10 best books for your little ones to learn about different cultures

10 best books for your little ones to learn about different cultures

Reading books with your little one not only helps them to be better prepared for when school years come around but can open their eyes to the wide world outside.

In an ideal world, we would just pack a suitcase and take our little ones travelling across the globe so that they can experience how people around the world live, different cultures and their traditions. However, it is still possible to explore all types of cultures and religions without having to leave your front door.

At Little Cubs Academy we believe that incorporating diversity into your child’s reading time is a fun and educational way to teach little ones about places they’ve never been to and inspire them to want to learn more about the vibrant and diverse world we live in.


Both our Greenwich nursery and Honor Oak nursery believe in complete diversity and ensure that cultures are taught in a range of ways from the food prepared by in our in-house chefs as well as our language lessons and everyday play.

Here are our top ten books that you can read with your children at home to teach them about different cultures!


Handas Surprise:

‘Handa’s Suprise’ is a vibrantly illustrated child’s picture book that has been dubbed one of the best culturally diverse picture books in the UK. It tells a short tale of a girl called Handa that is a part of the Luo tribe in the heart of Kenya. She travels with a basket of 7 pieces of fruit on her head to take to her hungry friend, Akeyo, as a surprise. But thanks to some hungry animals she meets along the way, Handa is in for a surprise herself! This is a beautiful story from start to finish, and really goes into great detail the cultural differences that are experienced within Kenyan tribes. With its engaging story line and colourful illustrations, this book is great for kids of any age and is a go to by many parents across the globe.


Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth:

The bold, bright colours of India leap off the page in this fresh and funny picture book! Ganesha’s sweet tooth is a wonderful childrens book retelling the zingy and delightful interpretation of a classic tale from Hindu mythology. It tells the story of Ganesha – a young elephant that loves sweets! But when Ganesha bites into a super jumbo jawbreaker, his tusks break off! With the help of a wise poet, and his friend, Ganesha learns that what seems broken can be quite useful after all.


Drawn Together:

This story is about a young boy who goes to see his grandfather, but they don’t speak the same language, resulting in confusion and silence. However, something magical happens when they settle down to draw together! The two develop an unbreakable bond thanks to their mutual love of art and storytelling. This heart-warming picture book features beautiful comic-style illustrations and an intriguing tale about the convergence of two languages, cultures, and histories.


The Colours of Us:

Through the eyes of a little girl who begins to see her familiar world in a new way, this book celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people. The Colours of Us tells the story of Lena, a young girl who wants to paint a self-portrait with brown paint for her skin. When Lena and her mother go for a walk in their neighbourhood, she discovers how many different shades of brown skin there are, and she starts to see her familiar world in a new light. This is such a beautiful story to introduce a subtle way to discuss differences in skin tone and to encourage children to think about the differences in shades of skin colours.


Baby Goes to Market:

This story is about Mama, who embarks on an eventful journey to a busy West African market with a basket balanced on her head and her Baby strapped to her back. Unknown to Mama, baby charms those who own a stall with his excitement and laughter, and is gifted all kinds of goodies. Full of colourful images depicting the life of a typical African market, this lovely little story is great for teaching little ones about the rich West African culture, and good for counting too! A highly recommended book for bringing inclusivity and understanding of other cultures into a child’s life.



Little Yoko brings her favourite lunch to school – sushi! But when the other children think her lunch looks gross, their teacher finds a fun way of celebrating other cultures food! This inviting story line explains to children the different cuisines other cultures enjoy to eat, and how it’s not weird to like something different! It’s a great way of teaching kids the importance of not judging others for what they like to enjoy when eating, and how many dishes are traditional within different cultures.


Hush! A Thai Lullaby:

Not only is this a great bedtime story, this book highlights the different animal sounds you hear in Thailand! This story tells of a mother that hushes the animals of their jungle home, from a lizard to a water buffalo to an elephant, trying to quiet noises that might wake her child. The animal sounds, gentle rhyming and soft – coloured illustrations are a beautiful feature of this book – its storyline is a great way of opening up your child’s eyes to the different kind of animals you can see in different parts of the world.



Everywhere Babies:

This novel, full of magnificent and emotional illustrations, honours all babies around the world. Every day, new babies are born, and they are not only cute but also incredibly diverse. This book perfectly portrays a message of equality, it shows how people can come in all shapes, sizes and colours! This book tugs at your heartstrings and seems to be ideal for read along with its simple melodic rhyme.


Hats of Faith:

‘Hats of faith’ children’s book helps to tell the story of different religions. With its bold and striking illustrations, this book show different individuals of different skin colours wearing headwear pertaining to their own faiths. This is particularly helpful in teach children all types of faith and is a good place for them to learn a mutual understanding of what each religion stands for.


Round is a Tortilla – a book for shapes:

In this lively picture book, two Mexican – American children go outside and begin to discover all the wonderful shapes around them! An engaging story that helps expose children to all types of shapes, while explaining elements within the Latino culture. This story includes some great Spanish vocabulary as well as a hint of mathematics. Overall, an all-round educational book that delves into culture, language and maths!


If you are currently looking for nurseries within Greenwich or Honor Oak, get in touch with our Head Teachers to find out how your little on can fit right in!

We love to support local! If you would like to read any of these books, please head to our local book shops to see what they have in store. Alternatively, West Greenwich Library and Crofton Park Community Library, Brockley Road have a fantastic selection.

Greenwich Book Shops:

Maritime Books

Greenwich Book Time

Blackheath Book Shops:

The Book Shop on the Heath

Waterstones Blackheath

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