3 Picture Books About Global Holidays, Festivals, and Other Celebrations

Harvest festivals, Christmas traditions, and various other holidays from different cultures take center stage in these three picture books. Travel all around the globe while celebrating various holidays all year long.

Barnaby, Hannah. It’s Christmas Everywhere: Celebrations from Around the World. illus. by João Fazenda. 26p. Phaidon. Oct. 2022. Board $19.95. ISBN 9781838665395.
PreS-Gr 1 –A tree-shaped board book. One half is a countdown to Christmas poem; the other is mostly informational text about Christmas tree traditions around the world. The poem begins, “Ten days until Christmas!/ How I wish I could be/ Not just a plain pine,/ But a real Christmas tree.” What follows is a series of visits from friends bearing ornaments representative of nine different cultures. By the time Christmas Day dawns, piñatas from Mexico, cobwebs from Ukraine, boats from Greece, and seashells from “countries like Australia, Brazil and South Africa,” among others, adorn the tree in its wintry forest setting. The poem unfolds on the verso, while a cursory explanation of the culturally significant ornament is offered on the recto. The tree on each page is illustrated either with a scene from the featured country or with children placing the representative ornaments on the narrating tree. The digitally created artwork is joyful and includes children with diverse skin tones and hairstyles. Bright colors and forest animals add to the lighthearted tone. The book contains magnetic pages that offer a free-standing, decorative option when it is not being read. The unique design will interest some readers, and preschoolers will enjoy the poem and artwork. The informational text can be used as an introduction to exploring holiday traditions. VERDICT An additional purchase for libraries in need of Christmas nonfiction.–Lynn Van Auken

DePalma, Kate. Harvest Days: Giving Thanks Around the World. illus. by Martina Peluso. 40p. (World of Celebrations: Bk. 3). Barefoot. Sept. 2022. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781646866267; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781646866274.
Gr 1-3 –This picture book includes the harvest celebrations of 11 countries from around the world. Each page contains four rhyming sentences that introduce a festival to readers. The name of the festival is given in the language of the culture, and then a pronunciation is provided. A window in the bottom corner of each spread provides a detail or fact. The simple style of the illustrations gives cultural uniqueness to each group, while still achieving a unified effect: what the people are wearing, eating, making, and doing is showcased in each selection. Back matter contains a calendar of all the festivals featured, information about harvest season presented in a Q&A format, questions for readers, and more detail about each event. Library shelves are full of books on this topic; this one is different because it discusses celebrations in countries that are not typically represented, such as Iran and Liberia, and the illustrations provide accurate details that will engage young readers and facilitate interesting discussion. VERDICT The combination of harvest celebrations that occur in different countries at different times of the year makes this book distinctive and worth purchasing.–Peggy Henderson Murphy

Soundar, Chitra. We All Celebrate! illus. by Jenny Bloomfield. 32p. Tiny Owl. Sept. 2022. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781910328897.
Gr 3-5 –This nonfiction picture book introduces and explores celebrations and ­holidays from around the world. It begins with an overview of how history and ­geography relate to the celebrations. The book is then broken up into seasons and gives a great deal of information on diverse celebrations from all over the globe. In some cases, the celebrations are well known, while others are less familiar. Each season begins with a short introduction, and then each celebration includes a brief history, the country of origin, activities that take place during it, and vocabulary that directly relates to it. Soundar includes ­religious and secular holidays and festivals from all over the world. The information is accompanied by vivid illustrations that draw readers into the celebrations, adding another dimension to the experience. Text and illustrations work together to give an impressive amount of information without being overwhelming. The details included in this book could aid in formal educational settings as well as informal reading ­opportunities. Specific terminology, such as sumac, samanu, vasilopita, and Sufganiyot, provides further learning opportunities, but the book lacks a pronunciation guide and glossary. ­VERDICT This collection of diverse celebrations is a welcome addition to a library’s holiday collection.–Katie Loomis

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