Multicultural Snow Day Reading List: Top Five Picks

A snow day may mean working from home, wrangling restless kids, or a long binge-watching session online. An earlier blog post mentioned that a snow day can also present the perfect opportunity to bond with family members and even create a family book club. If you decide to go the reading route for your snow day, here are some books that will keep you and your kids captivated indoors.

While winter can put a stop to hiking and other outdoor activities, this list of creative fiction and nonfiction will ensure that you are able to explore countries and cultures from around the world. Make sure to get cozy. Take your favorite book, make a cup of cocoa, and take a seat by the window where you can watch the snow falling. Here are the top five picks for your snow day reading list:

1. Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai (2-5 years)

This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala’s story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times. As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, and sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grows older, Malala learns that her pencil does not need to have magical properties for her to change the world.

2. The Sandwich Swap by Rania Al Abdullah, Kelly DiPucchio (4-7 years)

This lively children’s book depicts protagonists, Salma and Lily, best friends at school. Soft watercolour spreads show the girls drawing pictures and playing in the schoolyard, until one day Lily blurts out that Salma’s pita bread and hummus sandwich looks kind of yucky, and Salma says the same about her friend’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A crossfire ensues among the students, ending when Salma and Lily discover that trying new things can result in positive experiences.

3. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortinson and Sara Thomson (9-16 years)

Determination and humanity are values that are heavily featured in this memoir about Greg Mortenson and his quest to build a school in rural Afghanistan. Mortenson chronicles his journey, eventually making educational and economic development his full-time, foundation-supported career. This young reader’s edition contains a glossary for advanced vocabulary, which will make it easy for young readers to follow along. You will be fascinated by the dangers, setbacks, cultures, and amazing hospitality Mortenson encounters along his quest.

4. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (16+ years)

The story is set in the Nigerian village of Umuofia in the late 1800’s. The story revolves around the character Okonkwo, a respected leader in the village who rules with an iron will. When the colonialists arrive in his village, Okonkwo passionately resists the deterioration of the Igbo culture and society as he knows it. The best thing about Achebe’s, Things Fall Apart, is that it gives a glimpse of African culture from the perspective of a local tribesman.

5. I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish (16+ years)

This is a raw and emotional autobiography, written by Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor born and raised in a Gaza refugee camp. Despite working a demanding job and facing poverty, Abuelaish graduates from high school and receives a scholarship to study medicine at Cairo University. However, on January 16, 2009, tragedy strikes when an Israeli tank shells his home in Gaza and kills three of his daughters. Rather than responding to his grief with aggression, Abuelaish writes this moving book about his experiences with a central message of hope and reconciliation.