Creative Child

Around the World in Four Bedtime Stories

by Erin J. Bernard on Dec 28th, 2015

Do you dream of traveling the globe with your child in tow? Plane tickets cost a pretty penny and boats are oh so slow, but don’t give up on those adventuring ambitions just yet! Take your child on a wondrous intercontinental voyage any night of the week by picking up one of these multicultural bedtime stories, curated from lands near and far. Bon Voyage! 

Spain: “Djabali and Andalu” written by Corine Timmer and illustrated by Kristina Muñoz

Roam the countryside of Southwestern Spain in the company of “Djabali,” a wild baby boar who embarks on a fantastic adventure after becoming separated from his family. As he wanders, Djabali meets plenty of new friends, including a serious magpie named Koke and a perky-eared hunting dog called Andalu. If your kids are bilingual, or you’re just interested in exposing them to a bit of Spanish or Portuguese, you can also pick up alternate-language versions of this whimsical book.  

Uganda: “Beatrice’s Goat,” written by Page McBrier and illustrated by Lori Lohstoeter

Inspire older kids to aim high with the true story of Beatrice, an African girl whose family can’t afford to send her to school — until she is given a brown-and-white goat named “Mugisa” (meaning luck) and her life changes forever. By selling the goat’s milk, Beatrice is able to raise enough money to fund her education and to lift her family from poverty. With rich illustrations and an empowering message of hard work and hope, this book will inspire your little ones to chase even the loftiest-seeming dreams. 

China: “The Story about Ping,” written by Marjorie Flack and illustrated by Kurt Wiese

This colorful children’s book has been popular with pint-sized adventure lovers for coming up on a century, now, and its simple story continues to captivate little readers. Follow along as Ping, a trailblazing duck who makes his home aboard a boat on the Yangtze River, embarks on an unexpected and sometimes-perilous adventure. One day on the riverbank, Ping dawdles while plumbing the waters for fish to eat, and his family returns home to the evening’s roost without him. Trouble strikes when Ping is captured by a little boy in search of a meal for his own family’s dinner table. Will Ping escape and find his way back to his family? 

Brazil: “How Night Came from the Sea,” written by Mary-Joan Gerson and illustrated by Carla Golembe

If your child is afraid of the dark, sooth those bedtime fears with the folk tale of an African sea goddess who gave to the world the precious gift of night. This traditional myth takes place long ago, when time had just begun and early humans lived in a world of eternal daylight. A goddess emerges from the sea to marry a land-dwelling man, but she grows lonely for the “dark, cool blanket” of the night. What happens when a bag of night is retrieved from the underwater depths and unleashed upon the daylight world? Your little one will never look at starlight the same way again!

Related Article: 10 Books Even the Most Stubborn Sons Won’t Be Able to Resist

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Erin J. Bernard is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer from Portland, Oregon. Before becoming a writer, Erin worked as a nanny and an ESL classroom teacher. She taught English at a Montessori school in Mexico and then ran an after-school language program in South Korea. Erin is the editor of the parenting guide, “Instructions Not Included: A Pediatrician’s Prescription for Raising the Best Kids on the Block,” written by Irwin H. Berkowitz, MD.

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