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16 Inspiring Books for Kids set in Asia

Are you looking for inspiring illustrated books set in Asia? We compiled a list of some books we've enjoyed, and we believe you will like them too. These are also books I feel will appeal as a family read-aloud. Let's travel with kids to Asia through books and learn about that magnificent and diverse part of our beautiful world.

1. I live in Tokyo




A heartwarming picture book about a Japanese child's everyday life in Tokyo: it teaches the Japanese culture and discusses holidays and traditions common to Japan.

I provide a glimpse of what it is like to live in japan and how the main character's family celebrates different holidays.

2. The Firekeeper's son



The story is set in the 1800s and based upon an actual bonfire signal system. It tells the story of a young Korean boy Sang-hee and his father, the firekeeper who has an important role of lightning a fire signaling to the palace that all is well and that there was no invasion. But if no fire was lit, the king would know to send soldiers. One day his father is injured, and the young boy faces two choices, each which a consequence. To learn more, get your copy.

3. The Great Race: The story of the Chinese Zodiac




In this lovely illustrated book, we learned the legend of how the Chinese calendar came into being and the reason in which order they've been placed, and how the Jade Emperor decides that he will name each year in the calendar after a different animal.

4. Hush! A Thai Lullaby




A rhythmic Thai Lullaby bedtime story that children around the world will love.

This is the story of a mother in Thailand trying to get the surrounding world quiet so that her baby can sleep. It is Perfect for 2-5

5. Tales told in tents




12 tales from central Asia. There is a beautiful map at the back of the book, and we like how the author talked about how she collected the stories.

6. One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical folktale



This is a brilliant mathematical folktale from India of a girl named Rani, who outwits a greedy Raja who has hoarded reserves of rice grown by her village. She tricks him into doing the right thing for people from her village. We like it because it addresses the magic of numbers beautifully and does a great job explaining exponential growth. It also addresses social justice issues and how to be considerate of others.

7. Lady Hahn and her 7 friends




A lovely story about a seamstress and her seven sewing tools. It does a great job of teaching humility and showing the importance of everyone's talents. An engaging story about friendship

8. Zen Shorts





Beautifully watercolor illustrated book. Zen Shorts tells the story of three siblings who encounter Stillwater, a mysterious Panda with a red umbrella, in their back yard. The Panda teaches each child one lesson relates to their lives. It is profound and beautiful.

9. When Spring comes to the DMZ




It is a bittersweet story set in the 2.5 miles (4 km)-wide demilitarized zone ( DMZ) between South Korea and North Korea. It evokes peace and beauty amid the military. It is a conversation starter regarding the divide of both countries. You will learn about an older man who goes periodically to the lookout on the South Korean side to look at his old home in the north.

10. Little Sap and Monsieur Rodin




The story of Little Sap, a poor Cambodian girl, and her journey to become one of the Royal Dancers of Cambodia. She is chosen with some of her peers to perform in France, where she meets Auguste Rodin, a 19th-century French artist most known for his sculpture "The Thinker." Rodin selects Little Sap and two other dancers to sketch. The central theme of the story is the value of persistence, hard work, and confidence in oneself.

11. Twenty-two cents: Muhammad Yunus and the village bank




An inspiring picture book biography of economist Muhammad Yunus, who was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Grameen Bank and its policies of microcredit banking. The four principles of the Grameen Bank - discipline, unity, courage, and hard work;

An important story about microloans in Bangledesh told through lovely images and informative. A great book for introducing kids to breaking free from the cycle of poverty. It is also an inspirational message of how one person can improve the world.

12. The Gifts of Wali: A Tale of India and Pakistan



We loved this book because it teaches readers about giving back and being thankful for the simple things in life.

This is the story of a man who lives in a hut and enjoys his simple life. One day, he buys a lovely bracelet as a gift to the queen of Khaistan, and he gets more than he asked in return.

Get your copy to learn what happens next.

13. My Freedom Trip



This is the true story of the authors' mother escaping from North Korea when she was a little girl, right before the Korean War started in 1950. This story is about the daughter's journey, her sadness about being separated from her mother and father, and the danger of being intercepted by North Korean soldiers. It is a beautiful, sad, and hopeful tale all wrapped up in one. Deeply moving story of one family attempting to reach freedom

14. Sumo Joe



An action-packed book about Joe and his friends, aspiring sumo wrestlers, regularly practice at Joe's house. And his younger sister, who wants to participate in a male-only sport. There is also info about sumo wrestling and techniques.


15. Buddhist Tales





This collection of thirteen folktales is taken from the Burmese, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Tibetan traditions and focuses on stories that reveal a particular Buddhist teaching.

16. Grandfather's journey





This book is a wonderful story of a man torn between his love for two countries and how he wanted to see the world.

It follows Allen Say's grandfather from a young man immigrating to the US and returning to Japan. It shows how he became homesick for the other as soon as he was in one country.



If you know of any other interesting illustrated books for kids set in the Middle East, please share with us, we would love to know about it too. And don’t forget to comment below and share your favorite reads! For more posts like this don’t forget to subscribe and share the Traveler Butterfly Love!






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