1. Up and Down
Free, iOS, Mr. Garamond S. L.
This interactive story book app uses a split screen format to take kids through a day in the life of two very different children—one in the western Sahara desert and the other in the Western world—and demonstrates the commonalities that tie kids around the world together.
2. Collins Big Cat
Free, iOS, Harper Collins UK
Whether the story is about traveling around the world or the act of playing with friends closer to home, this fantastic series of picture book apps features multicultural characters, diverse locations, and depicts the diversity of our world in an authentic way.
3. Mama Mae: Mookey
Free (with in-app purchases), iOS, Bento Box
Part of Alicia Keys’ Journals of Mama Mae series, this animated story app teaches courage and forgiveness through the story of Bali, a young boy who lives in India. The app includes songs and games, including one that allows children to explore the festival of Holi.
4. Fam Bam Got to Have Music
$0.99, iOS, See Here Studios
Hip hop, jazz, R&B, spirituals, opera! Fam Bam tells an endearing and toe-tapping story about the divergent musical interests of all the members of one particular family and how they work out their different tastes to sing together in one harmony. The app includes recordings from Brandy and Ray J.
5. Nate’s Big Hair
$0.99, iOS, iStorytime
Based on a picture book by Duke Christoffersen, this cute and funny story follows Nate, a young African-American boy who hides his food in his very big hair. Anyone with a picky eater will be no stranger to the dilemma faced by Nate’s mother! The app offers the choice of an adult or child narrator.
6. Dentist Bird: A West African Folktale
$1.99, iOS/Google Play, Literary Safari
Based on the Liberian folktale “How Plover Bird Came to Clean Crocodile’s Teeth,” this game-rich picture book app allows kids to explore the rich sights and sounds of a Liberian rainforest while letting them collect awards as they help a brave bird make a special medicine for a sick crocodile.
7. Wee You-Things
$2.99, iOS, Wee Society LLC.
Whether it’s wearing glasses, having two fathers, or being from outer space, this app introduces a compelling and diverse cast of characters and celebrates the differences that make human beings special and unique. Kids have the option uploading their own picture and labeling their own “you-thing” qualities!
8. A Day in the Market
$2.99, iOS/Google Play, Adarna House
This interactive, digital story follows a young girl in the Phillipines on a trip to the market with her Nanay or grandma. Children can interact with the various vendors and foods, sort food groups, and make music with earthen pots. A fun way to experience the hustle and bustle of world markets.
9. The Great Sasquatch
$2.99, iOS/Google Play, Loud Crow Interactive
One of the Bramble Berry Tales series, this app tells the story of two kids who discover Sasquatch and learn about the incredible indigenous history of the Stó:lō in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. Besides English, French, and Spanish, this marvelously illustrated book is also available in the Stó:lō language, Halq’emeylem.
10. Frida’s World
$2.99, iOS, Gramercy Consultants
A beautifully illustrated biographical look at the life of Frida Kahlo, the Mexican painter. With both English and Spanish narration options, this story offers joyous watercolor illustrations, an inviting score, and a coloring book.
11. Fatima Al Fihria
$2.99, iOS, Masarat
Before Malala, there was Fatima Al Fihria. This biographical story is about Fatima, a young woman who built the oldest university in the world in Fes, Morocco in AD 859. With English, French, and Arabic narration options, authentic music, and puzzles, this is the first in a series of apps about Muslim heroes.
12. The Legend of Momotaro
$5.99, iOS, Ghost Hand Games
Beautifully illustrated and animated, this app breathes life and accessibility into an ancient Japanese folk tale of the hero Momtar as he battles evil ogres. Children will learn about Japanese culture, language, and history.
There you have it! Twelve multicultural kid’s book apps that serve up fail-safe ways to keep your child entertained and informed all at once. You’re never too young to be a global citizen!