Exploring the world with my family is a way for us to celebrate diversity. We are a Canadian, Chinese, West Indian family with unique traditions and celebrations. Travel is one way our kids learn about the differences and similarities between cultures and people.
When we meet other families during our trips, we ask them about their favourite dishes, what they enjoy doing outside of work/school, how they celebrate certain holidays and how to say common phrases in their native language.
Traveling with young children isn’t always feasible with our busy schedules but we’re thankful that this celebration of different cultures continues in our community and at our kids’ school. Reading and books play a huge role in teaching them about diversity and it often continues the conversation of what we’ve learned during our travels.
If you’re looking to add some new books to your collection, here are 11 books that teach kids about different cultures and diversity.
1. All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel
All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel shares a family’s immigration story in terms that young children can understand.
This colorful book is an easy way to explain to my kids how and why their grandparents left their birth countries to start a new life in Canada. All the Way to America by Dan Yaccarino is a wonderful book for children in kindergarten and beyond.
2. Disney It’s A Small World Hello, World!
Disney It’s A Small World Hello, World! is a colorful and gorgeously illustrated board book captures the look and feel of the famous Disney Parks ride.
The pictures are bright and captures little reader’s attention while they learn how to say “Hello” in 10 different languages. Disney It’s A Small World Hello, World! by Disney Book Group is a terrific book for ages 2 and up.
3. How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World is a fun book that takes readers around the world to gather ingredients for an apple pie. Go to Italy for some wheat, then to England for some milk, Sri Lanka for some cinnamon, water and sugar in Jamaica and Vermont for some apples.
This entertaining story uses food and travel to teach kids about geography and diversity. How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman is perfect for little ones ages 4 and up.
4. M Is for Maple
M Is For Maple: A Canadian Alphabet (Discover the World) is an alphabet book is geared towards Canadian readers and provides kids with an understanding Canadian culture through the use of symbols, historical figures, and fun facts about the provinces that make up Canada.
Each letter of the alphabet is introduced through a rhyme and the illustrations are so vibrant that even the youngest of readers will love looking at them. M Is For Maple: A Canadian Alphabet (Discover the World) by Michael Ulmer is great for school-age kids.
5. My Granny Went to Market
My Granny Went to Market takes readers on a shopping trip around the world in this fun counting book. This book introduces kids to different cultures and items indigenous to the countries Granny visits.
My Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone is wonderful book for readers ages 4 and up.
People uses detailed pictures to teach readers about the differences and similarities between people around the world.
It introduces kids to different cultures, religions and lifestyle in different parts of the world. People by Peter Spier is suitable for children ages 5 and up.
7. Same, Same But Different
Same, Same But Different shares the story of two best friends who live in different parts of the world – one in America, the other in India. Young readers learn how people who people are similar even though their worlds may seem completely different.
Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw is suitable for children ages 4 and up.
8. The Sneetches and Other Stories
The Sneetches and Other Stories is a children’s collection of short stories by Dr. Seuss. It is a lighthearted and easy way to teach young children about diversity and friendship. The silly characters and fun language make it entertaining for young readers.
The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss is ideal for children ages 3 and up.
9. Ten Tiny Babies
Ten Tiny Babies is not only a counting board book written in rhyme for the youngest of readers but this Karen Katz classic introduces littles ones to cultural and racial diversity. We’ve had this book in our home since the kids were babies and they still love it.
Ten Tiny Babies by Karen Katz is a terrific book for kids 6 months and up.
10. We’re Different, We’re the Same
In We’re Different, We’re the Same, Sesame Street characters teach young readers about how similar people are despite physical differences. Both my kids love this book and the pictures keep them engaged.
They love guessing which feature belongs to which Sesame Street character. We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Kates is the perfect book for preschoolers and up.
11. Whoever You Are
Whoever You Are is a beautifully illustrated book celebrating diversity by embracing differences between cultures as well as similarites. Kids learn that regardless of skin colour, lanuguage spoken, and lifestyle, all children love, smile, and cry the same.
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox is ideal for children ages 4 and up.
What are some of your family’s favorite books for teaching kids about diversity and different cultures?