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Susan O'Rourke | May 10, 2024

This spring, Program Coordinator Susan O’Rourke has also been reading picture books that introduce children to other cultures and spark curiosity. The books range from a trip to Paris to meet the beekeeper of Notre Dame to a walk to a market in Port-au-Prince to learn about the tradition of the panye.


The Bees of Notre-Dame (2023)

By Meghan P. Browne

Illustrated by E.B. Goodale

The Bees of Notre-Dame takes young readers on a tour of Paris as they learn about the bees who call Notre Dame home. The book teaches readers not only about the lifecycle of bees but also provides illustrations that highlight landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Bouquinistes of Paris, the Paris Métro, and the Grand Basin in the Jardin des Tuileries. The story discusses the recent fire at the cathedral and the efforts of members of the community – including beekeepers—to restore it.




Egyptian Lullaby (2023)

By Zeena M. Plisak

Illustrated by Hatem Aly

Egyptian Lullaby is told from the perspective of a young girl whose Auntie Fatma visits from Egypt. Auntie Fatma brings back the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes the protagonist, a little girl living on the West Coast of the United States, remembers from when she and her family lived in Cairo. The book asks readers to imagine the bustling and lively feeling of Cairo by taking them through the sounds of cars, market vendors, children playing, and the rushing Nile River flowing by. The book includes a glossary for the Arabic words mentioned in the text and notes from the author and illustrator about their experiences of Egyptian culture.


Kadooboo! A Silly South Indian Folktale (2024)

By Shruthi Rao

Illustrated by Darshika Varma

Kadooboo! A Silly South Indian Folktale presents the story of Kabir as he brings home kadooboo after visiting his friend Anya’s house. The book briefly describes the ingredients and cooking method Anya’s father uses to make this treat. As Kabir heads back to bring the treats to his mother, or amma, he runs into friends who join his jog home. Kabir forgets the name for the sweet treats, though, and comes up with a new name each time he sees another friend. The book includes a brief history of the South Indian treat, a recipe, and definitions of other Kannada/South Indians words used in the book.


My Day with the Panye (2021)

By Tami Charles

Illustrated by Sara Palacios

The brightly illustrated book My Day with the Panye introduces readers to Fallon, a little girl living in Port-au-Prince. As Fallon and her Manman carry the panye to the market, they pass by beautiful sights, like the colorful tap-tap and local shops of their neighborhood in Port-au-Prince and weave together French and English as they discuss the significance of their tradition—carrying the panye  to and from market. The book includes a brief history of the panye and Haitian culture.




Run, Little Chaski! An Inka Trail Adventure (2021)

By Mariana Llanos

Illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson

Run, Little Chaski! Follows the first time a young boy, Little Chaski, on his first adventure as one of the “fleet-footed couriers” of the Inka Trail. As he sets out for his first mission, Little Chaski’s family reveals the qualities embodied by Inkan chaskis. Little Chaski helps different animals native to the South America along his journey who help him when there’s an unexpected twist in his mission. The brightly illustrated book includes a glossary of Quechua words, a brief history of the Inka people, culture and empire.


Smile with African Style (Macy World)Smile with African Style (2021)

Written and illustrated by Mylo Freeman

Smile with African Style introduces readers to fashion styles, patterns, and fabrics worn by different cultures, from the Igbo people in Nigeria and the Herero people of Namibia to the Ndebele people of South Africa. The book starts out with the young protagonist Macy admiring the West African print on a dress worn by her teacher, Miss Brown. The teacher then approves of a class-wide celebration of the multiple and distinct fashions worn by people across African countries and cultures.




Zonia’s Rain Forest (2021)

By Juana Martinez-Neal

Zonia’s Rain Forest teaches young readers about the Asháninka people, “the largest Indigenous group living in the Peruvian Amazon.” The book introduces readers to Zonia’s unique Amazonian neighbors—animals that call the Amazon home—in a simply and playful way and briefly points to the need to better protect the Amazon from deforestation.