Understanding the world around them is difficult for children who are accustomed to their own holidays and traditions. Bring home some multicultural books for your child that can help him expand his knowledge of global cultures.
Holiday Multicultural Picture Books
Pictures can help illustrate the different traditions and cultures to young children. Holiday books for toddlers and beginning readers with rich pictures will make it easier for kids to remember what was just read to them. Just a few books to read include:
Holiday Books for Toddlers
Even the youngest kids can enjoy these holiday picture books.
- Baby's First Diwali by DK is a picture book featuring images of the festival of lights designed for toddlers up to 2 years.
- Diwali (Celebrate the World) by Hannah Eliot and illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan is a colorful book showcasing the Hindu festival of lights. It's for ages 2 through 4.
- The Festival of Lights - A Diwali Book for Toddlers by Aneeka Patel is available in ebook only. It's designed to teach toddlers about the festival of Diwali. Buy it for ages 1 to 2.
- Elmo's Little Dreidel by Naomi Kleinberg and illustrated by Christopher Moroney features the popular Sesame Street character as he learns about Hanukkah from his Jewish friends. It's great for ages 2 to 3.
- Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy by Don Freeman and illustrated by Lisa McCue is the story of Corduroy the bear's Hanukkah party. Read it to children 2 and up.
- My First Kwanzaa by Karen Katz teaches children about the traditions of the seven days of Kwanzaa. Select it for children ages 2 to 5.
- It's Ramadan, Curious George by H.A. Rey and illustrated by Hena Khan is an exploration of Ramadan by the classic children's character joined by his new friend Kareem. Pick it up for toddlers through age 3.
Holiday Books for Preschool and Lower Elementary
As kids move from toddlerhood to preschool, they may want something that answers a few more questions.
- Let's Celebrate Diwali by Anjali Joshe and illustrated by Tim Palin. This picture book features Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist children with their own traditions celebrating Diwali. It's aimed at preschool through 1st grade.
- Disney's It's a Small World: Christmas Around the World by Calliope Glass features a group of multicultural children who journey around the world to learn about Christmas holiday traditions. You'll find it appropriate for preschool children.
- Latke, the Lucky Dog by Ellen Fischer and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke, tells the adorable story of a newly adopted dog who learns about the traditions of Hanukkah through his new human family. Read it to kids in preschool through 2nd grade.
- N is for Navidad by Susan Middleton Elya, Merry Banks and illustrated by Joe Cepeda. This book gives a Latino twist on the celebration of Christmas. Kids in preschool through 4th grade will enjoy it.
- I Got the Christmas Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison and illustrated by Frank Morrison features an African-American girl's joyful Christmas experience. Get it for preschool through 3rd grade students.
- Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins: 25th Anniversary Edition by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman is a classic story of a Jewish folk hero dealing with saving Hanukkah from a group of Goblins. Find it for preschool through grade 3.
- Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington and illustrated by Shane W. Evans is the tale of a young rabbit who helps his beloved grandmother celebrate Kwanzaa. It's good for preschool to grade 3.
- Light The Lights! A Story About Celebrating Hanukkah And Christmas by Margaret Moorman combines the holiday traditions in young Emma's home where she enjoys both Hanukkah and Christmas traditions. It's good for preschool through grade 3.
Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn, Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu follows the story of a Chinese American boy who is celebrating the New Year with money in his pocket that he is going to spend. You'll like it for kids in preschool through grade 3.
- Tell Me More About Ramadan by Bachar Karroum and illustrated by Tanja Varcelija is the story of a young girl learning more about the Islamic holiday. Kids in preschool to grade 3 will enjoy this book.
Holiday Books for Elementary School Children
Pick up one of these books for students in elementary grades.
- Kevin's Kwanzaa by Lisa Bullard and illustrated by Constanza Basaluzzo is the tale of young Kevin learning about the holiday traditions through his grandparents for kindergarten through 2nd grade.
- A World of Cookies for Santa: Follow Santa's Tasty Trip Around the World by M.E. Furman and illustrated by Susan Gal. This recipe book takes children around the world to learn about the holiday treats from different cultures for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
- The Diwali Gift by Shweta Chopra and Shuchi Mehta is an award-winning picture book featuring Indian culture and the traditions around the Diwali holiday for Hindus for grades 1 to 2.
- Uncle Monarch And the Day of the Dead by Judy Goldman and Rene King Moreno is the story of a young Mexican girl's understanding of the meaning behind the Day of the Dead. Grades 1 to 4 can learn from this book.
- Fasting and Dates: A Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr Story by Johnny Zucker and Jan Barger Cohen follows a family as they celebrate Ramadan, a holiday in the Islamic calendar, and Eid-ul-Fitr on the day after Ramadan. Grades 1 and 2 students can check this book out.
- Celebrations of Light by Nancy Luenn and Mark Bender is a short book chapter book that covers different festivals around the world in the month they are celebrated. Though it is divided into chapters, the short book is just 32 pages, perfect for intermediate readers who are not quite advanced enough for full chapter books. It's a good choice for kids in grades 4 through 6.
- Japanese Traditions: Rice Cakes, Cherry Blossoms and Matsuri: A Year of Seasonal Japanese Festivities by Setsu Broderick and Willamarie Moore goes through the different celebrations throughout the calendar year in Japan. At the end of the book is a short list of questions to help kids "look more closely" at the illustrations throughout the book. Preschoolers through grade 6 students will enjoy it.
Multicultural Holiday Chapter Books
Older children will find chapter books more engaging and challenging to read. They can read them in their free time and even use nonfiction books for school projects on various cultures. Both nonfiction texts and fictionalized storybooks are good to give children for a well-rounded understanding of holidays across different cultures.
Holiday Chapter Books for Elementary School Children
This variety of multicultural holiday books is suitable for children in the grade range of 1st through 6th grade.
- Festivals Together by Sue Fitzjohn, Minda Weston and Judy Large is a 220 page book that covers a variety of holidays in different cultures, from China to the Philippines. Craft projects are also included for the various holidays in this book. It's good for children in grades 2 and up.
- Children Just Like Me: Celebrations! by Anabel Kindersley and Barnabas Kindersley is a chapter book that covers different holidays throughout the world by season, from Purim in England in the spring to Diwali in India in the winter. Select it for students in grades 2 to 5.
- Kids Around the World Celebrate!: The Best Feasts and Festivals from Many Lands by Lynda Jones not only covers a number of different holidays, including Carnaval in Brazil, but also includes crafts, activities and recipes for children to make on their own. Pick it up for kids in grades 3 to 6.
- The Children's Book of Kwanzaa: A Guide to Celebrating the Holiday by Dolores Johnson is a book designed to be a comprehensive guide for children and families looking for information on how to celebrate Kwanzaa. Upper elementary students in grades 4 through 6 will get the most out of this book.
Holiday Chapter Books for Middle School Children
Children in middle school will enjoy these holiday chapter books, some of which are suitable for older children in elementary school as well.
- My True Love Came to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins, Holly Black, Ally Carter et al. This book features 12 short stories about the holidays including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice. The book is designed for young adults 12 and up.
- Zoe's Extraordinary Holiday Adventures by Cristina Minaki is a fictional story of a young girl in a wheelchair who learns about various cultural traditions as she yearns for adventure. It's good for grades 4 to 7.
- The Ancient Celtic Festivals: and How We Celebrate Them Today by Clare Walker Leslie and Frank E. Gerace is a chapter book that covers not only holidays, but how their Celtic origins, too. Select it for kids in grades 4 to 7.
Happy Holiday Books
Having a good collection of holiday books will help children understand differences between themselves and their friends. Celebrate diversity and promote unity by sharing cultural traditions around the world with your children.