World Religion Day was established in the 1950s in the United States and is celebrated on the third Sunday of January. Originally created by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís, the day is used to represent the tolerance and respect for the thousands of religions practiced across the world.
For those of you who don’t know, the people of the Bahá’í faith implement many different practices into their belief system. Equality of the sexes, the balance between science and religion, and freedom from prejudice are just a few examples of what the Bahá’í people believe.
As a person who works with children, I know the importance of spreading a message similar to the ones of the Bahá’í people but I also know how difficult it can be for kids to grasp that kind of message. I’ve compiled a list of 10 children’s books perfect to help explain World Religion Day and the diversity in our world to your kiddos!
I Can Be All Three by Salima Alikhan
This is the story of a young girl who is trying to find her identity, bouncing between which of the three cultures that make up her background, she identifies with the most. In the end, she realizes she can proudly be all three. This might be a story your child can relate to or it just might be the perfect book to explain that people can be more than one culture or background, happily. The recommended age for this book is 4 to 8 years old.
Hats of Faith by Medeia Cohan
This book is perfect for introducing younger humans to different religions. It showcases the head dresses of many different faiths practiced all around the world. It teaches our kids to respect and celebrate our differences. The recommended age for this book is 2 to 4 years old.
Who Believes What? Exploring the World’s Major Religions by David Wills
If you want to go a little more in depth with your child, this is a good choice. This book goes over the world’s 5 major religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. Not only does it have wonderful illustrations displaying the different cultures and practices of others but it provides a search and find style to help your kids retain the information they are learning.
ABCs of the World’s Religions by Vicki Michela Garlock
In this book, the major faiths of the world are explored. Each letter of the alphabet is given two pages, the left side aiming more towards 4 to 5 year olds and the right being for more 5-10 year olds. For some pages, the author compares how some faiths are similar to one another, showing how connected we all really are. This would be a great addition to your kid’s library.
We Are All Connected: Caring for Each Other and the Earth by Gaby Garcia
This is such a sweet book that is written in a lyrical/poetry style. The book explains the differences between humans and how important our connections are with one another. It has vibrant colors and illustrations that help to keep your kids attention. The recommended age group is 4 to 9 years old.
The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad
This story follows the life of a little girl named Faizah. It’s her first day of school and her sister’s first day of hijab. The sisters, Faziah specifically, must find new ways to be happy when harsh words about hijab come her family’s way. This is a great book to start teaching your children the impact their words can have and the importance of respecting our differences. The recommended age for this book is 4 to 8 years old.
Diversity to Me by Marisa J. Taylor
This book follows the life of Havana, a young girl who lives in London. Throughout the story, Havana tries to teach her younger sister about diversity, about how we’re all different. She tries to highlight that despite being different, we can appreciate and be kind to one another. Not only does this book have bright illustrations to help keep your child entertained but it also has an extra coloring page to get your kids excited about reading the story! The recommended age for this book is 2 to 6 years old.
Rainbow Village by Emmi Smid
This story takes place in a town where people don’t embrace each other’s differences and live separately. When a new visitor arrives one day, things slowly change. The visitor helps the townspeople by teaching them about acceptance and kindness. At the end of the story, there is even a section for parents that will help them discuss diversity with their children. This book is recommended for children 3 years and up.
I Love Me by Laronda Gardner Middlemiss
This book displays the unique differences that people may have from one another such as cultural, racial, religious, disabilities, body types, etc. By embracing these differences, the book shows your child how to love themselves for everything that makes them different.
My Food, Your Food, Our Food by Emma Carlson Berne
Personally, I think a nice meal is the best way you can connect with others so when I saw this book I absolutely loved it. It takes the approach of using food to demonstrate to children how they can connect with others, their cultures, and how to respect the people around you. The recommended age for this book is 4 to 7 years old so I think for a child just starting in school, this would be a great book to help explain the cultural and religious differences your child and their peers may have.
Whether you’re a teacher or a parent, I know how difficult it could be to talk to your children about the topic of diversity and acceptance. As role models, we always want to make sure we’re sharing the right ideas with our kids so hopefully these books help you explain that message and help your kids retain that information!
Want to teach your children more about diversity? Click here to read more about picture books that illustrate different holiday celebrations!
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