Exploring Different Religions Booklist

Books that help kids better understand different cultures and beliefs

Highlights 4Cs

Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
x
Curious
The light bulb icon represents curiosity. For content about raising a curious child, look for this icon.
x
Creative
The paint brush icon represents creativity. For content about raising a creative child, look for this icon.
x
Caring
The holding hands icon represents caring. For content about raising a caring child, look for this icon.
x
Confident
The thumbs up icon represents confidence. For content about raising a confident child, look for this icon.
By helping kids gain a better understanding of the cultures and beliefs of people across the world, children build more respect and tolerance for the differences that make us unique. Introduce your children to some of these books to start the conversation.

  

1. A Party in Ramadan

 By Asma Mobin-Uddin

Ages 7-9

Ramadan is coming, and Leena is excited. Although she is too young to fast every day during the Muslim religious festival, Leena decides to fast each Friday instead. When Leena receives an invitation to a party which happens to fall on Friday, she has a dilemma. She doesn't want to miss the party, but she doesn't want to miss fasting either. So, Leena decides to go to the party, but not eat or drink anything at all. Later, she will join her family for the meal known as iftar, when the daily fast is broken. But when Leena, the only Muslim at the party, sees her friends enjoying fresh lemonade and chocolate cake, her stomach starts to growl and her head begins to hurt. Will she keep her Ramadan fast?

2. Time to Pray

By Maha Addasi

Ages 7-9

A visit with Grandmother in the Middle East is always special for Yasmin, but this time it is even more so in this picture book about faith and family. On her first night visiting her grandmother, Yasmin is wakened by the muezzin at the nearby mosque calling the faithful to prayer. She watches from her bed as her grandmother prepares to pray. During her stay, Yasmin’s grandmother makes her prayer clothes, buys her a prayer rug, and teaches her the five prayers that Muslims perform over the course of a day. When it's time for Yasmin to board a plane and return home, her grandmother gives her a present. When Yasmin opens the present when she gets home, she discovers a prayer clock in the shape of a mosque, with an alarm that sounds like a muezzin calling the faithful to prayer.

3. The White Nights of Ramadan

By Maha Addasi

Ages 7-9

Mid-Ramadan is a special time for families in the Arabian (Persian) Gulf. These middle days are known as "the three whites," because they include the day of the full moon, the day before, and the day after. It's a time when children dress in traditional clothing and go from house to house collecting treats from their neighbors. When Noor sees the full moon rising, signaling the coming of Girgian, she and her brothers prepare for the fun. Together, they decorate the bags they'll carry to collect the candies. But along with the fun, Noor remembers the true meaning of Ramadan: spending time with family and sharing with those less fortunate.

4. The Monk and the Yak

By Mr Ori Avnur

Ages 7-9

The Monk and the Yak was written in Ladakh, India, inspired by the towering peaks of the Himalayas. It tells the story of a lonely monk and his huge hairy yak, who live together peacefully in the mountains. One stormy, snowy winter the monk is assailed by a mysterious illness and finds himself in dire straits. It is then that the yak proves himself to be a loyal friend with a heart of gold… Enhanced by illustrations in soft colors and charming characters, the book conveys a sense of calm and serenity. With its message that help is always available and may be found in the most unexpected places, it inspires a feeling of trust in the world. The simple, child-friendly text is a delight for people of all ages.

5. The Kids Book of World Religions

By Jennifer Glossop

Ages 8-12

By gaining a greater understanding of the cultures and beliefs of people around the world, children build respect and tolerance for the differences that make each of us unique. With objectivity and accessibility, this title in the Kids Book of series looks at the histories, scriptures, places of worship, religious leaders, gods and major festivals that are the foundations of many of the world's religions.

6. One World, Many Religions: The Ways We Worship

By Mary Pope Osborne

Ages 8-12

Religious understanding is as important today than any other time in history. In this highly acclaimed book, Mary Pope Osborne introduces readers to the six major religions of the world. One World, Many Religions covers the history, beliefs, and practices of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. All have had a deep effect on the laws and customs of every country. They have shaped art, literature, music, and education. They have given the world magnificent stories, songs, buildings, holy objects, ceremonies, and festivals.

7. My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

By Paula J. Freedman

Ages 8-12

During the fall leading up to her bat mitzvah, Tara (Hindi for “star”) Feinstein has a lot more than her Torah portion on her mind. Between Hebrew school and study sessions with the rabbi, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to hang out with her best friend Ben-O―who might also be her boyfriend―and her other best friend, Rebecca, who’s getting a little too cozy with the snotty Sheila Rosenberg. Not to mention working on her robotics project with the class clown Ryan Berger, or figuring out what to do with a priceless heirloom sari that she accidentally ruined. Amid all this drama, Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith.

8. Schools of Hope

By Norman H. Finkelstein

Ages 10+

When Booker T. Washington, the famed African American educator, asked Julius Rosenwald, the wealthy president of Sears, Roebuck and Company and noted philanthropist, to help him build well-designed and fully equipped schools for black children, the face of education in the South changed for the better. It was the early 1900s, a time of discrimination, racial segregation, and inadequate education for African Americans. Rosenwald created a special fund that in just twenty years built more than 5,300 schools attended by 600,000 black students. In this inspiring story, noted nonfiction writer Norman H. Finkelstein spotlights one man’s legacy and the power of community action.