Online book readings and story time

During lockdown, many publishers, booksellers and libraries have been thinking creatively to ensure children still have access to new and existing titles. One area of this that is flourishing is online book readings. I’m sure you’ve seen the all-star cast reading Harry Potter and the fundraising day-long marathon read of The Hobbit. In this post, we’ve gathered together some of the videos available online showcasing some wonderful translated and world books. So go on, grab yourself a cuppa, put your feet up and let someone else entertain the kids for 10 minutes!

Independent publisher Tiny Owl have lots of videos available on their blog. Some of our favourites are:
The Little Black Fish by Samad Behrangi and Farshid Mesghali
When I coloured in the World by Ahmadreza Ahmadi and Ahsan Abdollahi
There’s room for everyone by Anahita Teymorian


Lantana Publishing have launched their very own book club on their YouTube Channel releasing new content every Thursday. First up on their book club reading list was this beautiful book by Syrian author Nadine Kaadan: Tomorrow (translated by the author). As well from books selected for the book club, they have lots of diverse and inclusive books to discover.

count on me

This picture book was shortlisted for the Mathical Prize 2020 in the US, an annual award for books that inspire children to see maths in the world around them. Watch this reading of Count on me by Miguel Tanco (Tundra Books in the USA, coming soon from Tate Publishing in the UK, no translator mentioned).


From Book Island comes this reading for older children of ‘The Garden of Inside-Outside’, a junior graphic novel written by Chiara Mezzalama and illustrated by Regis Lejonc, translated by Sarah Ardizzone. This is a true story, inspired by the author’s childhood.

valdemars peas

Over on the Gecko Press Facebook page, you’ll find a fab reading of a book by David Barrow called Have you seen my elephant read to us in English and Chinese. A great way to expose your kids to a foreign language. Scroll through their Facebook page for lots more book readings including one of my absolute favourites: Valdemar’s peas by Maria Jönnson, translated by Julia Marshall.

Multilingual education company Babel Babies has been running regular story time events in various languages. For any families curious to explore other languages, there are familiar stories in what might be unfamiliar languages:  Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Room on the Broom in Mandarin, Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Portuguese and Emily Gravett’s Monkey and Me in Arabic (translated by Hanuf al-Baw’inin). Babel Babies share these videos on Facebook live and they’re available to watch anytime on their YouTube channel.

The Tales From Uganda YouTube channel retells traditional Ugandan stories in both Luganda and English. These stories are passed down from generation to generation orally and are a large part of Ugandan heritage and culture. Told in a way everyone can enjoy and perfect for bedtimes!

Irish publisher Little Island Books also has its own YouTube channel. Be sure to look for Not Without my Tractor, by Finn-Ole Heinrich and Dita Zipfel and All Better by Catherine Ann Cullen, Inese Zandere, Reinis Petersons.

Tàta Storytime – a new online kids show where fantastic actors read beautiful picture books, featuring authors from African, Caribbean & African American heritage and aimed at pre-school to 8 year olds.

Qatar Foundation Read Alouds – picture books read in Arabic and English. QFI is releasing read-alouds of various children’s books, working with authors, publishers, and writers from across the Arab world. See the QFI YouTube channel too to access older read-alouds.

Talking Tales from Tulika on Spotify: Tulika’s popular picture books get a merry makeover in this lively podcast, Talking Tales from Tulika! Scintillating storytelling, rocking rhythms and singalong songs, available in in English, Hindi and Tamil!

Akiddie – a digital collection of African children’s stories in Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, French and English as well as audio narratives in all these languages. Subscription required.

The New York Public Library – a selection of multilingual storytime videos.

Translators Aloud for #WorldKidLitMonth:

Translators Aloud – Rachel Ward reading from her translation from the German of Zippel, the Little Keyhole Ghost by Alex Rühle, illus. Axel Scheffler, (Andersen Press)

Translators Aloud – Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp reading from Ahlam Bsharat’s TREES FOR THE ABSENTEES, tr. Sue Copeland and Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp (Neem Tree Press)

Translators Aloud – Lawrence Schimel reading from his translation of The Day Saida Arrived bySusana Gómez Redondo, (Blue Dot Kids Press)

Enjoy the stories and please let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @worldkidlit if there are other online storytime channels you would recommend!


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