In this post, we talk about children books about Portugal that we used to get our kids excited about our upcoming trip to Lisbon. They are a good read if you are about to travel to Portugal but they can also be used as a reference if studying the country in school, or as an addition to your bedtime story time.
Next week we are going on a family holiday to Lisbon. It is the kids’ first time in Portugal and they are not quite sure what to expect. Do you they speak English in Portugal? Was the first question I got. Is it going to be very hot? Was the second one.
I always make a point of looking at a map of the world and show the kids where our destination is but indeed, it takes more than that to give them an idea of what to expect from a place.
When I think about Lisbon I think of its incredible bright sky, its history of navigation and trade, grilled seafood and fado. How can my kids think of anything, if we don’t provide some cultural reference?
My quest for good children books about Portugal wasn’t an easy one. I couldn’t find anything in our local bookshop and even google brought up only a few titles, many not in stock and hard to come by.
These are the ones that I selected, after long search, and that are available on the ever so powerful Amazon. They all contain interesting facts about Portugal, Portugal characters or anyway cultural references that I believe will help kids make the most of their time in Portugal.
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The images below come from Amazon and if you click on them, you will be able to access their site. Should you prefer to browse products on Amazon UK, you can find children books about Portugal here.
Children books about Portugal: our selection
If you were me and lived in… Portugal
This is the first book I got for the kids and a good introduction to Portugal. The book is part of a series (‘If you were me and lived in… India, France, Mexico’ etc) and it is aimed at preschoolers and young learners. It is a short book with pictures, it gathers some facts and figures about Portugal spanning from geography to food and is a good read. What I liked the most about it was that it included several Portuguese words (with pronunciation guide): I do not speak Portuguese and this is going to be my kids’ first time in a Portuguese speaking country so being able to have even a small taste of it was interesting and piqued their curiosity to no end. Something that piqued my curiosity (just to prove that children books are rarely just for kids and we should always read them together!) is the book’s claim according to which Lisbon is the oldest city in Western Europe. I had no idea that this was the case but apparently, it dates back to many centuries before Rome was built! Did you know?
The miracle dogs of Portugal
This is probably my favourite book in this list. Rather than an educational book with facts, it is a story set in Portugal, developing against the backdrop of the city of Sagres and the powerful Atlantic ocean. The main character of the books is 6-year-old Henry (at the end of the book we discover he is no less than Henry The Navigator) and the story talks about his cute and important relationship with the sea and a particularly eventful day on the water. This is a good adventure book both for parents to read to children and for children to read themselves: the adventure is gripping but the tone stays light thanks to the inclusion of some friendly animals and animal talk.
Songs from a journey with a parrot
One of my strongest mental associations with Portugal is the country’s beautiful music and this book and CD is the perfect kids’ introduction to it. The book has beautiful images and is a collection of nursery rhymes and lullabies from Brazil and Portugal.
The songs are an absolute pleasure to listen to and while this is not something I can personally comment on, I read that is one of the few that allow kids to familiarise with European Portuguese accent, something that makes it particularly appealing to me, since Lisbon is where we are soon going. The books has beautiful vibrant images and has the lyrics of the songs both Portuguese and English
A map and a mule
This is a short book about two episodes in the life of Queen Isabel of Portugal, who lived between 1271 to 1336. The stories are based on historical facts and have at their centre the idea of peace and how it can be achieved when violent conflict seems inevitable. The book has interesting historical facts and it is particularly good for kids who are interested in stories of knights or are about to visit Portuguese cultural sites. The book has watercolour illustrations and a vintage map.
Amazing pictures and facts about Portugal
I’ll be honest: this is not a book I am exceptionally fond of. I got it because I was attracted by the title but, overall, I feel the title is a bit ambitious for what is actually a collection of basic facts and figures about Portugal.
Despite this, I do include it in this list because it does work as a reference book about the country and because it comes in the kindle edition. I downloaded on my phone too and my kids have enjoyed reading the fact so, as long as you know what you are getting, it can be a good purchase. Had it been called ‘a short introduction to Portugal’, I would have had no complaints!
I hope you enjoyed this selection! Do you have additional children books about Portugal you’d recommend?
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