What kids' books are must-reads in your country?
July 16, 2016 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Seeking popular children's books from outside US/UK/Germany! For small kids.

As a non-English kid,I soaked up a lot of English culture from books like the Mr. Men books, the Narnia series etc: books that every British child has read at some point. Now I'm seeking children's classics from OTHER cultures and countries.

Particularly interested in books from outside Western Europe and the US. But everything outside German and English classics will do.

They don't need to be highbrow! Just books every kid in your country knows and likes.

Also, must be accessible in English via Amazon.

posted by Omnomnom to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
in chile "the" timeless classic seems to be papelucho. i have never read it myself and have no idea how suitable it would be for current children, but afaik it's still in press.
posted by andrewcooke at 1:01 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Kiwi classics:
Picture books: the Hairy Macleary books by Lynley Dodd.
Slightly older kids: anything by Margaret Mahy.
Teenagers: Under the Mountain by Maurice Gee.

All English speakers should be reading these regardless of nationality.
posted by shelleycat at 1:20 PM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Oh, this will help: a dairy is a corner shop. And "Hairy Macleary from Donaldson's dairy" rhymes.
posted by shelleycat at 1:22 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's still Western European, but Holland has the Nijntje (Miffy) books.

In Canada, though the target audience skews a little older (preteen, really), there is Gordon Korman and Eric Wilson.
posted by 256 at 1:27 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, and Robert Munsch! Is he a thing in the U.S.? I don't even know.
posted by 256 at 1:28 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh. Apparently it's spelled Hairy Maclary.
posted by shelleycat at 1:45 PM on July 16, 2016

In Brazil: Meu pe de Laranja Lima (My Sweet Orange Tree) By José Mairo de Vascomcelis.
posted by SyraCarol at 2:25 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Some Canadian nominees
The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier, or at least the NFB film.
Not sure it's as funny if you aren't Canadian, there a lot of subtext...

Cremation of Sam McGee (poem by the child rush poet, Robert Service) illustrated by Ted Harrison... although it's a bit creepy!

Paper Bag Princess, and probably everything else by Robert Munsch
posted by chapps at 3:12 PM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Not Canadian but what about moomentrolls?
Known to me through Swedish friends.
posted by chapps at 3:39 PM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

oh, sorry - just seen the "must be available in english" rider (was wondering why so few comments here). apparently papelucho was printed in english and in english/spanish bilingual, but i can find neither on amazon, sorry.
posted by andrewcooke at 3:54 PM on July 16, 2016

Possum Magic by Mem Fox as an Australian contribution. Well pretty much any of her books.

Also Storm Boy by Colin Thiele or some of is oh so many his other books. I am partial to this book as I used to live where it was set until I moved to the US a few years ago. Storm Boy was also made into a great movie but if you have sensitive kids it does have a super sad ending.

Playing Beatty Bow by Ruth Park (or any of her other books).

Blinky Bill by Dorothy Wall

Snugglepot & Cuddlepie by May Gibbs

The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay

Oh & Don't forget Jackie Frenches Kids books (she also does some gardening books so make sure to read the blurb before ordering).

And to save me just listing off every Australian Author I loved as a kid this list has some great suggestions.
posted by wwax at 5:22 PM on July 16, 2016 [5 favorites]

As a child/preteen in the Netherlands (in the 1980s) some classics were:
Annie M. G. Schmidt - 'Jip and Janneke' and 'Tow Truck Pluk'.
Thea Beckman - 'Crusade in Jeans'
Paul Biegel - 'The Gardens of Dorr' and 'The King of the Copper Mountains'.

I also read a lot of Astrid Lindgren books, of Pippi Longstockings fame; but you likely already read these in German translation? My favourites were 'Ronia the Robber's Daughter' and 'The Brothers Lionheart'.

And as a teenager in New Zealand, I can firmly second shelleycat's recommendations. I love everything by Margaret Mahy.
posted by yesbut at 7:41 PM on July 16, 2016

Adding to the New Zealand collection for younger kids: my cat likes to hide in boxes.
posted by gaspode at 9:43 PM on July 16, 2016

Although it's French, The Little Prince is a favorite for children in Brazil - beautiful little book.
posted by LingeringMoon at 2:56 AM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

In India, at least in West Bengal where my family is from, the classic children's book is The Panchatantra (there are a million different versions). I also had children's versions of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata -- again, lots of different ones, the ones I grew up with were by C. Rajagopalachari.
posted by chickenmagazine at 1:20 PM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Mrs Pepperpot is a classic (perhaps slightly old fashioned!) Norwegian children's book hero - I read all her stories as a kid in the UK.
posted by AFII at 2:51 PM on July 17, 2016

Annue Schmidt is, according to Wikipedia, the queen of Dutch children's literature. I've only read the brilliant Tow-Truck Pluck, but it won't be available on Amazon until next year. But many of her other books are available.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:06 AM on July 18, 2016

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