The world is getting bigger everyday through the use of technology. We have the ability to contact, work with, and become friends with people around the world, but language and culture can still be a barrier to doing so effectively. It is essential that we begin to understand and relate to new cultures, and it is even more important for our children to do so.
Children not only soak up language faster and better than adults, but they are also forming their perceptions of the world, and it is vital that we expand their perspectives so that they may relate to people around the globe.
It can be difficult to teach our children about cultures that we know nothing about, but that could greatly enhance their lives and their ability to function in this new world. One of the easiest things we can do to make sure they are prepared is to hand them great books that can teach them lessons on different cultures. This list is a great place to start.
1. Everybody Bonjours by Leslie Kimmelman
This book is a fun way for kids to learn French phrases and landmarks. Children will take a journey with Monsieur LeMousie and get introduced to the rich and rewarding French culture.
2. Little Kunoichi, The Ninja Girl by Senae Ishida
Still a mystery to most English-speaking adults, Little Kunoichi will teach your children more than moral lessons, will give them access to a breadth of Japanese phrases, and introduce them to the beautiful culture.
3. Nabeel’s New Pants by Fawzia Gilani-Williams and Proiti Roy
A book that teaches children how to put on pants as well as Arabic words and Muslim culture is a fun read for kids, exposing them to the humanity of a people who are too often feared.
4. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
Based on a true story, Park tells the tale of two eleven year old children in the Sudan. Nya travels two hours to fetch water twice a day. Salva becomes part of a group of refugees who travels the Sudan, looking for their families. A moving story that will touch the heart of any child.
5. People by Peter Spier
This collection of facts and statistics exposes children to the diversity of the world, offering a great jumping off point for discussion and understanding our culture’s place in the world.
6. Peace by Wendy Anderson Halperin
This artfully crafted picture book contemplates how peace can be brought to the world. It examines ideas and life from around the globe while getting children to think about how they can bring peace into their own lives and those around them.
7. Bee-bim Bop by Linda Sue Park and Ho Baek Lee
Children from around the world can relate to helping their parents cook in the kitchen, even if they haven’t eaten Korean mixed rice. The themes in this book connect children to a different culture and introduce them to a few Korean food words. It may just get them to try something new to eat!
With just a small taste from a book, children can learn to relate to people from all around the world as well as appreciate different kinds of cultures. Their lives can be enriched in unfathomable ways by exposing them to the rest of the world. By starting them on this path at a young age, we can teach children to not fear and recoil at new cultures, though embrace them with genuine interest and excitement.
YouTube Channel: Monik Setyawan
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