7 Books That Teach Children to Be Global Citizens

“Stars are not born, they are made.”

The children of today will eventually grow up to be the world’s future, and that is precisely why it becomes crucial to raise our kids with the intrinsic values of global awareness. They need to be made very aware of the conditions that people from other places live in to make them grow as responsible and empathetic global citizens. As a parent myself, I know what a challenge it is to raise a kid right. In this era of globalization, it becomes imperative to teach your kids to be able to think about the world that exists far beyond the geographical ambit they live in.

With our busy lives and budget constraints, international travel might not be a feasible option. And if we are talking about the annual vacations to distant and exotic locales, do you really think that a fortnight can help your kid understand the prevailing lives and livelihoods of a place? So, what is the easiest solution to this? Obviously, BOOKS! To quote the author of the Pulitzer winning book The Namesake, “That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”

I can cross my heart and say that books, with its vivid illustrations and its evocative story-telling, can often sweep you off your feet and take you places without the expensive tickets. Books are like the wardrobe that can lead your child to his or her own Narnia. Or, maybe like the Hogwarts Express that can take the young minds all the way to the magical lands of their imagination.

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7 Books That Teach Children to Be Global Citizens

If your kid has a passionate inquisitiveness about what is going on with the rest of the world, then here is a list of books that you can gift to your child (or maybe read out to them) if you want them to celebrate the myriad of cultures that our world has to offer.

  1. “The Breadwinner” by Deborah Ellis

The Breadwinner is a children’s novel by the acclaimed author Deborah Ellis. The story is about a girl named Parvana who stays in Afghanistan and is being brought up under the abusive Taliban rule. In the story, we see that Parvana’s father is tormented and threatened by the Taliban for receiving education from a famed university outside Afghanistan. With the passage of days, the threats become worse, resulting to a situation where Parvana’s family has to do without a proper earning. That is when the little girl takes the mantle on her frail but determined shoulders to become the “breadwinner” of her family at a young age of 11. She starts dressing up as a boy to earn her family a living. In an interview, Ellis says how she spent months getting similar female refugees to talk.

The book is ideal for nurturing the feminist in your child. It also gives them a sense of the trials and tribulations of kids their age, thus helping them become kinder towards others and more grateful for what they have.

  1. “What Is Your Language?” by Deborah Leventhal

What is your Language explores the life of a boy who travels around the globe and meets his contemporaries from all the corners of the world. The book is rich with multiple cultures and is the cheapest substitution for exorbitant international travel. The vivid pictures make the book all the more engaging, and that’s not even half of it! Your kid will also get to learn snippets of starting a conversation in foreign languages. Wondering how would that happen? From the cover of the book! The book is known to have one of the most exciting covers that teach its young readers to say yes and no in a plethora of languages, some of which are Spanish, Arabic, German, French, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, and Swahili. Besides the cultures, the book will also inculcate the values of fraternity and co-existence in your child.

  1. “Mama, Do You Love Me?” By Barbara M. Joosse

The best-selling book written by Barbara Joosse introduces a young girl to the readers – a character that is sure to resonate with them. The girl, referred to as “Dear One,” is a mischievous kid who goes on asking her mother the question that is also the name of the book – “Mama, do you love me?” As the mother answers with an obvious positive, the child goes on asking the question to test the limit of the love that the mother harbors for the child. In the end, the child realizes that a mother’s love is truly unconditional. The story is set in the snowy landscape of Alaska, and the best thing about the book is the lucid illustrations that serve as a window to the Inuit culture.

  1. “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss is also famous among the young adults, and his books always have a theme that directs towards world equality and peace. In this one, the author tells a tale about Ducky and the people around him who are less lucky than him. Through his book, Dr. Seuss strives to show how the world is an equal place for all and how we should be grateful for what we have. The books will teach your kids to be kinder as it will make your child aware of the myriad of problems that others face throughout the world. The book ends with a reminder of how we all face different challenges, thus, urging the young reader to be less self-centered. It concludes with a sense of hope about the budding citizens who would soon take over the world.

  1. Possum Magic” by Mem Fox

In this endearing tale, the Grandma Possum turns her granddaughter (who goes by the name Hush) invisible using bush magic. All is fine until Hush wants to be visible once again, and that is when the mess occurs because grandma possum cannot seem to recall the spell to undo the magic. All her weak memory can remember is that some kind of human food can rectify the spell and turn Hush visible again. What is striking about the book is the brilliant imageries set against the woodlands of Australia. The story follows how the possum duo travels about Australia trying different delicacies only so that Hush can return to her usual, visible self. The book gives a picturesque insight into the marshes of the Land of Kangaroo. Written with the right portion of imagination and wit, this book is in itself a charm.

  1. “Everyone poops” by Taro Gomi

Poop! Sounds disgusting, right? But your child will miss out on a lot of things about how this world works if he or she does not read this book. On a deeper level, is there any better way to teach your kids about equality other than talking about poop? We all defecate, and that is precisely what makes us equal and reminds us how we are bound by one string – Life. “Everyone Poops” teaches us how all living creatures are the same and how we, irrespective of the power of intelligence that we have within us, should not take advantage of it and refrain from manipulating others. Plus, the book also comes with an effective way to emphasize on hygiene habits. Now, wouldn’t we all want that in our kids?

  1. “ I Live in Tokyo” by Mari Takabayashi

The book follows the life of Mimiko, a seven years old girl who hails from Tokyo, Japan. The story revolves around her everyday life in Tokyo where she explains their way of living – the houses they live in, the kind of food they savor, their cultural preferences and the many festivals that they celebrate all year round. The book teaches the kids how life in Asia is. It shows children that although we are set apart by our cultural differences, down the line, we are still the same. It makes the kids more appreciative and accepting of other cultures that can be quite in contrast to their own.

Books are a gateway to better ideas and new experiences. The above-listed books explore foreign locations where life is a lot different than ours and feature characters that come from multi-cultural backgrounds. These books serve as a window for the young readers and help them have a better view of the world that they are yet to explore, thus training them to be better global citizens. As Atticus Finch, the young protagonist of the classic To Kill a Mockingbird has said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” That is exactly what good books will do for your kids. Now you know what to gift your little one on his/her birthday, don’t you?

7 Books That Teach Children to Be Global Citizens

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