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We live in a beautiful, multi-cultural world filled with a variety of customs, traditions, and holidays.
Of course, it’s wonderful for parents to teach their children about their own customs and holidays. And it’s also beautiful for children to learn about holidays celebrated by other people around the world.
Below I’ve compiled a list of books that will teach children ages 3 to 12 about holiday celebrations from all over the world, including Ramadan, Hanukkah, Día de los Muertos, the Lunar New Year, Holi, and more!
My First Ramadan by Karen Katz
Ramadan is beginning, and this little boy can’t wait! This year, he wants to fast just like the adults. Simple text introduces the youngest readers to this holiday celebrated by 1.8 million people annually. Ages 3-5.
Dia de los Muertos by Hannah Eliot
This special day commemorating ancestors that have passed is celebrated by thousands in Mexico each year. In this book, it is introduced in a simple and accessible manner perfect for the youngest readers. Ages 3-5.
King for a Day by Rukhsana Khan
Basant, the holiday that marks the beginning of spring, has finally arrived! Malik has constructed the perfect kite, which he calls the Falcon, for an afternoon of kite-fighting in the sky. He feels on top of the world when the Falcon takes down the kite of the bully next door. All day long he flies the Falcon expertly until he has taken down every kite in the sky! But when the bully appears again, this time targeting a young girl, Malik knows he needs to put down his kite and step in to defend her. Ages 3-6.
Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy! By Don Freeman
Corduroy is enjoying Hanukkah with a few friends. After lighting the menorah and snacking on some hot latkes, the friends enjoy a few dreidel games. This book provides a wonderful way to introduce children to the beautiful traditions of Hanukkah. Ages 3-6.
Meet the Latkes by Alan Silberberg
Lucy Latke and her family are a rambunctious bunch of potato pancakes. This Hanukkah, Grandpa Latke has a humorous retelling of the Hanukkah story in store for all who will listen! Ages 3-6.
It’s Ramadan, Curious George by H.A. Rey
The curious monkey is back – and this time he’s celebrating Ramadan with his friend Kareem. Together, the friends fast and wait for sundown when Kareem and his family have a delicious feast! Ages 3-6.
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim
Lunar New Year has arrived, and Goldy has been entrusted with the task of bringing her neighbors a plate of turnip cakes. When she arrives, the Pandas aren’t home, but that doesn’t stop Goldy from going inside and sampling their Lunar New Year treats! Ages 4-8.
Under the Bodhi Tree by Deborah Hopkinson
A long time ago in India, a boy named Siddhartha was born. This boy had a compassionate and sensitive spirit and longed to see peace come to a troubled world. This is the story of the Buddha and how Bodhi Day came to be celebrated. Ages 4-8.
Alex’s Good Fortune by Benson Shum
This early-reader introduction to Lunar New Year celebrations is delightful! Alex is excited to share her family’s Lunar New Year traditions with her friend Ethan. Red envelopes, special foods, and a dragon parade make the day one Ethan won’t soon forget! Ages 4-8.
Seven Days of Kwanzaa by Melrose Cooper
Written in the rhythmic pattern of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” this book introduces children to the deep tradition and unity that is expressed in celebrations of Kwanzaa each year. Ages 4-8.
Festival of Colors by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal
It’s springtime, and siblings Mintoo and Chintoo are gearing up for a Holi celebration! Together, they work to gather up flowers that they will dry and crush to make colorful powders. When the big day comes, they celebrate new beginnings with their family and friends. Ages 5-8.
Suki’s Kimono by Chieri Uegaki
Suki proudly wears the kimono gifted to her by her grandmother for an O-bon celebration in the streets of her hometown. Later, she desperately wants to share her story of the O-bon dances and her kimono with her classmates at school, but worries about their response. Ages 5-8.
Amma, Tell Me About Holi by Bhakti Mathur
Learn about the mythology and traditions behind Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, in this sweet story about an Amma imparting the joy and celebration of the holiday to her son! Ages 5-8.
Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Faruqi
Lailah is excited for Ramadan to begin. This will be her first year observing the fast alongside her relatives. She is a bit worried, however, as to how her classmates will react. With the help of some compassionate adults at her school, Lailah learns to embrace her faith and its traditions proudly and finds some friends who respect her beliefs along the way. Ages 6-11.
Yitzi and the Giant Menorah by Richard Unger
The people living in the town of Chelm are gifted with a giant menorah for their town square. Each night, everyone gathers around for the lighting of the next candle. A young boy named Yitzi comes up with the perfect way to say thank you for the gift. Ages 6-11.
Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Kwanzaa by Carolyn Otto
This National Geographic book introduces kids to the African American holiday of Kwanzaa. Colorful photographs detail the origin of this beautiful holiday that celebrates the past, makes a case for unity, and hopes for the future. Ages 6-12.
The Best Eid Ever by Asma Mobin-Uddin
Aneesha is staying with her grandparents while her mom and dad travel to Saudi Arabia for their Hajj pilgrimage. To keep her from missing her parents too much, grandma makes Aneesha’s favorite curry dish to eat and dresses her up in the latest Pakistani fashion. When Aneesha meets two girls who are separated from their homeland and their family, she decides that she will make it the best Eid ever for her two new friends. Ages 8-12.
Prince of Fire: The Story of Diwali by Jatinder Verma
A beautiful retelling of the Hindu story that’s behind the holiday of Diwali. A brave prince, separated from the love of his life by an evil prince called Ravana, gets miraculous help from the Monkey Army of Hanuman. Ages 8-12.
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