holiday read aloud books girl reading with bear

Young students are fascinated by learning about the different cultures of the world and who doesn’t love a good holiday? Bring these authentic, beautiful read aloud books into your classroom to share the differences that make us all special. The 13 read aloud books vary in genre, are nonfiction, as well as fictional stories, that can be incorporated into your classrooms easily. 

Read Aloud Books that Celebrate Holidays Around the World

Take a look at the descriptions and choose the best fit for you! Enjoy your trip around the world with these 13 read aloud books to celebrate holidays around the world!

Diwali by Trudi Strain Trueit 

(Rookie Read-About Holidays)

This beautiful book uses real life photos and simple texts to engage students in learning about Diwali, a celebration of Hindu and Sikh religions. 

This one hails from Scholastic so use those Scholastic points to grab this one quick and painlessly! If you like the style of this book, take a look at other ones in the series “Rookie Read-About Holidays.”

Cinco de Mayo
by Mary Dodson Wade

(Rookie Read-About Holidays)

Another “Rookie Read-About Holidays” worth checking out is Cinco de Mayo to help students learn all about the Mexican battle of freedom in 1861 that Cinco de Mayo is all about. 


Since this is another one in the “Rookie Read-About Holidays” series, you will get real photographs with simple text to help students delve into nonfiction, but also learn about the holiday!

Diwali (Celebrate the World)

by Hannah Eliot

Here is another one about Diwali, but this board book is beautifully illustrated and goes through the preparation for Diwali and the 5 day celebration. The pictures are engaging and the story is easy to follow for younger students. 

Ruby’s Chinese New Year
by Vickie Lee

This is an adorable story of Ruby trying to bring her grandmother a card for the Chinese New Year. Ruby gets some help from the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac bringing a playfulness to the book as well as some more cultural relevance!

How to Catch a Dragon

by Adam Wallace

This is part of the bestselling series, How to Catch… and this book lives up to its reputation! The children that appear in the other How to Catch books are at it again and this time running through a Chinese New Year festival!

 The fun rhythm of the book makes it great for a read aloud, with specific vocabulary related to the holiday highlighted to review with students. How to Catch a Dragon would be great for all ages!

Sam and the Lucky Money

by Karen Chinn

Sam is a young boy living in urban, American Chinatown during the Chinese New Year. This story incorporates all the important cultural elements of the Chinese New Year, focusing on the very important red envelopes and the lucky money, but also combines those elements with a terrific theme and a great plot to follow. 

A quick preview: Sam runs into a homeless man while shopping to use his money and will later remember the homeless man when it comes to his lucky money! Combine this book with a reading workshop lesson to really make a powerful statement about thoughtfulness.

Tomten Saves Christmas

by Linda Liebrand

A story of the Swedish Tomten, or farm gnome from Swedish folklore, combined with a great plot and characters to hook students into the culture and story. 

Grumpy old Farm Tomten and his cousin Yule Tomten must come together to save Christmas, but it isn’t easy when Grumpy old Farm Tomten wants nothing to do with the Christmas celebration. There is so much richness within this story and a lesson to be learned! Combining this with nonfiction about the folklore of the Tomten would be a great project.

Hannah’s Christmas

by Melissa Iwai

This story also celebrates the Tomten and Swedish Christmas, but Hannah, the main character, moves with her family from Sweden to America and she is desperately missing her grandmother and her life in Sweden.

This could be a great book to connect with immigration and continuing to continue to celebrate cultures even in new places. Hannah ends up getting a mischievous Tomten and he helps her start to appreciate her new life in America. This has a great plot to follow and illustrations that are truly beautiful.

A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas

by Pat Mora 

What a cute book this one is! This book follows the song about the twelve days of Christmas, but substitutes each of the parts of the song with something special to Latin America.

The story combines Spanish and English words making it even more special for students that either speak Spanish, are bilingual or are learning Spanish!                                                                                  

‘Twas Nochebuena

by Roseanne Greenfield Thong

Here is another twist on a classic! This story shares Latino traditions, songs and food as the family is preparing the night before Christmas! This book also combines Spanish words and celebrates Latin Christmas culture.

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story

by Angela Shelf Medearis

This wonderful story takes place in Africa where seven brothers are set to complete a seemingly impossible task after the death of their father. Included in their task is using the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

The characters must come together to work as a family and a community to overcome the challenge. This book has so much to discuss between cultural traditions, Kwanzaa, but also family relationships and the importance of working together.

bear licking lady with menorah in front.

Hanukkah Bear

by Eric A. Kimmel 

Oh my cuteness! This book is so adorable. This is a tale of a bear that wakes from his hibernation to the smell of latkes cooking. 


Bubba Brayna welcomes the bear in because she doesn’t see well and thinks he is her rabbi!  When everyone arrives, they come together to discover who really ate all the latkes! This book has a tone of humor and playfulness, includes a traditional latke recipe and has some extra information about Hanukkah provided by the author!

Holidays Around the World

by Caolyn Otto

If you are looking for a series of informational books about different cultures and holidays, this is the series for you.


There is Celebrate Chinese New Year, Celebrate Kwanzaa, Celebrate Hanukkah, Celebrate Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur. These could be great for read alouds. Students can really understand each of the holidays!

Reading aloud is an incredible way to engage students in learning about new topics. Choose just a few of these read aloud books or choose them all! Just jump in to celebrate holidays around the world with your students!

 If you are looking for some more read aloud books focused more on the theme of winter. Check out my other blog post here

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