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The Ticketless Traveler, Children's Literature @ NYPL

Around The World in 80+ Children's Books

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Summer is here, and with it comes the joy of getting away from it all. While we research our destinations with some assistance from guidebooks, children don't really have that option. Unless you are lucky enough to travel to a small number of selected destinations covered by the wonderful Lonely Planet Not For Parents Guides, your younger traveling companions will be deprived of guidance. This does not have to be the case. Books on this list offer young travelers a great opportunity to explore new cultures through a colorful world of illustrated stories and fairytales. These books will introduce your children to the rich cultural heritage and traditions of your international destinations.

Even if your pilgrimage to a dream destination is entirely imaginary, these stories can offer an introduction to a wonderful world of armchair travel. If you can't take your child to another country, visiting cultural institutions and ethnic neighborhoods throughout New York City can have similar benefits. How lucky are we to reside in a city that offers unparalleled opportunities for cultural exploration? The Museum of the Chinese in America or Asia Society could be visited in conjunction with your favorite Chinatown landmark or Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. A trip to El Museo del Barrio can be combined can with a quick lunch at Cuchifritos or Cabana. New Yorkers have always been known for their special appreciation of cultural differences. Let's keep this tradition going!

 

My criterion for inclusion was rather narrow, as this list was originally compiled for a specific class of students at PS 59, Beekman Hill International. Located in close proximity to the United Nations, the school is a perfect microcosm of a vibrant global village. In selecting books for a specific country I attempted to cover that country's customs, folklore, traditions, cuisine, art, fashion, cultural attitudes to childhood, as well as famous historical figures. Artistic and literary merits of the book, as well as its current availability were taken into consideration. Given a wide variety of children's reading levels, as well as the indisputable appeal of picture books to readers of all ages, I would recommend this list to children from kindergarten all the way to middle school.

Many versions of the story of Cinderella (Persia, China, Egypt, Korea, South Africa, the Caribbean, Mexico, Ireland, India, France and Russia) are part of this reading list. Reading several versions of this familiar fairytale can help kids identify differences in another country's way of life, while simultaneously affirming our cross-cultural bond of being human.

There is a separate list of nonfiction titles that readers may find helpful while traveling with a child. Travel, or the promise of it in the future, offers unique educational opportunities. International travel can introduce a child to the splendors of past and present civilizations. It can foster an appreciation of cultural differences and offer a newfound perspective on life at home. A better understanding of foreign relations is an added benefit of international travel.

We would love to receive book recommendations for this list from readers of all ages.

Have a nice trip! Bon Voyage! Счастливого пути ! 잘다녀오십시오! Hyvää matkaa!    よい旅を    Καλό ταξίδι! Góða ferð سفر خوش

Selected Children's Travel Nonfiction

 

 

 

Australia

 

Caribbean Islands

 

 

China

 

 

 

Czech Republic

 

Cuba

 

 

Denmark

 

Egypt

 

 

England

 

 

Ethiopia

 

Finland

 

France

 

 

Germany

 

 

Greece

 

 

Holland

 

Iceland

 

India

 

 

Iran

 

 

Ireland

 

 

Israel

 

Italy

 

 

Japan

 

Kenya

 

 

Korea

 

Mali

 

Mexico

 

 

Morocco

 

New Zealand

 

Norway

 

 

Philippines

 

Russia

 

 

Scotland

 

South Africa

 

 

Spain

 

Sweden

 

 

Tibet

 

Ukraine

 

 

Vietnam

Comments

Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Books about Egypt

This is an exciting list - and the selections about Egypt are excellent, but it would be great to focus as well on modern Egypt, not just the ancient stories. There is more to Egypt than pyramids and mummies! Ahmed's Secret reflects this but also please consider Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt's Treasured Books about the Egyptian protesters who protected the great library in Alexandria in 2011. Other excellent books about Africa are winners of the Children's Africana Book Awards http://africaaccessreview.org/africana-awards/.

Thank you for your

Thank you for your suggestions. Africana Book Awards is a great resource !

Justice pond di Road

This is great list! I am the author of a children's picture book about Jamaica. It's called Justice pon di Road and is about the sights, sounds and tastes of island culture as experienced by a young boy and his mom on a morning walk. Check out our Facebook page! The book has a patois glossary in the back as well as other great information about the island.

Thank you for your interest

Thank you for your interest and suggestion !

Exclusion of certain countries

I do appreciate this list, and I read the reasoning behind what was included. I am just a bit disappointed that aside from one book from Cuba, which could be categorized as part of the Caribbean, there are no other books representing Central or South America. But thank you for these.

Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at NYPL

I am very happy that you enjoyed this blog and understood my selection criteria. While many books that are honored by a Pura Belpré Award might not be entirely relevant to this blog post, they might assuage your very understandable disappointment. http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/belpremedal The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth

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