There is no doubt about it, Indian culture is one of a kind. To a westerner, it’s a completely different concept from the east, a concept full of color and traditions that will probably never go away. For a local, the pride of being Indian leaves plenty to be discovered, as there’s always something new to learn.

Despite being under different occupations overtime, Indian culture has never really changed. With these thoughts in mind, whether you like a new culture or you want to learn more about it, here are some of the best books for Indian culture out there.

What Are The Top Books on Indian Culture?

Kutty, by Roy Oommen (2023)

Featuring illustrations from Charbak Dipta and a captivating story by Roy Oommen, Kutty describes the southern Indian culture like no other book. It’s a book for children, but it’s just as exciting for an adult interested in finding more about it.

If you prefer to read it to your little one, get ready to be hooked in straight away.

To me, it’s the colorful way to express everything. You’ll discover a picturesque scene in an Indian village, as well as Jal and his cow friend Kutty going on the adventure of a lifetime.

Jal decides to register Kutty for a beauty contest, but they soon realize that real beauty is not necessarily about appearances.

I won’t give you too many spoilers, but I’ll let you discover a beautiful story with quite a few lessons and visually delightful illustrations.

Ganesha's Sweet Tooth, by Emily Haynes (2015)

This is one of those Indian children’s books that will give you a glimpse at the colorful lifestyle the moment you look at it. The bright colorful accents will change with every new page you turn, but it’s not all about visuals.

The author has come up with an amazing story that will also teach your little one a thing or two.

The story follows Ganesha. He’s not like other kids. He has an elephant head and he rides a mouse. He loves everything with sugar, but especially the local dessert laddoo.

Things change when Ganesha decides to bite into a delicious laddoo. The problem is it’s too hard, so Ganesha ends up breaking one of his tusks. It feels like the end of the world, but luckily, his friends decide to give him a hand.

Ganesha soon realizes that things that may seem broken at first could actually be very useful later on. Everything happens for a reason and it’s always important to make the most out of everything in life, even if it looks bad at first.

The Diwali Gift, by Shweta Chopra and Shuchi Mehta (2015)

Remember those funny chipmunks from your childhood? Don’t get me wrong, this book isn’t based on them and doesn’t feature any of them, but it feels pretty similar. You’ll almost feel like reading it in their voices.

Suno, Jaano and Dekho are three curious monkeys, as well as very good friends. Diwali is quickly approaching and they don’t seem to have any plans. But one day, a new gift arrives. It’s beautifully wrapped, so no one can guess what’s inside. But everyone wants to know!

Grab your little one and join an amazing adventure in one of the most exciting books for Indian culture. Learn more about local traditions and have fun while learning a thing or two as well.

Indian Children's Favorite Stories, by Rosemarie Somaiah (2020)

This is one of those books for Indian culture that will keep your little one entertained for weeks. You don’t have to go through it in one sitting, just read a bit every night. It features beautiful illustrations too, so your kid can get a few ideas about the local culture.

This isn’t just a story, but a mix of different traditional stories from India. There are eight Indian tales, each of them offering a detailed view of the local lifestyle and culture. Rama, Sukhu, Dukhu and Munna are just some of the famous characters you’ll discover there.

Despite the wide variety of stories and ideas, everything’s inspired from Indian folklore. And to make it even better, the author has adjusted them a little for an international audience, so anyone can understand what’s going on.

The Indian Dance Show, by Radhika Sen (2022)

The Indian Dance Show is, well, a show. It’s a show covered in lively designed colors, enhanced with unique Indian dance moves and a story your little one will love. This is the type of book that will teach your kid a few moves, as well as a few secrets from local dance styles.

It’s not just a dance guide. Everything is well hidden behind a nicely told story about a group of kids waiting in a theater. Through funny rhymes and styles, kids will learn more about famous Indian dances like Kathak, Manipuri, Bollywood, Giddha or Odissi, just to name a few.

My Dadima Wears a Sari, by Kashmira Sheth (2022)

This book is about an Indian grandma and her American granddaughter, exploring culture together and becoming familiar with Indian traditions.

Reading it to my kid, I felt like we were both in the granddaughter’s shoes, trying to understand colors, what saris can do and how they can become anything. Soon, the granddaughter’s imagination starts going wild with all these possibilities, imagining the classic sari in a wide variety of other scenarios.

This is a friendly and colorful insight into Indian culture, but it’s also a sensitive book exploring the connection between two relatives growing up in completely different environments.

It’s one of those Indian children’s books that show you how love can help people bond across different cultures and generations.

Final words

These are probably the best books for Indian culture I’ve been through lately. And while they’re clearly written for kids and well illustrated, trust me, there’s something in there for us too.

Adults will also learn a thing or two about Indian culture in a fun and relaxing way, while also bonding with their little ones.

If you are looking for more kids lit check out our children's book section.

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