7 Children’s Books About Food Around the World

7 Children's Books About Food Around the World-I'm Not the Nanny

Summer is the time for road trips and family vacations.  Some of our friends are traveling all over the world and I can’t help but feel jealous when I see their beach photos or shots of exotic landscapes. My kids enjoy traveling as much as I do, so when we can’t hop in the car or a plane, we travel via food. Cooking food from different cuisines and countries is a fun and hands on way to learning about other cultures. Why not read some books for inspiration?

The folks at Tuttle Publishing sent me some fun books about food from Asian, plus I’ve added a few I’ve discovered. (All links below are affiliate links.)

Are you ready to travel and eat around the world with these children’s books about food around the world?

When our box of books arrived, the first one Sophia grabbed was Fun with Asian Food: A Kids’ Cookbook by Mirijke Den Ouden and Devagi Sanmugam (Tuttle). After checking out all recipes, she settled on making Indian Fruit Lassi. Each recipe is easy to read with hand drawn illustrations for each step, making it perfect for even little kids to “read.” Both kids helped to make our strawberry lassis. We froze the extra and made lassi popsicles, which were a hit! The kids and I are looking forward to making the other recipes in the book. The cookbook contains recipes from India, China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines.

Everybody Eats Lunch by Cricket Azima (Glitterati Inc) is an interactive board book that shows what other kids around the world eat for lunch. Learn what time lunch is eaten and what it’s called in different languages. There’s removeable pieces that explain the different foods. It’s super cute! I wish I’d seen this when my kids were younger.

Let’s Eat!/A Comer! (My Family: Mi Familia) by Pat Mora (Rayo) is a Spanish/English bilingual book that will introduce your kids to Mexican foods and what their Spanish names. This is a fun book to read if you want to start a Taco Tuesday tradition with your family. A great book for preschoolers.

Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia and Ken Min (Lee & Low) deserve another mention because I love reading this book out loud. It’s a fun read and shows how traditional food is incorporated into American life. Plus Dada-ji is pretty awesome!

Ok, so Louisiana isn’t really international but the cuisine there is a melting pot of many different cultures–just like the people who live there. Gator Gumbo: A Spicy-Hot Tale by Candace Fleming (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) is a Cajun take on the classic The Little Red Hen. After you’re done reading it, you  might be inspired to make your own gumbo.

Travel to Morocco with The Butter Man by Elizabeth Alalou (Charlesbridge) as Nora’s father tells her about his childhood. While the mouthwatering pot of couscous simmers, Nora learns about her grandfather’s patience and perseverance as he works to bring food to his family during a famine.

If your kids are squeamish about trying new foods, read them Do Mice Eat Rice? by Al Write and Roger Clarke (Tuttle). Told in rhyme with hilarious illustrations, this book wonders how different animals would react when they try new foods.

Returning to Camp Grandparents aka Vietnamese Immersion Camp

Kids at Park-I'm Not the Nanny

Once again, I’m packing up the kids and sending them my parents for the summer. Or as I joking call it Camp Grandparents. I’m heading to Louisiana with the kids tomorrow and will return next week without kids in tow. While I’m down there I plan on consuming some beignets and stocking up on Community Coffee. Plus I’ll get to hang out with my family and see a good friend.

It’s our third summer doing this and the kids are very excited to stay with my parents for several weeks. It’s become a tradition. This summer they’ve already requested to learn how to cook pho, make steam buns and other Vietnamese dishes. I know their grandmother will have fun passing down our food traditions and family recipes to them, even if I haven’t managed to teach the kids how to speak Vietnamese fluently.  My parents don’t see the kids very often throughout the year (except through Skype) so they love having them in the summer.

Hubby and I are looking forward to cramming in as many date nights as possible before he flies down to pick up the kids. I know it’s a luxury to be able to send my kids to their grandparents for so long and I won’t be wasting the opportunity either!

Vietnamese Language Books

Another project I hope to start when I return next week is to work on my Vietnamese. Tuttle Publishing sent me a stack of Vietnamese language resources and I plan on cracking open Elementary Vietnamese, Third Edition: Moi ban noi tieng Viet. Let’s Speak Vietnamese. It’s a college textbook, but I’m going to use it as a self-study. It comes with a mp3 CD, which is super important because Vietnamese is a tonal language and the tones can be subtle to untrained ears. My goal is to be able to read children’s books in Vietnamese to my kids so we can all hear the language as much as possible while we’re away from my family. I’ll report back to you on this textbook after I’ve tried a few lessons.

Tuttle also sent me Making Out in Vietnamese and Instant Vietnamese: How to Express 1,000 Different Ideas with Just 100 Key Words and Phrases!  which I will use to help teach my husband more Vietnamese phrases. THe Making Out in Vietnamese is pretty funny. It teaches you how to say, “I am a virgin” and “I wanna kiss you” which seems very culturally forward. But I have no idea how the young singles in Vietnam flirt. Take these with a grain of salt as “I am a virgin” is only translated as a woman telling a man that and offers no translation for the reverse.

Of course I don’t mind teaching my husband to say in Vietnamese, “You have a beautiful voice.”

I received copies of the above books for review. Book links are affiliate links.

18 Diverse Children’s Chapter Book Series for Summer Reading

18 Diverse Children's Chapter Books Series for Summer Reading-I'm Not the Nanny

adapted from original image by Simon Cocks

As parents we all know how important summer reading is for our kids. The challenge is finding books that our kids will read. My personal challenge is making sure there enough interesting books for Sophia to read. She flies through books during the summer. I’m always looking for chapter book series for Sophia to read because if she likes the first one, there’s more of the series! I’ve mentioned before the importance of exposing our children to books that show diverse characters (without being stereotypical). Finding diverse chapter book series for elementary students can be difficult.

I searched Book Expo America and my local library’s stacks to find these diverse chapter book series. We haven’t read them all, but hopefully they give you and your children a starting point. Age recommendations are from the publishers, but if you’re unsure that your child is ready for the subject matter, ask your local librarian.

In no particular order (book titles are affiliate links):

EllRay Jakes series by Sally Warner (recommended for ages 6-8)

Katie Woo series by Fran Manushkin (recommended for ages 5-7)

Zapato Power series (featuring Freddie Ramos) by Jacqueline Jules (recommended for ages 6-8)

Keena Ford series by Melissa Thompson (recommended for ages 6-8)

Spirit Animal series by various authors (recommended for ages 8-12)

Girls of Many Lands series (recommended for ages 10 and up) Many of these are out of print but used copies are very inexpensive.

The Ever Afters series by Shelby Bach (recommended for ages 8-12). Not to be confused with the Ever After High series.

Technically not a series but Lisa Yee has 3 companions books: Stanford Wong Flunks Big-timeMillicent Min, Girl Genius and So Totally Emily Ebers with diverse characters (recommended for ages 8-12).

Willimena Rules! series by Valerie Wilson Wesley (recommended for ages 7-10). Also out of print but my library had it and plenty of used copies on Amazon.

Better Nate than Ever and Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle (recommended for ages 10-14)

Ruby Lu series by Lenore Look (recommended for ages 6-10)

Ruby and the Booker Boys series by Derrick Barnes (recommended for ages 7-10)


Calvin Coconut series by Graham Salisbury (recommended for ages 8-12)

The Royal Diary series (recommended for ages 9-12)

Dear America series about boys (recommended for ages 7-10)

Dear America series about girls (recommended for ages 7-10)

Lulu series by Hilary McKay and Priscilla Lamont (recommended for ages 7-10)

Pacy Lin series by Grace Lin (recommended for ages 8-12)

Know of other diverse children’s chapter book series? Leave them in the comments!

9 Multicultural Children’s Books About Fathers

 9 Multicultural Books About Fathers-I'm Not the Nanny

Father’s Day is this weekend, but we don’t have to wait until Sunday to celebrate our dads! Here’s a selection of multicultural children’s books about fathers that you can add to your library. That way we can celebrate how amazing our fathers are everyday! (Book links are affiliate links.)

Papa and Me by Arthur Dorros

The Pura Belpre Honor Book Papa and Me by Arthur Dorros is a English-Spanish bilingual picture book that celebrates the love between a father and son with lush illustrations.

Kitchen Dance by Maurie J Manning

In Kitchen Dance by Maurie J. Manning, a young girl and her brother wakes up in the middle of the night and catches their parents dancing and singing in the kitchen. After joining their parents in the revelry, the songs turn into a lullabies. A perfect bedtime book.

Grandfather Counts by Andrea Cheng

Featured on Reading Rainbow, Grandfather Counts  by Andrea Cheng is about a biracial girl who bonds with her Chinese grandfather as the two learn to count together. The book also includes a glossary so you and your child can learn too!

Let's Go See Papa by Lawrence Schimel

In Let’s Go See Papá!, a girl relishes her Sundays because that’s when her father calls home! He has left their family to work far away in the United States, but this Sunday, he has a huge surprise for the family!

Peek!: A Thai Hide and Seek by Minfong Ho

Peek!: A Thai Hide-and-Seek by Minfong Ho is a fun book about a father and daughter playing “Jut-Ay” or hide-and-seek. Told in verse with bright illustrations, this will be a hit with your little ones.

Daddy Poems selected by John Micklos

In Daddy Poems, John Micklos, Jr. has gather a diverse collection of poems that celebrate dads and children. Selections include poems by Nikki Grimes, Juan Felipe Herrera, Karama Fufuka, and Micklos himself.

In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall

Celebrate African American fathers with intergenerational poems from In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers and its artful illustrations by Javaka Steptoe.

Ghosts For Breakfast by Stanley Todd Terasaki

Set in 1920s, Ghost for Breakfast by Stanley Todd Terasaki tells the story of how a father aims to teach his Japanese American son how to face his fears as they investigate the ghosts in a local farmer’s field.

Abuelo by Arthur Dorros

Grandfathers are dads too as Arthur Dorros reminds us in Abuelo where a young boy and his grandfather bond through their adventures in the countryside.

Visit your library to find these books or you can easily add them to your personal collection. Sign up for a free 30-day Amazon Prime trial for free 2 Day shipping (among other perks).

Whether you’re celebrating Father’s Day this Sunday or another day, make sure to tell dad (or granddad) how much we love them!

BookCon (BEA) #WeNeedDiverseBooks Recap

#WeNeedDiverseBooks BookCon Recap-I'm Not the Nanny

Last week I took the train up to New York City for my annual trip to Book Expo America. Most of my time is spent in meetings and scour for hot titles for From Left to Write, my virtual book club. I did make the time to attend the #WeNeedDiverseBooks session, or “The World Agrees: #WeNeedDiverseBooks” as it was officially started.

The #WeNeedDiverseBooks grassroots campaign began early May, just in time for APA Heritage Month. Twitter and other social media exploded with the hashtag and people sharing why they need diverse books. Ellen Oh was frustrated by the lack of diversity among the panelists in BookCon’s line-up and created the movement to call attention to the lack of diversity among children’s literature.  While it’s not a new problem, I’m glad that the mainstream media is finally paying attention. Thanks to the grass campaign, this session was added to the BookCon lineup.

#WeNeedDiverseBooks BookCon Panelists-I'm Not the Nanny

The session was standing room only and many people were turned away.  I could feel the room buzzing as I squeezed into the middle seat in a row close to the front. As soon as Ellen Oh took the stand, the crowd erupted in cheers.

“Diversity is not a hot trend. It’s our lives!”  -Ellen Oh

Ellen Oh at #WeNeedDiverseBooks BookCon Panel-I'm Not the Nanny

Ellen Oh

It was an all star panel of authors, many whose books I have yet to read. One of my favorite children’s book authors Grace Lin was a panelist. I’m such a huge fan of her books and she’s so cute in person! She also created a printable Cheat Sheet for Selling Diversity which lists diverse books and how “sell” them to readers. Instead of pushing the diversity or race issues of the book, sell the story. After all, what’s the point of a diverse book if the story isn’t good?

Ellen Oh encouraged the crowd (us) to continue our to push publishers and authors for diverse books for not just our multicultural families, but for everyone. That’s a sentiment I’ve echoed again and again here.  As someone on the panel put it, “White kids need diverse books too.”

If you weren’t able to make it to the session, you can listen to the audio (widget above). Warning, there’s lots of cheering. But in a good way. The #WeNeedDiverseBooks team also announced they are planning a Multicultural Literary Festival in Washington, DC for 2016. You bet I’ll be there!

If you’re looking for diverse picture and elementary books for your kids, please check my multicultural books archives! I’ll continue to share my lists and I hope you continue to share your discoveries too!

Want more Book Expo America 2014 news? Check out how I met Neil Patrick Harris (and enter the giveaway) and some book club authors we’ve read in From Left to Write.

Call For Submissions: I Am Vietnamese Project

I Am Vietnamese Project Logo

Call all Vietnamese readers! The I A Vietnamese Project is looking for your story for their collection of short stories, to be published later this year. My friend Jason tipped me off to this project. Here’s more about their mission:

The Vietnamese living overseas are a special group of people. We are a people without a land. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t have a culture. Regardless of our varying grasps of the Vietnamese language and our cultural heritage, we are bounded by our struggles, our values, and our parents’ quirkiness. In our hearts, if nowhere else, we are Vietnamese. The I Am Vietnamese Project aims to inspire and connect those like us to provide a sense of community while we struggle on own personal journeys, and to remind to us that we are not alone. We share the same hardships— overprotective parents, the inability to communicate, the struggle to incorporate western and eastern ideals, and the fear of disappointing others. As we read personal accounts of those like us, we feel inspired, connected, and like we belong.

Now that’s a purpose I can stand behind. There’s so many ways of being Vietnamese and that’s why I Am Vietnamese Project wants to hear your story. For more details of how to submit, take a look at their Writing FAQ.

You can write about anything, as long as it relates to the experience of being Vietnamese:

Tell us an exciting, sad, funny, or inspiring story about something that has happened to you or someone that you know. It can be about a variety of cultural identity topics—how you felt when you visited Vietnam, how it feels to be LBGT in the Vietnamese community, how you decided to chase an atypical dream profession, what it feels like to have an interracial or interfaith marriage, how it feels to serve Vietnamese patients or clients etc. The most important thing to let the words come from the heart.

This is such an important project because most of the Vietnamese American community I come in contact with is very conservative (including my parents). As you can see from above, they are aiming to be more inclusive. You can submit your works in English or Vietnamese.

The first draft of your submission is due by June 30, 2014. They’ll have editors to help you get your piece ready for publication.

If you’re not a writer, they are also looking for editors, graphic designers, and those who know the book industry. You can help by donating funds to help purchase books for communities who need it.

What are you waiting for? Support the I Am Vietnamese Project.

I am not affiliated with this project but I love what they’re doing!

8 Picture Books To Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Picture Books for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month-I'm Not the Nanny #weneeddiversebooks

May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and what better way to celebrate than reading about it with your kids? I’ve gather a list of our family’s favorites as well as some new to us books that celebrate Asian American culture. These picture books are a perfect way to learn more and educate your family about the rich Asian American culture and history.

Auntie Yangs Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo

Reading Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo to my kids made me smile. It’s such a cute story about finding family in a strange place. A young girl tells the story of how her immigrant mother and Auntie Yang discover a soybean field in the Midwest. Soybeans were one her parents’ favorite food from China and they finally found it in the United States! Thus begins the tradition of the great soybean picnic.

Duck For Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules

I can totally empathize with Tuyet in  Duck for Turkey Day for Jacqueline Jules. Growing up, my family served a banquet of Vietnamese food for Thanksgiving. We younger kids always wished we could have turkey like our friends did. Just like Tuyet, my cousins and I learned that everyone has their own spin on Thanksgiving dinner.

Nadia's Hands by Karen English

In Nadia’s Hands by Karen English, Nadia is excited to chosen as a flower girl for her aunt’s wedding. As her hands are decorated for the event, she learns to appreciate her rich culture.

Bee-Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park

Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park is a fun book about how a family shops for and cooks this traditional Korean rice dish. It’s written in rhyme and even includes the author’s bee-bim bop recipe!

Hot Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F Zia

Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia is lyrical and is a blast to read out loud. Aneel’s grandfather tells him the story of how the delicious Indian flatbread helped him accomplish many great things. It’s a truly fun and magical book to read.

Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan

In Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan, Marisa is excited to help her grandmother make their family’s traditional dumpling soup to celebrate the new year. Except she’s worried it won’t taste as good. Set in Hawaii, this book is a great introduction to the multicultural Hawaiian life. (This book is out of print but you can purchase used copies from third party sellers on Amazon.)

Fortune Cookie Fortunes by Grace Lin  Dim Sum For Everyone by Grace Lin

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t leave Grace Lin’s books off this list. Her colorful picture books gives a slice of life view of a Chinese American family. Two of our favorites ar Dim Sum for Everyone! and Fortune Cookie Fortunes. Don’t worry she has written other books that aren’t about food. Guess we like to eat!

Visit your library to find these books or you can easily add them to your personal collection. Sign up for a free 30-day Amazon Prime trial for free 2 Day shipping (among other perks).

Today I’m focusing on picture books, but stay tuned for a list of chapter and YA books. For more resources and activities, visit the Smithsonian Asia Pacific American Center’s website.

9 Picture Books That Celebrate Mixed Race Families #WeNeedDiverseBooks

9 Picture Books That Celebrate Mixed Race Families-I'm Not the Nanny

Once I became a mother of biracial children, I sought books that would represent my children’s mixed heritage.  Slowly, thanks to the internet and the community that’s formed at I’m Not the Nanny, I’ve found not just children’s books that celebrate multiculturalism in the United States, but also picture books that celebrate mixed race families.  It’s important that children see themselves in the books they read.

Books with multicultural or mixed race characters aren’t important just to my family and other families with multiple heritage and/or races. It’s equally important that all children see their friends and family represented in the books they read.  I’ve mentioned some of these picture books about mixed race heritage in previous posts but I wanted to put them all together in one place.  Talking about race with children feels difficult because our personal baggage about it, but it’s never to early to celebrate all the shades of brown skin around us.

Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman

The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman  It’s a fun way to start a conversation about differences among families. The illustrations are fun and show a broad range of family types, family living situations, work environments and more. It’s like the Richard Scarry book for families. My kids and I enjoyed naming friends and family that “matched” the ones shown in the book.

     Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match by Monica BrownMarisol McDonald and the Clash Bash

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown, written in both English and Spanish, is filled with colorful, fun illustrations and. Marisol is a red-headed, browned skinned Peruvian-Irish American who’s sense of style is not appreciated by her friends. Not only doesn’t her hair match her skin, she likes to match polka dots with stripes. Marisol sees her world much differently from her friends. After being constantly reminded that she doesn’t match, she attempts to match for a day and learns about who she truly is. Marisol returns in the sequel Marisol Mcdonald and the Clash Bash to celebrate her birthday in her unique way.

black is brown is tan

Originally written in 1973, black is brown is tan by Arnold Adoff is a lyrical poem celebrating the different skin colors of an interracial family: mother, father, children, aunts, uncles, grandmothers. I borrowed the book because the cover showed a white father, black mother, and their biracial children. When I read the dust jacket later, I discovered that it was the first children’s book to feature an interracial family. I’m sure it must have been controversial when I was first published. We have the 2002 edition of the book, which was updated with new illustrations.

Coopers Lesson by Sun Yung Shin

Cooper’s Lesson by Sun Yung Shin, written in both English and Korean, is about Cooper who is half Korean and half white American. Cooper is frustrated because he’s mocked for his “half and half” identity. Due to the language barrier and misunderstanding, Cooper shoplifts from a shop owned by Mr. Lee an older Korean man. Cooper is caught and as he works to pay off his debt, he realizes his identity is more than being “half.”

I am Flippish by Leslie V Ryan

Written by Leslie V. Ryan, the picture book I am Flippish! is inspired by a true event. Sean is little boy whose classmates don’t understand why he doesn’t look like his dad. Thankfully, the kids have a smart teacher and encourage his students to discover their own family’s ancestry. Together the students learn that Sean is Flippish, part Irish American and and Filipino American. The classmates start creating their own words to describe their cultural background too.

Mixed Portraits of Multiracial Kids by Kip Fulbeck

Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids by artist and photographer Kip Fulbeck makes a great gift for kids and adults alike because it portrays so many beautiful multi-racial children. Kip Fulbeck captures them as kids. He’s not highlighting their ethnic background. Accompanying each photograph is a page where each child describes himself.  Those descriptions are my favorite because they are not defined only by their race. Kip Fulbeck has done groundbreaking work on the Hapa experience. Definitely visit his website to see his other photography series.

How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R Friedman

How My Parents Learned to Eat  by Ina R Friedman is not just a love story but an evolution of how two cultures learn to eat together. Which wins out at the end: chopsticks or knife and fork? This is one of my favorite picture books about mixed race, mixed cultural families. Our family identifies with it because last night we ate dinner with chopsticks and tonight we’ll probably use forks to eat.

Thats My Mum by Henriette Barkow

In That’s My Mum by Henriette Barkow,  Kai and Mia look like their fathers, but not like their mothers. People always ask the two if they are with babysitters, when they are actually with their moms. Sound familiar? Even their classmates aren’t sure what to think. Kai and Mia try to figure out a way creative way to explain who their mother is but realized that they shouldn’t be the ones to change. Over at Language Lizard, the book is available in bilingual versions, with your choice of 19 different languages. Of course I had to share the Vietnamese version here.

Does your family have favorite books that celebrate mixed race families? Share them in the comments!

Discover more in my previous multicultural children’s books round ups.

This book contains affiliate links.

Mardi Gras Songs For Kids

Mardi Gras Songs for Kids

Mardi Gras is one week from today: Wednesday, March 4. Put on your sparkly beads and get on your dancing shoes! I’ve put together a Mardi Gras songs for kids playlist so you can have a dance party right in your living room. Because New Orleans culture is a blend of French, Canadian, American, and Carribbean cultures, you can hear those influences in its music. The music heard during Mardi Gras celebrations is no exception.

I’ve put together a YouTube playlist of well-known Mardi Gras songs (plus some other cool ones) for you:

If you’re looking to add songs or CDs to your music player, here are some that my Louisiana friends recommended:

Mardi Gras Dixieland Jazz New Orleans

You can’t go wrong with the classics in Mardi Gras Dixieland Jazz Of New Orleans. You can’t go wrong with Louis Armstrong, Muggsy Spanier and other jazz greats.

Professor Longhair Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Mardi Gras in New Orleans by Professor Longhair, one of the pioneers of New Orleans rhythm & blues. His influence can be heard in Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint and Dr. John, among many others.

Putumayo Presents World Playground

Putumayo Presents curates fantastic music collections that kids will enjoy. However, I enjoy them as much, if not more, than my kids. World Playground: A Musical Adventure for Kids has music from all over the world, including “Mardi Gras Mambo” by Buckwheat Zydeco.

I hope I’ve inspired you to bring some Louisiana Mardi Gras celebrations into your home. I’ve convinced Jaxson’s preschool teacher to hold a celebration and I plan on baking my mini king cakes to bring to his class. Maybe I’ll bring a Mardi Gras picture book to his class too. Don’t forget to buy some Mardi Gras beads. It’s never Mardi Gras unless you’re wearing beads around your neck, on your wrists, well, you get the idea.

We’re pretty excited about it in our home, especially since we learned that Smithsonian American Art Museum is hosting a Mardi Gras Family Festival this Saturday, March 1st! It’s free and open to the public.

Will you celebrate Mardi Gras with me this year?

This post contains affiliate links.

5 Mardi Gras Picture Books

 5 Mardi Gras Picture Books-I'm Not the Nanny

Even though we no longer live in Louisiana, my husband and I try to celebrate Mardi Gras with our family. Since moving away, I realized that I didn’t know as much about the holiday as I thought. Mardi Gras, French for “Fat Tuesday,” is the day before Ash Wednesday. Lent is a time of sacrifice and giving up things you love, so Louisianians would party hard up through Fat Tuesday. In Louisiana, kids even had the day off of school for Mardi Gras!

This year, Mardi Gras falls on March 4, 2014 but festivities start in January. Since we can’t attend parades to catch gorgeous beads and baubles, we can still bring the spirit of the festival to our Maryland suburban apartment. To start, I rounded up some Mardi Gras books for kids so that we can all learn about this holiday.

On Mardi Gras Day by Fatima Shaik

Though out of print, I wanted to include On Mardi Gras Day by Fatima Shaik. It’s the only book I found that shares how two children and their African-American community celebrates Mardi Gras. You can still buy it from third-party sellers on Amazon for as little as $1.00 plus shipping.

Dinosaur Mardi Gras by Dianne de Las Casas

In Dinosaur Mardi Gras by Dianne De Las Casas, learn about the unique music of Louisiana as dinosaurs dance to the Mardi Gras beat. Your kids will learn about Louisiana music and dinosaurs at the same time.

The Greentail Mouse by Leo Lionni

It’s always a delight to read Leo Lionni’s books with my kids. His illustrations make it easy for young children to follow along as you read them aloud. In  The Greentail Mouse, city mouse visits his cousins in the country and tells them about Mardi Gras in the city. Of course the country mice are inspired to put on their own Mardi Gras celebration.

Gaston Goes To Mardi Gras by James Price

Recommended by a Louisianian friend, Gaston Goes to Mardi Gras  by James Rice is a classic. Adventurous Gaston the alligator gives his readers a tour of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. My southern friends will recognize James Rice’s artwork as he did the illustrations for our childhood classic Cajun Night Before Christmas.

Today Is Monday in Louisiana by Johnette Downing

Technically not about Mardi Gras, Today Is Monday In Louisiana by songwriter Johnette Downing shares all the tasty Louisiana dishes that I miss. Louisiana food has many influences: Cajun, Creole, African, French, and even Vietnamese. This book is based off the songwriter’s song by the same title. Listen and sing along to Today Is Monday in Louisiana with Downing on Youtube.

Does your family have any favorite Mardi Gras picture books? Please share in the comments.

After you read the books, make some mini king cakes with your kids. Come back  for some Mardi Gras music!

Some of these books might be not be at your library since they are very region specific. You can easily add them to your personal collection. Sign up for a free 30-day Amazon Prime trial for free 2 Day shipping (among other perks).

This post contains affiliate links.