Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Children's Books about Greece | World Cup for Kids Project

This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids Project. Each time Greece plays, I will be posting about something you can do with your kids to get to know the Greek culture. You can follow along with each country playing in the World Cup herefind our introduction and schedule here.

(I may have mentioned this before...) One of our favorite ways of learning about a culture is through books. Picture books appeal to a wide range of ages, and are great for reading together.

This is a list of books we read when virtually exploring Greece two years ago and includes fiction, non fiction and folktales. It is difficult finding children's literature related to Greece that isn't about mythology or ancient Greece, and I hope the selection will grow. Some of these books are no longer in print, but you might be able to find them at your local library (like we did) and I've linked those to Better World Books, a sites that sells them second hand (I am not affiliated with them).

Our World Cup posts about Greece include some interesting facts about the country as well as a recipe for a popular drink kids enjoy, here, and a tutorial to make Greek worry beads here.

Greece (We're From . . .) by Victoria Parker is seen from the perspective of kids. Learn how to say hello, read and see what it's like at home and at school for kids in Greece. When we read this two years ago, the kids were appalled when they read kids have 3 hours of homework every night - now they can relate a little :) Just as with the book below, kids love to read about other kids, and it's a great way to introduce them to another country and culture.

Letters from Around the World: Greece by David Cumming. We haven't actually read this book, but we've read others in the series and liked them all. Written from the perspective of one child who writes to an American penpal, the child relates about where they're from, their family, how they spend their time. The books include a recipe, how to say some words, and generally great information in an engaging format with lots of colorful, realistic photographs. 

I Have an Olive Tree by Eve Bunting is a gorgeously illustrated book about a young girl in California, Sophia, who receives an olive tree as a birthday gift from her grandfather. This tree is still growing in Greece and is a symbol of their heritage, but as a young girl she is not terribly impressed with this gift. It becomes much more significant when her grandfather passes away one year later, and she and her mother take a pilgrimage to Greece to visit this tree and hang her grandmother's beads there. Sophia learns more about her heritage and develops a growing connection with Greece. This is a lovely story about heritage, and we loved the bold, colorful folk art illustrations.

Mr. Semolina - Semolinus retold by Anthony Mann. This is such a cute, fun book of a Greek folktale. A Greek princess did not like any of her suitors, so decided to make the perfect prince out of semolina, almonds and flour. He turned out so kind and perfect, an evil queen took him away. With gifts from the sun, moon and stars, the princess saves the prince and takes him home. 

Three Gold Pieces retold by Aliki is a Greek folktale about working hard and recognizing wisdom. A poor Greek man must leave his family and home to work in the city, which he does for 10 years. After this long period, he is rather poor wages - 3 coins, in exchange for which he is offered 3 pieces of advice. It is in taking this wise advice that the man finds wealth.

The Eggs also by Aliki is another Greek folktale. In this tale, a sea captain forgets to pay for the eggs served to him for breakfast because he is rushed back to his ship. He returns to the inn 6 years later and tries to pay, but the innkeeper tries to get him to pay with (lots of) interest. In the end, a lawyer outsmarts the greedy innkeeper. 

Don't forget to find out about what other bloggers and families are doing to follow along with the World Cup and learning about different cultures. I've outlined how it works in my introduction and will be featuring other posts on our Facebook page.

You can find more cultural and historical activities at the following linkups:

Books are a wonderful way to experience new worlds and ideas. Our house is filled with books, most of which are borrowed from our public library. Public libraries are an incredible resource, making books accessible to everyone, and we highly encourage everyone to discover theirs. If you are hoping to build your own home library, I've made it easy by linking book titles to Amazon.com. Please note that I have become affiliated with them, which means that if you make a purchase, you are also supporting this website. 


  1. What a neat collection. I would love to visit Greece one day. Thanks for linking up to MCCBD linky!


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