I have always been intrigued to talk with families raising kids around the world, to learn about parenting around the globe. The cultural wisdom that has been handed down from generation to generation, is fascinating! These books are relevant for parents (and I’ve often gifted them at baby showers!) and also for teachers, to be able to relate and understand cultural differences in the families we serve. Some of the books feature a single culture, some compare two cultures, and others are a round-up of ideas the cover different aspects of parenting around the globe. If you’re looking for new perspectives, new ideas, or fresh solutions in parenting, you will find them here.
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by Meredith Small
Best part: The anthropological perspective that looks at how our biology and how our culture both influence our actions, beliefs, and parenting.
The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids, by Jessica Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl
Best part: The Danish teaching kids about empathy, play, and hygge— a fun, cozy way to foster closeness.
by Anne Maiden Brown, Edie Farwell, Dickey Nyerongsha.
Best part: Tibetan parenting is peaceful parenting; the relationship between the mother and child, and the birth event are honored and appreciated.
by Pamela Druckerman
Best part: Pamela’s observations that French rituals and schedules help kids to be boisterous, curious, and creative.
by Kim Parker
Best part: The mix of education and humor draws us into this book about the differences in parenting in both Asia and the US. I appreciated how she honored the cultures and refrained from stereotypes and over-generalizations.
by Rina Mae Acosta, Michele Hutchison
Best part: Dutch families are less stressed with less planned activities and a sweet work-life balance.
by Amy Chua
I hesitated to include this book, because I judged it based on numerous negative reviews before I read it. I do see some exaggerating of Asian stereotypes, but I also see a mom who is trying her best to raise her kids despite her own self-doubt. She describes this book as Chinese-style parenting, and it helped me have an insight into many (be careful not to overgeneralize) of my own ESL students’ lives.
by Lisa Lewis, MD
Best part: This book is packed with the wisdom and care-taking practices of cultures around the world. Here’s one nugget: in Nigeria, women wear their babies for most of the day, and crying is minimal. Family and friends often step in to help, passing the baby with glee and comforting them when they are upset. (See the full review, plus 10 fun facts learned from the book here).
by Linda Åkeson McGurk
Best part: When the authors use science and anecdotes to explain how exploring the outdoors is crucial to child development.
by Mei-Ling Hopgood
Best part: If you are a parent and love traveling and noticing cultural differences, you will love the entertaining observations and stories in this book. Each chapter is dedicated to one parenting practice in one part of the world. It is so intriguing, and is very light reading, that you can pick it up and put it down while nursing or feeding a newborn.
by Christine Gross-Loh
Best part: This fabulous, researched-based book was recommended by Stephanie Meade of InCulture Parent. I love that it explores qualities of parenting in cultures around the world, and what their insights are of “good parenting.” So much to learn as we open our eyes to the differences!
by Sara Zaske
Best part: German kids have free range to play and roam and take the subway, and they grow up thriving with “selbstandigkeit” (self-reliance).
by Robert A. LeVine, Sarah LeVine
Best part: As a parent in the US, this books really shows that less is more. Kids can be happy and successful and healthy without the obsessive, effort-intense environment that is so common in the US.
French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman
French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon
Best parts: When I first read Pamela Druckerman talking about how the French often don’t offer snacks to their kids, and do expect them to sit at fancy restaurants- it flipped my perspective upside down and I looked at food and kids completely differently!