Reading with children

a blog by Magic Tales

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A Journey Through Pages: Exploring Play in Different Cultures Through Children's Books

As we turn the pages of various children's books, we find ourselves embarking on countless journeys. We encounter different landscapes, characters, and most importantly, discover diverse ways of thinking and existing. One of the intriguing aspects we come across is the concept of 'play' and how it is perceived and explored in different cultures.

Play - A Universal Phenomenon

'Play', an essential part of childhood, is indeed a universal phenomenon. Filled with laughter, curiosity and exploration, it is imperative to a child's development. However, the ways children play can vary significantly based on their cultural backgrounds. It's wonderful how children's literature can give us a peek into these fascinating playgrounds around the world.

Exploring Play in Diverse Cultures through Children's Books

'Anusha of Prospect Corner' by A. M. Blair, for instance, reimagines the classic 'Anne of Green Gables' and follows a Sri-Lankan-American girl's experiences. The story incorporates traditional South Asian games, providing an insight into a different playground where play merges with culture and tradition.

Another remarkable take on cultural play is in 'A Single Shard' by Linda Sue Park, set in 12th century Korea. Through the journey of an orphan boy who aspires to be a potter, children are exposed to ancient Korean games and the country's rich heritage.

The beauty of African play is enchantingly depicted in 'Anna Hibiscus’ Song' by Atinuke. The story captures the essence of communal play in African societies and how it intertwines with daily life.

'The Storyteller's Candle' by Lucia Gonzalez captures how play can also take the form of storytelling sessions, as seen in many Latino cultures. The book also brings forth the idea of indoor games to life, offering a striking contrast to the mainstream notion of outdoor play.

Understanding the Impact

Children’s books that successfully weave cultural nuances within play allow our children not only to appreciate diversity but also to understand the universality of childhood. As readers, these narratives empower us to realize that while we may play differently because of our cultural backgrounds, the joy, creativity and spontaneity encapsulated in 'play' are universally shared attributes of childhood.


Exploring play through different cultures in children's books bridges gaps and fosters understanding. So, as we flick through the vibrant pages of these books, let's embrace the diverse depictions of play with an open heart and encourage our children to join in the journey.

Remember, every page turned is a step taken on the bridge that connects us globally, celebrating the intertwined threads of childhood and the delightful spirit of play in every corner of the world.

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