India has a rich culture and heritage. However, in the current urban setup, children are growing up being more influenced by western culture, despite the best effort from parents.
One of the ways to introduce a touch of culture is through books.
While the festivals are definitely an integral part of the culture, the true essence of India lies in things everyday Indian – food habits, markets, human interaction.
Also Read: Best Indian Mythology books for Kids
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11 Children’s Books about Indian Culture
The below books do excellent jobs in bringing out some of the best things about India and being Indian. Written in the form of stories and kid-friendly language, they are sure to strike a chord.
Amma Tell Me About Raksha Bandhan!
Bhakti Mathur (Author)
This is not a usual Raksha Bandhan storybook, rather it touches all the important aspects of Rakshabandhan. It even has a story about how Rabindranath Tagore used this festival to bring unity. A book about Indian culture and festivals and all good sides of it. A must for modern children. Check more in Amazon.
Author Bhakti Mathur captured the young hearts and minds with her series of Amma Tell Me About books where she covers Indian culture, festivals, Mythology extensively. Entire Amma Tell Me About Series books can be found here.
Large Print: Festivals of India
Om Books Editorial Team (Author)
Teaching children about culture is very difficult in today’s modern family setup. This beautifully illustrated book narrates 25 of the most widely celebrated festivals from the diverse regions and religions of India. The descriptions are detailed and yet simple and interesting enough for a child. Colorful pictures complement the stories beautifully. Ideal for age group 5 to 8. Or you can even read it to your younger child. Check more in Amazon.
The Clever Tailor
Srividhya Venkat (Author)
A story about an everyday Indian found in any locality – tailor! The Clever Tailor is a book with a touch of Indian culture, for multi-cultured children. The story very subtly touches many things rooted in Indian cultures – to minimize waste, give importance to family, always find a way to make things work – all globally relevant messages. The bonus is the new Hindi words one can learn in the story! Check details in Amazon.
The Wednesday Bazaar (Karadi Tales)
Neha Singh (Author)
This charming book is not your usual in your face culture. Rather it brings out the essence of India in a very different way – something which every Indian child growing in a small village experiences. There is an animal friend, a man who walks in the air, and of course Indian Bazar. A lovely warm story for city children, set in an Indian summer. Check details in Amazon.
The Diwali Gift
Shweta Chopra (Author), Shuchi Mehta (Author)
No talk about Indian culture can be completed without the mention of Diwali. And what better way to pique a child’s interest than a book on gifts! This book manages to capture the festival spirit of children in a charming story. Join the 3 Curious Monkeys Suno, Dekho, and Jaano as they discover mysterious Diwali Gift!
It even has a mention of video conferencing with Dadi, something today’s children can easily relate to. Suitable for age 2 and up, while early readers can read this beautifully illustrated book by themselves. Check details in Amazon.
Srividhya Venkat (Author)
A story about the Indian pickle, a small child and her grandmother. What not to love! Books like this bring back childhood and growing up memories for all Indians. This story gives a chance to the young children of today’s age to experience a slice of that culture. The Rhyming of Dippy Dip and Licky Lick will stay with your child long after the story gets over. Perfect for children of any age group. Check details in Amazon.
The Vedas and Upanishads for Children
Roopa Pai (Author)
Author Roopa Pai needs no introduction in Indian Children’s literature. This book on ancient Indian wisdom is a worthy successor to her award-winning book- The Gita for Children. This book is written for children aged 9 and above, but even adults can enjoy this book.
With easy and conversational writing style and modern language, Pai captures the essence of Ancient India. What a simple way to represent ancient Indian texts and wisdom! A must for your child’s book collection! Check more in Amazon.
Thukpa for All
Praba Ram (Author), Sheela Preuitt (Author)
This book brings the cultures from Ladakh valley, a northern mountain territory of India. A boy invites all his neighbors and friends for the delicious thukpa being prepared for his grandmother. The boy is visually challenged, but the reader does not feel it. Neither does that stop the boy from going on with his life like any other normal kid.
What more, when the power goes off, it is only the visually impaired kid who can help his grandmother effortlessly. The story really opens the reader’s eye to the extra potential a perceived physically challenged person holds! A story set in the culture of neighborhood, friendliness, helping families, fun, laughter, loving animals. An all-inclusive culture story – rooted in essential Indian-ness. Check more in Amazon.
Discover India: Culture, Food and People
Sonia Mehta (Author)
Explore the Indian food, cultures, traditions as Daadu Dolma, Mishki, and Pushka set out to explore India. Well researched content penned down in age-appropriate language. You can find a mention of everything Indian in this book – from music and dance, clothing style to rituals, etc. Bright, beautiful pictures make this book a delight to read. While middle graders can read this book all by themselves, parents can read out the stories to the younger children. Check details in Amazon
Good Night India
Nitya Khemka (Author)
A board book on Indian culture for the toddlers! It highlights popular tourist places, forests, animals in artistic illustration. A soothing board book that can be used during bedtime storytelling for younger children. There are very few words on each page, which provides creative freedom to the reader to talk about their favorite places in their own way. A delightful entry-level cultural book for an introduction to India. Check details in Amazon