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A Short List of 20 Good Ethiopian Children’s Books

A Short List of 20 Good Ethiopian Children’s Books

Ethiopia is a breathtaking country, rich in culture and history. It's home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, a unique culture that hasn't been changed by modern civilizations, and one of the oldest countries on earth.

 

We took the time to curate this collection of Ethiopian books for kids. This list is by no means exhaustive, nor is it meant to be the only reading material your children will ever need. But we hope they'll be able to spark an interest in Ethiopian culture.

 

Feel free to check out our other booklists on children's books from different African countries. They include South AfricaNigeriaKenya, and our favourite children's books by African authors.

 

 A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water across the World

A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water across the World - Alemitu lives with her mother in a poor village in Ethiopia, where she must walk miles for water and hunger roars in her belly. Even though life is difficult, she dreams of someday knowing more about the world. When her mother has no choice but to leave her at an orphanage to give her a chance at a better life, an American family adopts Alemitu. She becomes Eva in her new home in America, and although her life there is better in so many ways, she'll never forget her homeland and the mother who gave up so much for her. Told through the lens that water connects all people everywhere, this eye-opening, emotional story will get readers thinking about the world beyond their own.

Recommended Age: 4 - 8 years 

Abeba Goes to Bed, An Ethiopian Children's Book

Abeba Goes to Bed is about Abeba, an Ethiopian girl. As time for bed approaches, Abeba says good night to those she loves and cares about in four different languages (English, Amharic, French and German). Containing only a few words and adorable illustrations, with a family tree and a favorite Ethiopian lullaby, this is a perfect read for all the little ones and offers parents a unique and beautiful way to ease their children towards bedtime.

Recommended Age: All Ages

Andromeda, Princess of Ethiopia: The Legend in The Stars

Andromeda, Princess of Ethiopia: The Legend in The Stars - Since the beginning of humanity, Ethiopia was the origin of some of the most remarkable and important people in history. The bones of one of the first hominids, Lucy, were found in Ethiopia, and stories of legendary Ethiopians stretch back into ancient history. Some of these legends were so famous that they were recorded in ancient Greek Mythology. One of these is the story of the daughter of ancient Ethiopian King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia: Princess Andromeda. Andromeda’s beauty was so renowned that it ignited the jealousy of Poseidon, who sent a great sea monster to devour her. But her plight inspired the Greek hero Perseus to intervene in her rescue, and then to marry her. Their story of love and hardship was immortalized as constellations which are still visible in Ethiopian night skies.

Recommended Age: All Ages

Faraway Home

Faraway Home - As her father prepares for a trip back to his childhood home in Ethiopia, Desta begins to worry. Where does her father truly belong--in the village of his youth or here in America with her? What was growing up in Ethiopia like? And will her father's love for his family be enough to bridge these two worlds and bring him back to her?

Recommended Age: All Ages

Fire on the Mountain

Fire on the Mountain - is about an Ethiopian boy who bets his future that he will succeed. When his master refuses to recognize the boy's victory, the boy and his sister decide to beat the rich man at his own game. 

Recommended Age: 3 - 8 years 

Gloria's Porridge

Gloria's Porridge - Gloria is making a delicious porridge, but she's too hungry to share it with the cat. When Gloria goes to fetch some water, cat eats all the porridge . Angry Gloria shakes her spoon at the cat, and the scared cat runs away, starting a chaos around her. A retelling of an Ethiopian folktale by acclaimed author, Elizabeth Laird.

Recommended Age: 4 - 8 years

Grandma's Humongous Suitcase: A tale of Ethiopian history and culture in a child voice...

Grandma's Humongous Suitcase: A tale of Ethiopian history and culture in a child voice is a tale of Ethiopian history and culture in a child voice!

Recommended Age: All Ages

On The Wings Of Eagles

On The Wings Of Eagles is a story of a Jewish Ethiopian boy recounts the story of Israel's 1991 airlift rescue of his threatened people

Recommended Age: 8 - 10 years

Only a Pigeon

Only a Pigeon - Ondu-ahlem thinks of his favorite bird, Chinkay, as more than just a pigeon, and when the young Ethiopian boy sets the bird free, he learns that the pigeon represents everything that is proud, beautiful, and free.

Recommended Age: 5 - 9 years

Best Beekeper of Lalibela

Best Beekeper of Lalibela - In the Ethiopian mountain village of Lalibela, famous for its churches and honey, a young girl named Almaz determines to find a way to be a beekeeper despite being told that is something only men can do.

Recommended Age: 4 - 8 years

The Big Buna Bash: One Little Girl's Story About Being Different and the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

The Big Buna Bash: One Little Girl's Story About Being Different and the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony - When Almaz makes a mistake in school, she's really embarrassed! Other kids tease her because they don't understand her Ethiopian culture. How can she use her family's traditions to make friends? She needs to host a BIG BUNA BASH!

Recommended Age: 5 - 8 years

The Fire on the Mountain, and Other Stories from Ethiopia and Eritrea

The Fire on the Mountain, and Other Stories from Ethiopia and Eritrea - compilation of favorite folktales exhibiting wisdom and experience

Recommended Age: 9 - 12 years

The Lion's Whiskers: An Ethiopian Folktale

The Lion's Whiskers: An Ethiopian Folktale An Ethiopian folktale follows a stepmother's dangerous quest in which she must pluck three whiskers from a fierce lion's chin in order to gain her stepson's trust, and is accompanied by bold collage illustrations by a Caldecott Honor-winning artist.

Recommended Age: All Ages

The Perfect Orange: A Tale from Ethiopia

The Perfect Orange: A Tale from Ethiopia Is an Inspiring gentle folktale set in Ancient Ethiopia. Breathtaking watercolors dramatize ancient Ethiopia s contrasting pastoral charm and majesty. 

 

Recommended Age: 4 - 9 years

The Runaway Injera

The Runaway Injera - Many Americans grow up hearing a folktale about a man made of gingerbread that runs away from a cast of characters that all join in to try to catch it while the gingerbread taunts it's followers along the way with "You can't catch me". Follow along this fun adventure of the runaway injera to find out if it outsmarts it's followers and is caught!

Recommended Age: All Ages 

The Storyteller's Beads

The Storyteller's BeadsRunning for their lives to escape the political upheaval in Ethiopia, two young girls from different faiths form an unlikely friendship.

Recommended Age: 8 - 12 years

Thirteen Months of Sunshine

Thirteen Months of Sunshine - In the Ethiopian calendar, a year is divided into 13 months. Ethiopia’s position near the Earth’s Equator exposes it to more sunlight than many countries, a feature that helped turn Ethiopia into an international travel destination. Ethiopian scholar Dr Worku Mulat wrote this insightful look into the unique calendar system of Ethiopia and how an innovative leader used it to boost worldwide interest in the ancient country’s abundant natural and cultural assets. Gorgeous portraits of the towns and countryside of this beautiful African nation by brilliant Ethiopian artist Daniel Getahun help illustrate why Ethiopia is home to 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and remains a top travel destination.

Recommended Age: All Ages

Trouble

Trouble -Tekleh doesn’t mean to cause trouble but everywhere he goes, it follows. When his exasperated father carves him a gebeta (also called mancala) gameboard to keep him occupied, he has no idea the chain of events to come! Follow a curious young Ethiopian boy as he tends his goats and stumbles upon a series of unusual encounters that help him learn not only the value of goods, but of giving. As he trades his gebeta for a knife, a masinko, a drum, some corn and a papaya, he discovers the value of generosity and compassion.

Recommended Age: All Ages

Yosef's Dream

Yosef's Dream - A five year old boy experiences the rescue of Ethiopian Jews in Operation Solomon as if it is a dream.

Recommended Age: 5 - 8 years

Yuvi's Candy Tree

Yuvi's Candy Tree In Ethiopia, Yuvi dreams of a land where water flows, bread is plentiful, and candy grows on trees. But it is only after a difficult journey that she arrives in Israel, where it appears that her dreams have come true.

Recommended Age: 5 - 9 years

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