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French Books for Children About Diversity, Tolerance, and Respect

In an increasingly diverse and globalized world, whether it is cultural, religious, ethnic or gender-based, it’s important for parents to be able to prepare their children to live, study and work within this diversity. Tolerance, respect and understanding are the base on which children’s education needs to be built. The following reading list of books in French for younger to older children includes works that encourage this understanding, which ultimately will (hopefully) make for a more harmonious world. 


Banner image courtesy Providence Doucet on Unsplash

Les Enfants du monde

In this book for young readers, children will discover the games, school activities, holidays, and the daily life of children from all over the world. There are thousand of different ways to eat, sleep, wash, dress, say hello, play sports, and many other activities that will enrich early learning an will open children to the world. With large, detail-filled evocative images, this book is for ages 3-7.

La Véritable Histoire du grand méchant Mordicus

Young Felix has decided to go deep into the heart of the forest to find the Big Bad Mordicus, a solitary wolf who everyone is frightened of. Just as he is about to be devoured by Mordicus Felix reveals to the old wolf that he is his great-grandson, and that his mother is a bear and his father is half-wolf half-fox. The book talks about Felix's family tree, the relations within the family and its origins, and how to accept being different. Age 5+

Neige

Once upon a time there was a white wolf ...White as snow, white as a sheep, white as white bread, but wolves aren't white, they are brown or gray. The white wolf is abandoned by his family, without  a name of his own, and begins a long walk in the woods. One day he meets a black wolf, who is also different from the other wolves. From these two differences a beautiful friendship arises, and a new name. Ages 5-7.

La Réunion des religions

Getting to know different religions cultivate the tolerance to live better together. This book offers an overview of eight major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese folk religion, Judaism, Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism and Islam. Bassam lives on the island of Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean, where people from many religions come together. He is delighted by this diversity, and is regularly invited to festivities by his friends. The book explores questions such as what are the major beliefs, holidays and practices. Ages 5+

Une place dans la cour

Ulysses is new to his school. Instead of playing football with Boris' band, he joins a group of girls led by Clarisse. Together, they put on a play for the school party and recruit another boy, Driss. This is altogether too much for Boris, who awkwardly confronts Clarisse.

Le Racisme expliqué à ma fille

The idea for this book began when the award-winning Franco-Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun's ten year-old daughter began asking him questions about racism on their way to a demonstration against a French law on immigration. He describes his book as such: "A child is curious. He or she asks many questions and expects precise and convincing answers. You can't cheat with questions that children ask...children are far better positioned than anyone else to know that one is not a born a racist but one can become a racist. This book tries to answer the questions my daughter asked, for children who are not yet intolerant, and want to understand. And regarding the adults who read this book, I hope it will help them answer questions that their own children might ask them,  that are more embarrassing than one might imagine." 10+

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Isabelle translates and edits articles into English from other languages on the Bookwitty site. She always adds a hyperlink to the original article in her post.