Picturebooks are the perfect tool to learn and talk about different cultures, about emotions that you and others might feel, and to share experiences. Using picturebooks in the classroom can help create compassion and respect for different cultures. Here are some brand new releases that will add value to reading in the global classroom.

Zander Stays by Maureen Fergus, with illustrations by Scot Ritchie is the perfect book to read in the fall. Zander is a goose. And when his friends prepare to fly south for the winter, Zander decides to try something different. He stays. But when fall turns to winter he faces one hardship after another. Having to face frozen water and falling snow, he despairs about his decision until he finally meets the perfect friend. They end up having such a wonderful time together that, in spring, his returning flock decides to try something different as well. A fun story, complete with information on hibernation and adaption. ISBN 978-1-77278-296-7, Pajama Press

The Pet Store Window, Jairo Buitrago, illustrated by Rafael Yockteng. Construction in a city can have far reaching effects. When a new office tower goes up, an old building get demolished. That building housed a pet store where Ana worked, caring for a dog, a hedgehog, a mouse. They had all been there for a long time. When the store closes, displacing them all, Ana does not know what to do with the animals which have not sold to new homes. But once a friend, always a friend and Ana cares for them. Together, they end up bringing joy to more people. Translated from Spanish. ISBN 978-1-77306-459-8, Groundwood Books

Malaika’s Costume, written by Nadia L. Hohn and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher, is the story of Malaika who lives in Jamaica with her grandmother while her mother works in Canada to send money back home. Malaika misses her mom, especially at a time when she needs a carnival costume. There is no money to buy one and she refuses to wear grandmother’s old, musky costume. When a tailor gives her a bag of scrap material, Malaika and her grandmother make the most beautiful costume of all. And they send photos of Malaika as a proud peacock to her mother in Canada. Nadia L. Hohn is a Canadian author of Caribbean heritage. This picture book has a unique setting, mentioning foods and traditions that can be discussed and celebrated in the classroom. ISBN 978-1988325125, Groundwood Books

If You See a Bluebird, written by Bahram Rahman with art by Gabrielle Grimard, explores the concept of ‘home’. What is home? Is it the place you had to leave behind when war comes, like Ali from Afghanistan? During a day of picking berries, he feels homesick for Kabul as he remembers where he played. But his grandmother explains that home is where his family is safe and now lives together. Ali realizes that having his family, ánd berries, is what matters most. A good story to share and to discuss what makes you feel safe and at home. ISBN 978-1-77278-284-4, Pajama Press

Margriet Ruurs is a writer of many multicultural books for children including Where We Live. She conducts author visits in schools around the world and has openings for the 2024 school year.

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