Engaging stories about other cultures

07 August, 2023

Australia is a vibrant melting pot of cultures from all around the world. These stories give children a taste of the rich diversity within our communities, while also standing up as well-written, entertaining and enjoyable reads worth sharing.


The Katha Chest

This is a beautifully designed book that cleverly highlights Bangladeshi history and culture by sharing memories evoked from traditional katha quilts. A young girl visits her Nanu’s house and is drawn to the chest of quilts made from old saris. As she pulls each out, she shares her memories of each of the quilts, giving readers a hint of the lives of the women who used to wear them. Then, over the page, a gallery of pictures tells more about the person’s life and their cultural traditions.

The Katha Chest is written by Radhiah Chowdhury, illustrated by Lavanya Naidu and published by Allen and Unwin.



The Great Race

This story retells the legend of how the Jade Emperor gathered animals together for a race to win a place in the Chinese zodiac calendar. The author has weaved in hints of friendship, teamwork and focus. The illustrations are glorious, full of vivid colours and the endpapers are beautifully illustrated too.

 The Great Race is written and illustrated by Christopher Corr and published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.



Somebody’s Land

This book introduces readers to Australia’s First Nations people and shows how they lived happily for thousands of years. Joyful illustrations show people making tools, tracking animals, enjoying bush tucker, dancing and dreaming. It’s a celebration of Aboriginal culture written specifically to help explain why we acknowledge our country’s traditional custodians and to prompt conversations with children about our nation’s past. It’s also a lovely read that’s beautifully presented with bright, engaging illustrations.

Somebody’s Land is written by Adnyamathanha and Narungga man Adam Goodes with Ellie Laing. It’s illustrated by Barkindji illustrator David Hardy and is published by Allen and Unwin.



Teatime Around the World

From pink chai to bubble tea, this gorgeous rhyming picture book is a celebration of tea and the many varied ways it is enjoyed around the world. It’s written with two sets of text – younger readers may prefer to read just the poem, while older children and tea connoisseurs may appreciate the extra detail about the tea type, how it’s prepared and where in the world is it enjoyed. The illustrations are lovely and there are fun endpapers illustrating all the little extras people like to add to their tea, such as sugar cubes and lemon slices.

Teatime Around the World is written by Denyse Waissbluth, illustrated by Chelsea O’Byrne and published by Greystone Kids.



The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name

This is a thoughtfully written story that gently encourages readers to make the effort to learn and pronounce people’s names, no matter how long and strange they may sound at first. The boy in this book has a very long name, and he feels a bit awkward about introducing it to his new classmates. We watch him slowly stretch it out for his new friend, syllable by syllable, for her to practice as their friendship grows.

The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name is written by Sandhya Parappukkaran, illustrated by Michelle Pereira and published by Bright Light.


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