Best Kids Books About Traditional culture

20 Kids Books About Traditional culture

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Popo's Lucky Chinese New Year book
#1
Popo's Lucky Chinese New Year
Written by Virginia Loh-Hagan and 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.

Together for Kwanzaa book
#2
Together for Kwanzaa
Written by Juwanda G. Ford and illustrated by Shelly Hehenberger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Kwanzaa is Kayla’s favorite time of year. But this year, it looks as if a heavy snowstorm will keep her big brother, Khari, from getting home in time for the festivities! Will Khari miss the celebration completely? Or will Kayla and her brother somehow find a way to be together for Kwanzaa? A perfect introduction to Kwanzaa, this book will teach children all about the traditions and practices that make it a special winter holiday.

Sweetest Kulu book
#3
Sweetest Kulu
Written by Celina Kalluk and illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

"This beautiful bedtime poem, written by acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts given to a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic. Lyrically and tenderly told by a mother speaking to her own little "Kulu," an Inuktitut term of endearment often bestowed upon babies and young children, this visually stunning book is infused with the traditional Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants."--

The Show-Off Monkey and Other Taoist Tales book
#4
The Show-Off Monkey and Other Taoist Tales
Written and illustrated by Mark W. McGinnis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

A picture book of Taoist wisdom tales inspired by the ancient philosopher Chang Tzu, for children ages 5-10, beautifully illustrated with original artwork. “If we are true to who we are, we will naturally find what is right.” “Beauty is in the eyes and mind of the beholder.” “What is good in life is not always obvious.” These morals are inspired by the teachings Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu (fourth century b.c.e.), who through charming and sometimes cryptic fables explained to his students the qualities of humility, modesty, simplicity, acceptance, and contentment. In “The Sea Turtle and the Frog,” two creatures share their unique perspective on the world. “The Happy Fish” offers a reflection on what makes for a good leader. And “The White Peacock” demonstrates the virtues of a simple life rather than one adorned with material riches. Beautifully illustrated in the traditional Asian style by artist Mark McGinnis, this book collects thirty-three of these traditional Taoist wisdom tales that will teach readers young and old about the Taoist view of living in harmony with the natural world.

Monkey's Clever Tale book
#5
Monkey's Clever Tale
Written by Andrew Fusek Peters and illustrated by Amanda Montgomery-Higham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

The mischievous Ameerah Monkey promises Crocodile her tail and those of her parents, brothers, and sisters in exchange for a ride across the river in this version of a Jataka tale from India.

Everyday House book
#6
Everyday House
Written and illustrated by Cynthia Rylant
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

By award-winning author-illustrator Cynthia Rylant, Everyday House is a charming story about all of the things that make a house and fill up a home. The Everyday House has a blue front door and a porch with a wide white swing. It has red and pink flowers and a small birdhouse and a bell with a ding-dong ring. From award-winning author-illustrator Cynthia Rylant comes a charming story about all the special touches that make this Everyday House a home.

I'm an Immigrant Too! book
#7
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.

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.

Shanté Keys and the New Year's Peas book
#9
Shanté Keys and the New Year's Peas
Written by Gail Piernas-Davenport and illustrated by Marion Eldridge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Shante´ is sent to find black-eyed peas for her family's New Year's celebration, she learns about each of her neighbor's New Year's traditions in their home countries.

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns book
#10
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns
Written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Magnificently capturing the colorful world of Islam for the youngest readers, this breathtaking and informative picture book celebrates Islam s beauty and traditions. From a red prayer rug to a blue hijab, everyday colors are given special meaning as young readers learn about clothing, food, and other important elements of Islamic culture, with a young Muslim girl as a guide. Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns is equally at home in a classroom reading circle as it is being read to a child on a parent s lap.

A Different Pond book
#11
A Different Pond
Written by Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Bui
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A 2018 Caldecott Honor Book that Kirkus Reviews calls "a must-read for our times," A Different Pond is an unforgettable story about a simple event - a long-ago fishing trip. Graphic novelist Thi Bui and acclaimed poet Bao Phi deliver a powerful, honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son - and between cultures, old and new. As a young boy, Bao and his father awoke early, hours before his father's long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao's father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. Thi Bui's striking, evocative art paired with Phi's expertly crafted prose has earned this powerful picture books six starred reviews and numerous awards.

Love You More Than Anything book
#12
Love You More Than Anything
Written and illustrated by Doretta Groenendyk
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Colorful picture book about the many kinds of love between people. This book crosses cultures and generations, social change and tradition. It exudes warmth and playfulness, sharing whimsical images and sweet memories. Each colorful page depicts a different couple enjoying their time together: two grandparents, two teenagers, a girl and her granny, a boy and a girl, two men, young girlfriends, a child and parent. Love can happen between anyone of any race, religion or size, anywhere. Love You More Than Anything is a simple, beautiful celebration of love in all its forms.

One Last Wish book
#13
One Last Wish
Written by Suzanne I. Barchers and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A princess marries a man she loves in spite of his impending death. Due to her devotion and persistence, she is granted a wish, which she uses wisely. Themes: love, devotion, bravery.

Gandhi book
#14
Gandhi
Written by Alice B. McGinty and illustrated by Thomas Gonzales
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Mohandas Gandhi’s 24-day March to the Sea, from March 12 to April 5, 1930, was a pivotal moment in India’s quest to become an independent country no longer ruled by Great Britain. With over 70 marchers, Gandhi walked from his hometown near Ahmedabab to the sea coast by the village of Dandi. The march was a non-violent means to protest the taxes that Great Britain had imposed on salt -- not the salt that the Indians could get from the sea, but the salt that Great Britain forced them to buy. Gandhi believed that peaceful protests were an effective way to challenge British law, and his peaceful but ultimately successful movement became known as Satyagraha.

The Thundermaker book
#15
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.

What Do You Celebrate? book
#16
What Do You Celebrate?
Written by Whitney Stewart and illustrated by Christiane Engel
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Discover a world of celebrations! This entertaining book introduces kids to 14 holidays, from Brazilian carnival, Chinese New Year, Bastille Day, and the Cherry Blossom Festival to Purim, Holi, Eid al-Fitr, Day of the Dead, and Halloween. As in the popular What's On Your Plate?, each spread showcases a different holiday, offering background, cultural context, vocabulary words, photographs, and instructions for festive projects.

The Gathering book
#17
The Gathering
Written by Theresa Meuse and illustrated by Art Stevens
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Alex is attending her first Mi’kmaw spiritual gathering, or mawiomi. Though she is timid at first, older cousin Matthew takes her under his wing. Meeting Elders along the way, they learn many things about traditional Mi’kmaw culture: the sacred fire, drumming, tanning and moccasin decorating, and basket and canoe making. Most important, Alex finds her voice in the talking circle. With contemporary illustrations by bestselling illustrator Arthur Stevens, The Gathering is an inclusive story that will educate and entertain Indigenous and non-Indigenous readers alike.

The Gift of Ramadan book
#18
The Gift of Ramadan
Written by Rabiah York Lumbard and illustrated by Laura K. Horton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Sophia wants to fast for Ramadan this year. She tries to keep busy throughout the day so she won't think about food. But when the smell of cookies is too much, she breaks her fast early. How can she be part of the festivities now?

Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets book
#19
Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets
Written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

From a crescent moon to a square garden to an octagonal fountain, this breathtaking picture book celebrates the shapes—and traditions—of the Muslim world. Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets is equally at home in a classroom reading circle and on a parent's lap being read to a child.

Painted Skies book
#20
Painted Skies
Written by Carolyn Mallory and illustrated by Amei Zhao
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Leslie is new to the Arctic, and no one told her there would be so much snow, and so many interesting animals to see. Along with her new friend, Oolipika, Leslie soon discovers one the Arctic's most unique and breathtaking natural wonders, the northern lights. Having never seen such lights before, Leslie is understandably shocked by them. Oolipika, on the other hand, knows that the ancient lights are more than just colours, and that the mischievous, playful spirits that the northern lights hold can be dangerous. This contemporary narrative introduces young readers to an Inuit legend about the northern lights, followed by an epilogue that explains the science behind this amazing natural phenomenon.

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