Stories are what bonds families together. On those late nights when you are tucking your children into bed, you may tell or read them a story to soothe them to sleep. However, their little imaginations get a hold of these stories and help them create their own. Your children may retell these stories to their friends, or when they grow up, they will tell their children a version of your story. The stories may alter, may change with time, but any good story that has a message, transcends the little changes here and there. The story becomes a part of a family, a culture and eventually a history.
Around the world, stories are passed on from generation to generation. We know the stories that are from our country and that are from our family history. They pass on a piece of our history, the lessons that we have learned, the trials and tribulations that we have to overcome, but ultimately, they bring home the message of survival during tough times, the people who help us through the tricky times and to always cherish those precious moments.
These values transcend from culture to culture, country to country. The values that you hold in your country will be similar to those held by another family across the world. But how do you know for sure?
Books are written every year telling the stories of our culture and our history and those books, these important stories, get into the hands of our children. Similarly, across the world, the similar stories with similar values are put into important books and passed down to children to read. Yet, it is hard to get our hands on some of the stories from other countries. It would be interesting to learn the traditions of other cultures and find the similar values, morals and meanings from each story. It would be nice to have similar messages entrenched in our children from different art forms of story telling.
We have always been interested in Barefoot Books Publishing company, a publishing company dedicated to telling these important stories from all over the world. Celebrating diversity and teaching children at a young age about global families, Barefoot Books has transcended over the decades to be one of the most celebrated and coveted publishing companies around the world. Their beautiful illustrations teach as well and will captivate the imaginations of your children. Barefoot Books spares no expense to teach your children and have them expand their imaginations and minds to places they never thought possible.
We have searched and found four of our favorite stories from all of the world to teach morals, values and meanings to your children. Each of these stories is a beautiful tale from around the world set to educate, expand and enrich your child. While learning a different tale, you can count on a great message at the end of every story, which will have your child asking questions and engaging with you before, during and after the book is read. Here are our four picks:
NEVER TRUST A TIGER (KOREA)
This story was told well before North Korea and South Korea split up. Retold by Lari Don and illustrated by Melanie Willimason, Never Trust A Tiger will introduce you to two characters: the merchant and the tiger. As the Merchant is walking to market, he must pass over mountains. He hears a cry for help and finds a tiger stuck at the bottom of the pit. Deciding to do a good deed, the man lowers a tree trunk into the pit, rescuing the tiger. Instead of being thankful for the selfless rescue, the tiger has another problem, he is hungry!
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The Merchant looks like a perfect meal! Even though the merchant has rescued the tiger, the tiger is determined to eat the Merchant. The Merchant persuades the tiger to ask other animals around the mountainous forest what they believe the merchants fate should be. The tiger agrees. What will the fate be of the innocent merchant? Illustrator Melanie Williamson delights the reader with colourful/colorful but easy to understand illustrations. This book will be an excellent conversation opener with even the youngest of reader on what is right and what is wrong and how the grey areas in life are the places in which most of our challenges lie.
PRINCE OF FIRE – THE STORY OF DIWALI (INDIA)
One of the most celebrated holidays around the world, Diwali, entrances millions of people every year! But how did Diwali start? Your child will dive into the story of Prince of Fire and how he restored light to the earth!
Retold by Jatinder Verma, the story begins with Vishnu, preserver of the universe who was sleeping. He caused the oceans to rise and fall with his snores and the sun to rise and set. Suddenly, 3,333 gods were all talking at once. There was a problem. The Demon King of Lanka, Ravana has bragged that he is better than all of the gods put together and he has eclipsed the joyful brightness of the sun, entrenching the world into a permanent darkness.
Vishnu thought about this and asked if there was someone who is making sacrifices to the gods for good fortune. The gods all agreed that Dashratha from Ayodhya wants a son and is preforming a huge sacrifice. Vishnu decides that he will go to Earth in human form as Dashratha’s son.
As Dashratha preforms his sacrifice with fire, a prince steps out of the fire, claiming to be Rama, his oldest son.
Rama goes on to have a life full of challenges. Will The Prince of Fire restore light back to the Earth?
Your children will learn about Diwali, a wonderful festival of light that is widely practiced around the world. They will also learn the root of Diwali and understand its significance. Your children will be entranced with the story behind Diwali.
Illustrator Nilesh Mistry has wonderful bright pictures that will have your child’s eyes dancing across the page as you continue to tell this tale.
WE ALL WENT ON SAFARI (TANZANIA)
This book is unlike the others we are mentioning. This is a counting journey through Tanzania but we put it on the list because it will bring a lot of discussion and further learning to your child.
This book counts from one to ten and takes your child on a journey across the grasslands of Tanzania. But this is not your regular counting book! What makes this book exceptional is your child will have a lively rhyming texts that is supplemented by a map of Tanzania and facts about the country, its famous Maasai people and notes about each of the unique animals your child will encounter on their counting journey.
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There is an illustrated guide for your child to learn how to count to ten in Swahili and facts about the Maasai people. Author Laurie Krebs spares no detail on teaching your children about the Maasai culture and some beautiful facts about this fascinating country. Julia Cairns’ illustrations make us feel like we are beside the Maasai people, counting with them in the beautiful grasslands of Tanzania.
This book will be your favorite counting book! Your children, no matter what the age will walk away with some interesting facts. Younger children will love the rhyme and rhythm of this book and seeing some familiar animals to count, while learning some new ones as well. Your older children will get to try to count in Swahili and be interested in learning more about Tanzania and the Maasai people.
This is not your average count along with me book. Be inspired.
MAMA PANYA’S PANCAKES (KENYA)
Mama Panya is making pancakes today and writers Mary and Rich Chamberlin are heading a story that takes a few interesting twists and turns before ending on a timeless lesson for all ages to take away from.
Mama Panya is going to market to get some ingredients for her delicious pancakes and takes her son Adika to join her. She would be more excited to make the pancakes if her son would just stop inviting everyone to join them for the treat later on that day! She only has so much money, but her son is always a few steps ahead of her, inviting friends and acquaintances to join them in just a few hours. How will she feed this group of people on such little money and ingredients?
Sometimes, our children teach us the greatest lessons we will ever learn. It can sometimes surprise us when and where these lessons will come up, but Mama Panya learns a beautiful lesson at the end of this book and little Adika learns what a wonderful woman his Mother truly is. Maybe he already knew and wanted his Mom to receive some love? We will let you, the reader decide.
This book not only contains a universal message but has a helpful map, great notes about Kenya and its people and a delicious easy to make pancake recipe for your whole family to try!
There is nothing better than a great discussion with your kids, a wonderful book with a universal message and a delicious recipe to try out. This book will be one of your favorites!
THE GIRL WITH A BRAVE HEART- A TALE FROM TEHRAN (IRAN)
Shiraz is a special girl with a big heart who has many tragedies in life. Her Mother dies when she is so young. Her father takes on a new wife who also has a daughter, who becomes a wonderful friend to Shiraz. Unfortunately, Shiraz’s father dies and Shiraz’s step-mother decides that Shiraz would be a better maid for the house then resident. Shiraz does hard work to keep the family house running. One day by accident, Shiraz drops a ball of yarn into the backyard of a neighbor. After knocking at the door, an old haggard woman answers. When Shriaz explains the situation the woman invites Shiraz into her home to do some hard work in exchange for getting her yarn back. Shiraz complies, keeping in mind what the woman really needs. Shiraz’s good deeds are rewarded, with magical results. When her step mother and step sister see what has happened to Shiraz, they too drop yarn in the woman’s backyard, only to find that the results were not so positive. They did exactly what the woman had said!
This beautiful tale will teach your children about having a kind and humble heart, a great work ethic and to always think of others. The story as told by Rita Jahanforuz and Cali Mintzi is facinating and the illustrations are simply gorgeous. This is a must have for your children and it is one story that you will not tire of reading over and over again. Make this a part of your child’s library today!
Stories can be those that are hundreds of years old and those that are brand new. Messages from stories around the world may be told differently but those messages are generally universal, with great morals and values.
Enrich your child with a global learning experience with these fine tales. Create projects around each book to learn more about these countries and engage your children to think outside of the box.
Do you have any stories (new or old) from around the world that you would want our readers to know about? Leave your selection in the comments section below.