World Holidays for Kids: Books, Movies & More

Are you interested in helping your children become “global citizens”? The holidays are a nice time to enjoy our own traditions while exploring others, too.

world holidays

By the Kids’ Media Experts at SmartFeed

The winter season offers the perfect backdrop for introducing your kids to holidays celebrated by different cultures, both in the United States and abroad. And media can provide us with a window into their varied and colorful traditions.

Here is a collection of books, along with a few other media treats (a movie, TV show, and app) that will help your children broaden their horizons and learn more about others who share our planet. Enjoy these titles with your kids, and you all may learn something new!

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Books About Favorite Holidays From Around the World

DiwaliLet’s Celebrate Diwali
Ages 3+
Diwali, or the festival of lights, is celebrated around the world. This book explores the different traditions and customs of many different groups. The colorful illustrations make this an especially engaging read.

AmmaAmma, Tell Me About Holi!
Ages 4+
This colorful tale shares the story of the Hindu holiday of Holi, using colorful pictures and simple rhymes to make it easily understood by children.

 

CelebrateCelebrate: A Book of Jewish Holidays
Ages 4+
This book is a terrific introduction to the traditions and stories behind many of the Jewish holidays.

 

OskarOskar and the Eight Blessings
Ages 4+
As a refugee from Nazi Germany, Oskar finds the people of New York to be kind and giving on a day that is both the seventh night of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve. The people’s warm welcome shows Oskar that there is love and compassion in the world still.

RamadanUnder the Ramadan Moon
Ages 4+
In this picture book, a family’s month-long celebration of Ramadan is connected to the moon’s movement. The giving, sharing, praying, and caring for others that occurs during the month is beautifully conveyed.

 

Day-of-the-DeadDay of the Dead
Ages 5+
Brightly colored illustrations and detailed descriptions draw the reader into the preparations, foods, and celebration of the Day of the Dead.

 

Egg-TreeThe Egg Tree
Ages 5+
One grandmother’s childhood tradition of an Easter Egg tree is discovered by her grandchildren, who are quick to embrace the custom themselves. This winner of the Caldecott Medal is a true classic.

 

MarcoMarco’s Cinco de Mayo
Ages 5+
Narrated from the perspective of a young dancer in a Cinco de Mayo parade, this book brings the holiday and its history to life.

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holidays_around_the_worldHolidays Around the World: Celebrate Chinese New Year
Ages 6+
With over a billion people celebrating Chinese New Year worldwide, it’s a great idea to learn about the food, gifts, visiting, and celebration that are key to this holiday.

 

Seven_spoolsSeven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story
Ages 6+
The seven principles of Kwanzaa are brought to life through the story of seven brothers in an African village. When their father dies, they must cooperate and make gold from seven spools of thread. As they work together, they learn to value each other and their community.

 

A Movie About Favorite Holidays From Around the World

The_Black_CandleThe Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration
Ages 9+
This documentary, filmed around the world, explores the African-American experience, both the triumphs and sorrows. Of particular focus is the Kwanzaa holiday, which now is celebrated by over 40 million people.

 

A TV Show About Favorite Holidays From Around the World

RugratsRugrats Holiday Collection
Ages 6+
Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah get the Rugrats treatment in this holiday special.

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An App About Favorite Holidays From Around the World

My-MenorahMy Menorah
Ages 2+
A fully featured Hanukkah app with a menorah to light, a dreidel game, songs, and some foundational Hebrew. Included are “Eight Days of Happiness” tips for parents on teaching children about the meaning and traditions behind the holiday and expressing appreciation for the miracle of the oil lasting eight nights.

About Linsly Donnelly

A mom of three, Linsly Donnelly is the CEO and founder of SmartFeed, a free resource to help you find media you’ll approve and your kids will love. She and the SmartFeed team thrive on using the power of media as a positive force for our children. Linsly is also a startup veteran (Joann.com, Wine.com, Red.com, YogaLoftMB) and published author of Happy Go Local: The Smart Mom’s Guide to Living the Good (and Sustainable) Life! She and her family divide their time between Mill Valley, Calif., and Park City, Utah.