What to Read: Children’s Books About India

Are you building a reading list to help your kids learn about India? You’re in luck. We’ve got a fun list of children’s books about India to share with you today.

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I didn’t expect to be searching for books about India after my 9 year old finished her recent Explore India box from KiwiCo, but creating beautiful rangoli art, playing snakes and ladders, and exploring the rest of the box had her wanting to learn more about the geography, culture, and history of India. That’s how this book list about India was born.

Children’s Books about India

Before we jump into this list, keep in mind that the descriptions below all include Amazon links. If you’d prefer to support independent booksellers through your purchases, know that you can find the same list of books through this Bookshop.org list

1.Illustrated Atlas of India

I like DK’s Illustrated Atlas of India for a starting point when studying India with children. Using lots of maps, infographics, and photos, it digs into the culture, history, and people in each Indian state and territory.

2. T is for Taj Mahal 

Letter by letter, T is for Taj Mahal explores the history, people, and places significant in Indian culture. This book is full of interesting illustrations and even contains a short, but insightful background on every featured letter spotlight.

If you can’t find this one, consider P is for Poppadoms. It’s similar in concept and format and also provides a fun overview of Indian culture.

3. Where Is the Taj Mahal?

Speaking of the Taj Mahal, Where Is the Taj Mahal? from the Who Was…? series can help kids learn the history of this world-famous building.

4.  Living in … India

Living in … India also provides a nice overview of India’s geography, culture, and history. One especially nice thing about this one is that it’s a Level 2 reader. This makes it a good fit for younger attention spans and newer readers.

5. Same, Same, but Different

A quick, yet insightful read, this picture book about pen pals explores the similarities and differences in the lives of an American boy and an Indian boy.

6. Grandfather Gandhi

A good picture book to introduce Mahatma Gandhi and his ideas, this one shares lessons learned while Arun Gandhi spent time with his Grandfather Gandhi in Sevagram, India.

7. Festival of Colors

You’re probably not surprised to learn that Festival of Colors is a bright and cheerful picture book explaining preparations for Holi, the Indian festival of colors. However, there’s more to it than vibrant illustrations and easy-to-read text. It also has an authors’ note that explains the festival, preparations, and the customs involved with the celebration.

In addition to reading Festival of Colors to learn about Holi, consider reading The Story of Diwali: Rama & Sita or Lots of Lights for some kid-friendly background on the festival of light.

8. The Secret Kingdom

The Secret Kingdom tells the story of folk artist Nek Chand and the Rock Garden of Chandigarh. Written by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by Claire Nivola, this one is a great way to explore conservation, 20th century India, and Indian culture.

9. The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk

With its familiar rhyme patterns and bright illustrations, The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk is a fun way to visit the streets of India without leaving home. If you’ve got younger kiddos, they’re likely to love this one!

Related: My First Amazing Journey Around the World: A Fun and Practical Way to Teach Elementary Geography

10. Monsoon

Uma Krishnaswami’s Monsoon invites readers to walk through urban India and experience the anticipation of the rainy season and the relief that comes with it. If you can’t find it, look for Monsoon Afternoons. It focuses on the season itself rather than the anticipation of the rainy season.

11. My Dadima Wears a Sari

My Dadima Wears a Sari is one of my favorites on this list of children’s books about India. Technically it’s not about India, but it does a lovely job exploring customs from generation to generation in one Indian family.

Also by Kashmira Sheth, Sona and the Wedding Game is a lovely book. Similar in style to My Dadima Wears a Sari, this one explores Indian wedding customs.

12. Folk Stories

Folk stories are always a rich way to learn about different places and customs, so I’m excited to close this list with these collections of beloved stories from India:

What about you? Do you have anything you’d add to this list of children’s books about India? Tell us about it in the comments below. 

Are you building a reading list to help your kids learn about India? You’re in luck. We’ve got a fun list of children’s books about India to share with you today.

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