloth and covered in marigolds and twinkling candles. Music fills the streets. Join the fun and festivities, learn about a different cultural tradition, and brush up on your Spanish vocabulary, as the town honors their dearly departed in a traditional, time-honored style. ¡Es el Día de los Muertos y todos los niños del pueblo y ciudad están listos para celebrar! Decoran con calaveras lo calavera de azucar, pan de muertos y banderas. Hay altares cubriertos de manta con muchas flores, y velas parpadiendo. Musica llena las calles. Hay que unirse con los festivales y abrender una diferente cultura y traduciones y repasar el vocabulario en español, mientras el pueblo honra sus queridos en una tradución con el transcurso y con el estilo del tiempo.

Ten Little Rabbits book
#3
Ten Little Rabbits
Written by Virginia Grossman & illustrated by Sylvia Long
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

A counting rhyme with illustrations of rabbits in Native American costume, depicting traditional customs such as rain dances, hunting, and smoke signals. On board pages.

Día de los Muertos (Celebrate the World) book
#4
Día de los Muertos (Celebrate the World)
Written by Hannah Eliot & illustrated by Jorge Gutierrez
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Learn all about the traditions of Día de los Muertos with this second book in the brand-new board book series Celebrate the World, which highlights special occasions and holidays across the globe. At the end of October each year, it’s time to celebrate an ancient tradition: Día de los Muertos! With vibrant illustrations by Golden Globe–winning Mexican illustrator Jorge Gutierrez, this festive board book teaches that Día de los Muertos honors ancestors and loved ones who have passed. From sugar skulls to papel picado, this is a holiday that truly commemorates the cycle of life.

Día de los Muertos book
#5
Día de los Muertos
Written by Hannah Eliot & illustrated by Jorge R. Gutierrez
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

At the end of October each year, it’s time to celebrate an ancient tradition: Dia de los Muertos! With vibrant illustrations by Golden Globe–winning Mexican illustrator Jorge Gutierrez, this festive board book teaches that Dia de los Muertos honors ancestors and loved ones who have passed. From sugar skulls to papel picado, this is a holiday that truly commemorates the cycle of life.

Thank You, Sarah book
#6
Thank You, Sarah
Written by Laurie Halse Anderson & illustrated by Matt Faulkner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Relates how Sarah Hale, a magazine editor and author, persuaded President Lincoln to transform Thanksgiving Day into a national holiday.

Child of St Kilda book
#7
Child of St Kilda
Written & illustrated by Beth Waters
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

Norman John Gillies was one of the last children ever born on St Kilda, five years before the whole population was evacuated forever to the British mainland. People had lived on these islands for over four thousand years, developing a thriving, tightly-knit society that knew nothing of crime or money, and took care of its weakest members without hesitation. At the mercy of the seasons and the elements, a unique lifestyle evolved, based around resilience, mutual trust and caring. What was it like to grow up in such harsh conditions? Why and how did this ancient way of life suddenly cease in 1930? Where did the islanders go, and what became of them? And what became of Norman John, child of St Kilda?

The Day of the Dead/ El Dia De Los Muertos book
#8
The Day of the Dead/ El Dia De Los Muertos
Written & illustrated by Bob Barner
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Now even the youngest children can enjoy the ghosts, skeletons and treats of this spirited holiday. With sugar skulls, sweet-smelling marigold petals, and joyful songs, a family welcomes back their beloved ancestors. This lively and colorful (and not too scary) tribute to a unique holiday is in English and Spanish.

Ashanti to Zulu book
#9
Ashanti to Zulu
Written by Margaret Musgrove & illustrated by Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Artists Leo and Diane Dillon won their second consecutive Caldecott Medal for this stunning ABC of African culture. “Another virtuoso performance. . . . Such an astute blend of aesthetics and information is admirable, the child’s eye will be rewarded many times over.”—Booklist. ALA Notable Book; Caldecott Medal.

Cozy Classics: Pride & Prejudice book
#10
Cozy Classics: Pride & Prejudice
Written by Jack Wang & illustrated by Holman Wang
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Cuddle up with a classic! In twelve needle-felted scenes and twelve child-friendly words, each book in this ingenious series captures the essence of a literary masterpiece. Simple words, sturdy pages, and a beloved story make these books the perfect vehicle for early learning with an erudite twist. Budding bookworms will delight in this clever retelling of the classics made just for them! In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, meet two devoted sisters, gossip about two rich and handsome friends, and ponder whether Elizabeth Bennet will say yes. It’s a first words primer for your literary little one! The Cozy Classics series is the brainchild of two brothers, both dads, who were thinking of ways to teach words to their very young children. They hit upon the classics as the basis for their infant primers, and the rest, as they say, is history. From Moby Dick to Pride and Prejudice, here are The Great Books of Western Literature for toddlers and their parents in board book form-mdash;a little bit serious, a little bit ironic, entirely funny and clever, and always a welcome gift.

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Social Life And Customs and...

Books About Social Life And Customs and Mexico

Dia de Los Muertos
Written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong & illustrated by Carles Ballesteros
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and children throughout the pueblo, or town, are getting ready to celebrate! They decorate with colored streamers, calaveras, or sugar skulls, and pan de muertos, or bread of the dead. There are altars draped in cloth and covered in marigolds and twinkling candles. Music fills the streets. Join the fun and festivities, learn about a different cultural tradition, and brush up on your Spanish vocabulary, as the town honors their dearly departed in a traditional, time-honored style. ¡Es el Día de los Muertos y todos los niños del pueblo y ciudad están listos para celebrar! Decoran con calaveras lo calavera de azucar, pan de muertos y banderas. Hay altares cubriertos de manta con muchas flores, y velas parpadiendo. Musica llena las calles. Hay que unirse con los festivales y abrender una diferente cultura y traduciones y repasar el vocabulario en español, mientras el pueblo honra sus queridos en una tradución con el transcurso y con el estilo del tiempo.

Día de los Muertos (Celebrate the World)
Written by Hannah Eliot & illustrated by Jorge Gutierrez
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Learn all about the traditions of Día de los Muertos with this second book in the brand-new board book series Celebrate the World, which highlights special occasions and holidays across the globe. At the end of October each year, it’s time to celebrate an ancient tradition: Día de los Muertos! With vibrant illustrations by Golden Globe–winning Mexican illustrator Jorge Gutierrez, this festive board book teaches that Día de los Muertos honors ancestors and loved ones who have passed. From sugar skulls to papel picado, this is a holiday that truly commemorates the cycle of life.

Día de los Muertos
Written by Hannah Eliot & illustrated by Jorge R. Gutierrez
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

At the end of October each year, it’s time to celebrate an ancient tradition: Dia de los Muertos! With vibrant illustrations by Golden Globe–winning Mexican illustrator Jorge Gutierrez, this festive board book teaches that Dia de los Muertos honors ancestors and loved ones who have passed. From sugar skulls to papel picado, this is a holiday that truly commemorates the cycle of life.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Day of the Dead/ El Dia De Los Muertos - Now even the youngest children can enjoy the ghosts, skeletons and treats of this spirited holiday. With sugar skulls, sweet-smelling marigold petals, and joyful songs, a family welcomes back their beloved ancestors. This lively and colorful (and not too scary) tribute to a unique holiday is in English and Spanish.

  2. Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book - Every year Don Pedro and his family make papier-mâché skeletons, or calaveras, for Mexico’s Day of the Dead fiesta. From the Angel and Doctor to the Mariachi and Unicornio, there’s a special calavera for each letter of the alphabet. Come dance with them! Includes a glossary of Spanish words and an author’s note.

  3. Pancakes to Parathas - 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.

  4. Festival of Bones / El Festival de las Calaveras: The Little-Bitty Book for the Day of the Dead (English and Spanish Edition) - Mexico’s Day of the Dead fascinates U.S readers, whether for its joyful celebration of an unusual tradition or because it simply feels like home. San Vicente lets children join the celebration as they watch the skeletons rock, rattle, and roll those long old bones as they get ready for the biggest event of their social calendar. A short and fun essay, directed toward young readers, will explain this important Mexican holiday.

Want to see books about Mexico?

Books About Social Life And Customs and 19th Century

Thank You, Sarah
Written by Laurie Halse Anderson & illustrated by Matt Faulkner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Relates how Sarah Hale, a magazine editor and author, persuaded President Lincoln to transform Thanksgiving Day into a national holiday.

Cozy Classics: Pride & Prejudice
Written by Jack Wang & illustrated by Holman Wang
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Cuddle up with a classic! In twelve needle-felted scenes and twelve child-friendly words, each book in this ingenious series captures the essence of a literary masterpiece. Simple words, sturdy pages, and a beloved story make these books the perfect vehicle for early learning with an erudite twist. Budding bookworms will delight in this clever retelling of the classics made just for them! In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, meet two devoted sisters, gossip about two rich and handsome friends, and ponder whether Elizabeth Bennet will say yes. It’s a first words primer for your literary little one! The Cozy Classics series is the brainchild of two brothers, both dads, who were thinking of ways to teach words to their very young children. They hit upon the classics as the basis for their infant primers, and the rest, as they say, is history. From Moby Dick to Pride and Prejudice, here are The Great Books of Western Literature for toddlers and their parents in board book form-mdash;a little bit serious, a little bit ironic, entirely funny and clever, and always a welcome gift.

Pride and Prejudice: A BabyLit Storybook
Written by Stephanie Clarkson & illustrated by Annabel Tempest
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

BabyLit Storybooks are a great way to introduce young readers to the classics, with easy to read storylines and bright illustrations. They are part of the bestselling BabyLit series, which provides a literary education for your brilliant children.

In Pride & Prejudice, children are invited into the Regency period to meet the Bennet sisters, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley, and other beloved characters from Jane Austen’s classic tale. Elegant balls, surprise proposals, and a visit to Pemberley are just a few events to look forward to in this story about appearances, misunderstandings, and love. Quotes from the original text are woven throughout this retelling, and the imaginative artwork will engage readers of all ages. This is a book to be treasured throughout childhood and beyond.

BabyLit® primers have become the chic, smart way to introduce babies to the most beloved and readable literature of our time. Now presenting a delightful collection of hardcover lap books for early readers and their parents. Each book in the BabyLit Storybook series retells a story from literary canon with easy-to-follow text and engaging artwork. These delightful, engaging books are ideal for ages 3 to 7, with their oversized trim and sturdy pages, but will be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Cozy Classics: Emma - Cuddle up with a classic! In twelve needle-felted scenes and twelve child-friendly words, each book in this ingenious series captures the essence of a literary masterpiece. Simple words, sturdy pages, and a beloved story make these books the perfect vehicle for early learning with an erudite twist. Budding bookworms will delight in this clever retelling of the classics made just for them! Jane Austen’s Emma tells of a well-to-do young lady who loves to play the matchmaker, and the many surprises she encounters as she attempts to secure a happy ending for her friends—and for herself. It’s a first words primer for your literary little one! The Cozy Classics series is the brainchild of two brothers, both dads, who were thinking of ways to teach words to their very young children. They hit upon the classics as the basis for their infant primers, and the rest, as they say, is history. From Moby Dick to Pride and Prejudice, here are The Great Books of Western Literature for toddlers and their parents in board book form—a little bit serious, a little bit ironic, entirely funny and clever, and always a welcome gift.

  2. Freedom in Congo Square - Chosen as a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2016, this poetic, nonfiction story about a little-known piece of African American history captures a human’s capacity to find hope and joy in difficult circumstances and demonstrates how New Orleans’ Congo Square was truly freedom’s heart. Mondays, there were hogs to slop, mules to train, and logs to chop. Slavery was no ways fair. Six more days to Congo Square. As slaves relentlessly toiled in an unjust system in 19th century Louisiana, they all counted down the days until Sunday, when at least for half a day they were briefly able to congregate in Congo Square in New Orleans. Here they were free to set up an open market, sing, dance, and play music. They were free to forget their cares, their struggles, and their oppression. This story chronicles slaves’ duties each day, from chopping logs on Mondays to baking bread on Wednesdays to plucking hens on Saturday, and builds to the freedom of Sundays and the special experience of an afternoon spent in Congo Square. This book will have a forward from Freddi Williams Evans (freddievans.com), a historian and Congo Square expert, as well as a glossary of terms with pronunciations and definitions.

  3. Lizzy Bennet's Diary - Jane Austen’s beloved heroine Lizzy Bennet tells the story of Pride and Prejudice in her own words in an illustrated diary created by Marcia Williams. When Lizzy Bennet’s father gives her a diary, she fancies she will use it to write a novel, as her real life is exceedingly dull. Then the handsome Mr. Bingley moves to nearby Netherfield Park, and suddenly life is every bit as thrilling as a novel would be. Who will he dance with at the Meryton ball? Who is his haughty friend? Will Lizzy ever receive a marriage proposal? Readers will have to read her diary to find out! Marcia Williams offers a lively introduction to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in a highly illustrated scrapbook-diary format, featuring such novelties as foldout notes from sisters and suitors, an elegant bill of fare, and an invitation to the ball.

  4. Jane Eyre - Jane Eyre Be the first to review this product With the perennial popularity of classic writers like Charlotte Brontë and Lewis Carroll, Baby Lit™ is a fashionable way to introduce your toddler to the world of classic literature. With clever, simple text by Jennifer Adams, paired with stylish design and illustrations by Sugar’s Alison Oliver, Little Miss Brontë is a must for every savvy parent’s nursery library.

Books About Social Life And Customs and History

Child of St Kilda
Written & illustrated by Beth Waters
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

Norman John Gillies was one of the last children ever born on St Kilda, five years before the whole population was evacuated forever to the British mainland. People had lived on these islands for over four thousand years, developing a thriving, tightly-knit society that knew nothing of crime or money, and took care of its weakest members without hesitation. At the mercy of the seasons and the elements, a unique lifestyle evolved, based around resilience, mutual trust and caring. What was it like to grow up in such harsh conditions? Why and how did this ancient way of life suddenly cease in 1930? Where did the islanders go, and what became of them? And what became of Norman John, child of St Kilda?

A Home
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-10

Sixteen of Larsson’s watercolors of his home and family are accompanied by text explaining the pictures and something of the life of this great Swedish artist.

Chinese New Year Colors
Written & illustrated by Richard Lo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

This bilingual color concept book celebrates a rainbow of traditional objects seen during the Chinese New Year. Hóng is the color of explosive firecrackers! Jīn is the hue of lucky coins. Zŏng is the shade of sweet peanut puffs. Welcome to the festivities of the Chinese New Year, where symbolic gifts, foods, and objects come together in a celebration of beautiful colors. This vibrant, simple, and highly graphic bilingual book is the perfect introduction to Chinese and English words for colors as it honors one of the biggest holidays around the world. Includes informative back matter.

Honorable Mentions
  1. War Boy: A Country Childhood - The author, an illustrator of children’s books, recounts his childhood experiences growing up on the east coast of England during World War II

  2. The Language of Angels - In 1885, few Jews in Israel used the holy language of their ancestors, and Hebrew was in danger of being lost—until Ben Zion and his father got involved. Through the help of his father and a community of children, Ben modernized the ancient language, creating a lexicon of new, modern words to bring Hebrew back into common usage. Historically influenced dialogue, engaging characters, and colorful art offer a linguistic journey about how language develops and how one person’s perseverance can make a real difference. Influenced by illuminated manuscripts, Karla Gudeon’s illustrations bring Ben Zion—and the rebirth of Hebrew—to life.

  3. The Children of Alcatraz - Offers a look at the life of the children who grew up on this infamous island with their families throughout its long and diverse history as a military prison, maximum security prison, and site of a Native American uprising, enhanced with period photos, interviews, and first-hand accounts.

Want to see books about history?

Books About Social Life And Customs and African Americans

Ashanti to Zulu
Written by Margaret Musgrove & illustrated by Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Artists Leo and Diane Dillon won their second consecutive Caldecott Medal for this stunning ABC of African culture. “Another virtuoso performance. . . . Such an astute blend of aesthetics and information is admirable, the child’s eye will be rewarded many times over.”—Booklist. ALA Notable Book; Caldecott Medal.

The 5 O'Clock Band
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this companion to the Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning Trombone Shorty, join a scrappy young musician named Shorty on a tour of his beloved New Orleans. After letting his band down by missing rehearsal, Shorty has some serious questions about what it means to be a leader. He hits the streets of New Orleans to find some answers and soak up inspiration. Along the way he’ll meet street musicians, a favorite restaurant owner, and the famous Mardi Gras Indians. Each has some NOLA-bred wisdom to share with Shorty about being an artist, a leader, and a friend. In The 5 O’Clock Band, Troy Andrews has crafted another unforgettable love letter to New Orleans illustrated by the incomparable Bryan Collier.

To Be a Kid
Written & illustrated by John D Ivanko and Maya Ajmera
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Text and photographs show children from various countries in their daily activities.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions - Artists Leo and Diane Dillon won their second consecutive Caldecott Medal for this stunning ABC of African culture. “Another virtuoso performance. . . . Such an astute blend of aesthetics and information is admirable, the child’s eye will be rewarded many times over.”—Booklist. ALA Notable Book; Caldecott Medal.

  2. My First Kwanzaa Book - Introduces Kwanzaa, the holiday in which Afro-Americans celebrate their cultural heritage.

Books About Social Life And Customs and Family

The Great Big Book of Families
Written by Mary Hoffman & illustrated by Ros Asquith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This fun and fascinating treasury features all kinds of families and their lives together. Each spread showcases one aspect of home life-from houses and holidays, to schools and pets, to feelings and family trees. Ros Asquith’s humorous illustrations perfectly complement a charming text from the acclaimed Mary Hoffman; kids will love poring over these pages again and again. A celebration of the diverse fabric of kith and kin the world over, The Great Big Book of Families is a great big treat for every family to share.

Popo's Lucky Chinese New Year
Written by Virginia Loh-Hagan & illustrated by Renne Benoit
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

When her Chinese grandmother comes to visit, a young Chinese-American girl learns of and participates in the customs and beliefs celebrating an authentic Chinese New Year.

Marshfield Memories: More Stories About Growing Up
Written & illustrated by Ralph Fletcher
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

As the oldest of ten kids, Ralph was often cast as another parent to his siblings rather than an older brother. Teetering between these two conflicting roles, Ralph longed to be home alone on a sick day, but hated the emptiness of feeling left behind. He loved to play marbles with the neighborhood boys but resented the skillful victories of his little brother Jimmy. Thrust into the expectations of impending adolescence, Ralph was curious about girls, but repelled by the improper kissing advances of his first cousin. This satisfying memoir offers a snapshot of the pivotal moments between boyhood and adolescence, all while further tracing the roots of Ralph Fletcher’s acclaimed storytelling.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Kevin's Kwanzaa - Kevin is excited for his turn to light the candles on the last night of Kwanzaa. As he narrates through the week of Kwanzaa, readers learn about the origins, purpose, and rituals of this holiday.

  2. Marshfield Dreams - The colorful boyhood of a popular author comes to life in this personal account Imagine learning from a nosy classmate that your mother is having yet another baby. To Ralph’s classmates, news of one more Fletcher baby is just “scuttlebutt.” But for Ralph, the oldest of nine, being part of a large family means more kids to join in the fun—from making tripods in the woods and “snicking” up the rug to raising chicks and even discovering a meteor (well, maybe). It doesn’t feel like there’s life beyond Marshfield, Massachusetts. Then one day Dad’s new job moves the family to Chicago, and there’s so much Ralph has to leave behind. In this humorous and captivating memoir, Ralph Fletcher traces the roots of his storytelling.

  3. A is for Abraham - From Abraham to Zayde, and from ancient times to modern day, A is for Abraham: A Jewish Family Alphabetencompasses the history of Jewish traditions and customs and how they are still popularly practiced today. Following the alphabet, a poem identifies the letter topic while sidebar text provides background information. C could be the challah that my bubbe used to braid, or C could be the chicken soup, when I was sick she made, or chocolate coins on Chanukah we added to our coffers. But I say C should be for chai, to “life” and all it offers. This joyful celebration of family and heritage includes the meaning behind celebrations such as the Festival of Lights, Passover, and Sukkot; important names and stories from the Old Testament; and how modern-day families continue to celebrate their heritage.

  4. My Grandma and Me - In a true tale of a young girl in Iran and her grandmother, this beautiful ode to family celebrates small moments of love that become lifelong memories. In this big universe full of many moons, I have traveled and seen many wonders, but I have never loved anything or anyone the way I love my grandma. While Mina is growing up in Iran, the center of her world is her grandmother. Whether visiting friends next door, going to the mosque for midnight prayers during Ramadan, or taking an imaginary trip around the planets, Mina and her grandma are never far apart. At once deeply personal and utterly universal, Mina Javaherbin’s words make up a love letter of the rarest sort: the kind that shares a bit of its warmth with every reader. Soft, colorful, and full of intricate patterns, Lindsey Yankey’s illustrations feel like a personal invitation into the coziest home, and the adoration between Mina and her grandma is evident on every page.

Want to see books about family?

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