This is the second post in a series on World Religions for Kids, a group of articles packed with resources to help teachers and parents teach their children about World Religions as a means to promote compassion, empathy, cultural understanding, and tolerance. These books are a sample of the incredible list of 300+ multicultural books featured in The Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners, a new book with hundreds of easy activities, resources, and projects to help busy educators incorporate global and cultural awareness in their classroom. Learn more here.
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General Books about World Religions for Kids
Use these books to explore similarities and differences in traditions, rituals, beliefs, and celebrations of world religions for kids.
Buller, Laura (2005). A Faith Like Mine. New York, NY: DK. Includes Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Sikhism in detail, with bits on Zoroastrianism, Shinto, Taoism, Jainism and Baha’i, for ages 9-12.
DK Publishing (2011). What Do You Believe? New York, NY: DK. Includes all of the largest faiths, many smaller religious, plus ancient philosophers such as Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato, as well as modern thinkers such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Kant, and Sartre.
Glossop, Jennifer, & Mantha, John (2003). The Kids Book of World Religions. Toronto, Canada: Kids Can Press. In addition to the general information about the different world religions for kids, it also includes info on leaders and places of worship (focusing on the major religions only).
Lumbard, Alexis York (2014). Everyone Prays. Bloomington, IN: Wisdom Tales. Perfect introductory text for kids ages 4-8, with a unifying message that despite our different cultures and traditions, many people have a deep faith.
Meredith, Susan (2012). The Usborne Book of World Religions. London, IL: Usborne Publishing. Like many of the other books listed, it includes sections on the main religions and briefly touches on some of the smaller faiths. Unique to this book is the addition of numerous web sites (viewed through the Usborne site) that are constantly updated.
Osborne, Mary Pope (1996). One World, Many Religions: The Ways We Worship. New York, NY: Knopf Books for Young Readers. Includes Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, for ages 8-12.
Books about Specific World Religions for Kids
Demi (1997). Buddha Stories. New York, NY: Henry Holt.
Demi (1998). The Dalai Lama. New York, NY: Henry Holt.
Lee, Jeanne M. (1999). I Once Was a Monkey: Stories Buddha Told. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
McGinnis, Mark W. (2004). Buddhist Animal Wisdom Stories. Boston, MA: Weatherhill.
Silver, Gail (2009). Anh’s Anger. Berkeley, CA: Plum Blossom Books.
Stewart, Whitney (2009). Becoming Buddha: The Story of Siddhartha. Torrance, CA: Heian.
DePaola, Tomie (1994). Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland. New York: NY: Holiday House.
Golden Books (1965). The Children’s Bible. New York, NY: Golden Inspirational.
Hunt, Angela Elwell (1989). The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook.
Lankford, Mary (1995). Christmas Around the World. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Lucado, Max (1997). You are Special. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.
Neale, John (2005). Good King Wenceslas. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.
Pulley, Kelly (2005). The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories. Grand Rapids, MI: Zonderkidz.
Chandu: Illustrator (2009). Illustrated Mahabharata for Children. Bangalore, India: Vasan Publications.
Demi (2013). The Fantastic Adventures of Krishna. Bloomington, IN: Wisdom Tales.
Ganeri, Anita (2006). Hindu Stories (Traditional Religious Tales). Bloomington, MN: Picture Window Books.
Haynes, Emily (2012). Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Book.
Patel, Sanjay (2011). The Big Posterbook of Hindu Deities. San Francisco: CA: Chronicle Books. Also check out The Little Book of Hindu Deities: From the Goddess of Wealth to the Sacred Cow.
Senker, Cath (2003). My Hindu Year (A Year of Religious Festivals). London, UK: Hodder & Stoughton.
Indigenous (US/CANADA) Spirituality
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (2005). Beaver Steals Fire: A Salish Coyote Story. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
Edwardson, Debby Dahl (2004). Whale Snow. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing,
Galvan, Glenda (2011). Chikasha Stories: Shared Spirit. Ada, OK: Chickasaw Press.
Nelson, S.D. (2012). Greet the Dawn: The Lakota Way. Pierre, SD: South Dakota State Historical Society.
Ortiz, Simon J. (2010). The Good Rainbow Road. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.
Swamp, Chief Jake (1997). Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books.
Waboose, Jan Bourdeau (2000). SkySisters. Toronto: Canada. Kids Can Press.
Codor’s, Richard (2008). Richard Codor’s Joyous Haggadah: A Children and Family Cartoon Haggadah for Passover Seder. New York, NY: Loose Line Productions, Inc.
Gross, Judith (1992). Celebrate: A Book of Jewish Holidays. New York, NY: Grosset & Dunlap.
Hesse, Karen (1992). Letters From Rifka. New York, NY: Puffin Books.
Kimmel, Eric A. (1989). Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. New York, NY: Holiday House.
Schwartz, Howard, & Rush, Barbara (1991). The Diamond Tree: Jewish Tales From Around the World. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Wayland, April Halprin (2009). New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story. New York, NY: Dial Books/Penguin Group.
Yolen, Jane (2004). The Devil’s Arithmetic. New York, NY: Puffin Books.
Medearis, Angela S. (2000). Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman.
Addasi, Maha (2008). The White Nights of Ramadan. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press.
Addasi, Maha (2010). Time to Pray. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press.
Demi (2003). Muhammad. New York, NY: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Jalali, Reza (2010). Moon Watchers: Shirin’s Ramadan Miracle. Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House.
Khan, Hena (2008). Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
Khan, Hena (2012). Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
Mobin-Uddin, Asma (2007). The Best Eid Ever. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press.
Mobin-Uddin, Asma (2009). A Party in Ramadan. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press.
Whitman, Sylvia (2008). Under the Ramadan Moon. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman.
Muth, Jon J. (2002). The Three Questions. Singapore: Scholastic.
Muth, Jon J. (2005). Zen Shorts. New York, NY: Scholastic.
There is a great series where kids can see the inside of traditional houses of worship, and begin to understand the rituals and traditions of world religions. The titles available are:
Interfaith & Religious Tolerance
Cohen, Barbara (1983). Molly’s Pilgrim. New York, NY: HarperCollins. (Russian-Jewish and US/Thanksgiving).
Polacco, Patricia (1992). Mrs. Katz and Tush. New York, NY: Dragonfly Books. (Jewish and African-American).
Renberg, Dalia Hardof (1994). King Solomon and the Bee. New York, NY: HarperCollins. (King Solomon appears in Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions).
Strom, Yale (1996). Quilted Landscape: Conversations With Young Immigrants. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Children’s.
I would love to bulk up my list, especially this last section! Do you have any recommendations of books about world religions for kids? Do you know of any other books that discuss interfaith relationships for kids? Please let me know in the comments so I can check them out and include them!