8 reasons this picture book is the near perfect introduction to Chinese culture.

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Our newest picture book, “China’s Child” is here and littles from around the world are already joining Mei Ling, Teddies and their fantastical world as they embark on a topsy-turvy adventure all across China. Your little ones can join their adventures, too - and it’s the perfect way to get them to learn and love China’s intricate culture, too.

1. Meet Mei Ling, the can-do, strong-minded Chinese girl.

Both you and your little ones will immediately fall in love with our buddy Mei Ling, the perfect representation of the strengths and struggles of a little girl growing up in China. The impact of societal and family structures are magically portrayed through her imaginative, playful and powerful character.

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2. Watch some of China’s endangered animals come to life in the most adorable ways.

Introduce your littles to China’s endangered animals and their features (as well as to an imaginary dragon!), while they help Mei Ling on her adventures. Their journey is nothing short of giggles, silliness, and mischief. And you can even take home your very own Shui, the spotted seal stuffy, too!

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3. Uncover Chinese customs, traditions and surprises!

Chinese traditions, inventions, Lunar New Year customs and shenanigans, are all hiding inside the story and waiting for you and your littles to discover them.

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4. Prepare dumplings with Mei Ling and Teddies.

Did anyone say food? Prepare dumplings with Mei Ling and Teddies in this hilarious scene, where everyone takes a special part. Did you know?Dumplings are balls of vegetables or meat wrapped in a thin piece of dough and a staple of traditional Chinese cuisine. And on New Year’s Eve dumpling making is considered a good luck tradition!

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5. Travel to China’s breathtaking landmarks and landscapes through colorful, detail-packed illustrations.

China might be known for its bustling cities and for being the most populous country in the world, but it’s also full of natural wonders and beautiful landscapes. The Yangtze River, the Floating Mountains and the Stone Forest are only a few of these. Follow Mei Ling and Teddies and get transported all across China’s distinct places, all from a comfy bed.

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6. Test your knowledge with a quiz at the end of the book.

Finished reading? Think you’ve covered Chinese culture by now? Think again. At the end of the story, a quiz will send young readers on a search and find expedition within the pages of the book, helping them discover additional fun facts about China and its culture! And there’s more. Read small snippets and discover the habitat of China’s endangered animals and China’s good luck and superstition symbols.

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7. And of course, get your very own introduction to Mandarin and calligraphy!

From Mandarin words dispersed around the story, to a short glossary of Mandarin/English words at the back of the story, this picture book is the perfect introduction into calligraphy and the Mandarin language. And if you want to take it a step further, you can even

8. Bring China’s culture to life with the complete story box.

A bilingual Mandarin/English memory game, Shui, the spotted seal cuddly plush, a design-your-own-dragon craft and tangram (the famous 7-piece STEM puzzle) are only some of the toys that accompany China’s Child in our China story box - the absolute perfect gift for every curious child!

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Read the world! Embrace its diversity.

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We started Worldwide Buddies with a single mission in mind: to bring the wonderfully diverse stories and cultures of the world inside the homes of children around the globe - to help them grow into curious, open-minded adults that are able to adapt, accept, listen and explore the multi-faceted realities that exist.

100th Children’s Books Week

Read Now, Read Forever. It’s the centennial celebration of Children’s Books Week and the message it celebrates is more pressing than ever. “Read Now, Read Forever.” looks to the past, present, and most importantly, the future of children’s books - a message very close to our own mission and heart.

At Worldwide Buddies, not only are we committed to the future of children’s books, but we’re committed to creating a future of diverse children’s books, a future world where empathy, acceptance, freedom and communication are at the very center of it.

Technology is unstoppably breaking down barriers. Physical distance proves less and less of a barrier. It’s never been easier to interact with people living on the other side of the world. It’s time to break down cultural barriers, too.

Now, more than ever, we need diversity in children’s books. Children familiar with foreign cultures are bound to excel in this ever-changing, diverse world. Understanding and embracing various cultures, viewpoints and voices allows children to develop empathy, adaptability, open-mindedness, and communication skills crucial to the future of happiness, work and life of our the planet as barriers dissolve more and more.

“Read the world. Embrace its diversity.” campaign

Today, we're lucky enough to be celebrating in so, SO many ways! Not only are we thrilled to announce the launch of China’s story box (just in time for Children’s Books Week), but we're also fortunate to have the support of incredible mothers, bloggers and buddies that are championing our mission.

Our “Read the world! Embrace its diversity.” campaign is designed to raise awareness around the need for diverse children's books; the very reason Worldwide Buddies was born.

Today, our buddies are raising their voices and posting pictures "READ THE WORLD! EMBRACE ITS DIVERSITY."

And there's something in it for you, too! Each post will reveal a 15% discount code on China's story box (or on any other website purchase) all through May. Simply follow hashtag #readtheworldembracediversity or look up our tagged pictures on Instagram to spot the images, uncover the discount codes and show our supporters your love.

Of course, you can join the shenanigans, too!

If you're also passionate about building an accepting, open-minded world in which our children can thrive in, we invite you to join us. Snap and post your own picture with the message "READ THE WORLD! EMBRACE ITS DIVERSITY." (or simply share someone else's picture) and become part of our campaign. And of course, don't forget to tag @worldwidebuddies for a lovely feature. ;)

Let’s build a HAPPY, ACCEPTING future for all the children of the world.

Your Worldwide Buddies,

Evi, Nefeli & the rest of the team

Here are 5 reasons this game is the bestest, funnest way for children to learn Spanish

If you’re looking for a fun, engaging way for your little ones to learn Spanish, we suggest the first word you add to your child’s Spanish vocabulary is Jueguito!

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Pronounced who-e-gi-to, Jueguito is an exciting new card game that incorporates visual aids and familiar card game fun to expose kids to the Spanish language.

Here are 5 reasons Jueguito is the most exciting and engaging way for children to learn Spanish:

1. It’s extremely versatile: play Snap, Memory and more!
There are countless ways to use Jueguito cards! You can play Snap, Memory, and any other game you can think of. Small and portable, these cute cards make a perfect addition to the home, playground, family vacations, and anywhere in between. The possibilities are endless, and we know your child won’t be aburrido with these.

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2. It has developmental benefits, aside from just learning Spanish.
The evidence speaks for itself: memory games have been shown to help develop spatial skills, concentration, and thinking skills.

3. Visual aids help children learn better.
Research has shown over and over again that visual associations help us remember words better, decreasing learning time, improving comprehension, retrieval and retention. Don’t believe us? Here's proof.

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4. Early exposure is the most effective way to learn a new language
Research shows that children who are exposed to a new language before the age of 10 have the greatest chance of becoming fluent in that language. Don’t worry, parents -- you can still play Jueguito with your little one, but they will probably win!


5. It’s actually… great fun!
Jueguito doesn’t just teach children Spanish, it makes them WANT to learn it! Say goodbye to plain old flash cards - you won't be needing those anymore!

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With amor,

Worldwide Buddies

Your Christmas guide to children's presents that will be used and reused. No gifts for the sake of gifting!

Christmas lights are shining, holiday trees are twinkling, songs are jingling and children are beaming with joy. It must mean that the Christmas holidays (also known as the most wonderful time of the year) are approaching! And no matter what type of gifter you are (even if you’re the expert-acular type), there’s always that someone you’re not sure what to gift to.

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At Worldwide Buddies, we’re more of the meaningful type of gifters. No gifts for the sake of gifting. We believe in the power of gifts that put a smile on people’s faces, gifts that actually make an impact and gifts that create experiences. We believe in presents that bring people closer, educate, inspire and spread love! After all, that’s what Christmas is all about.

To help you, we’ve created a list of Christmas presents for littles (… and not so littles) tailored to personalities and tastes. Take a look an if you don’t find something that’s perfectly fitting, please, keep looking.:) No gifts for the sake of gifting!

FOR THE GIFT OF THE YEAR AWARD

A Marvelous Mexican Story Box. Our famous “gift filled with gifts”, is an out-of-this-world educational and funtabulous experience for littles and families, alike. Filled with toys, games, activities and surprises, it’s guaranteed to keep families engaged for weeks, let alone get you the “present of the year” award. Little ones have already stated that “opening this felt like Christmas morning”!

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Price: $39.00 - Shop Now

Perfect for: that special Christmas present for your daughter / son / niece / nephew / granddaughter… (you get the gist!), Santa’s surprise gift or simply if you want to… top Santa’s gift!

FOR THE LITTLE BOOKWORMS THAT LOVE A GOOD ADVENTURE

A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding, HC picture book. Bring Mexico’s culture to life in 62 pages packed with imagination, adventure, and colorful outbursts of fun!

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Price: $17.99 - Shop Now

Perfect for: little book worms, children who love Coco, children who love a good adventure, children who love to solve riddles and puzzles, children who have been or will visit Mexico soon, children with relatives or friends from Mexico.

FOR THE GAME LOVERS, AND ALL ASPIRING SPANISH SPEAKERS

Jueguito, English/Spanish bilingual playing cards. 23 pairs of English / Spanish flashcards that can be used for memory, snap and any other game you can think of!

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Price: $12.50 - Shop Now

Perfect for: Secret Santa, bilingual speakers and bilingual speakers-to-be, children that like to play card games, children with a Spanish-speaking background or relative, children at a bilingual school, your competitive colleague that always makes you play games, your friend who claims knows Spanish, but definitely needs some practice!

FOR THE PLUSH TOYS ENTHUSIASTS, AND THE PECULIAR CREATURE LOVERS

Hermelindo, axolotl plush toy. He even comes with a personal message to you, alongside a link to our post, so that its new owner can learn all about his special properties!

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Price: $12.00 - Shop Now

Perfect for: your Secret Santa, little ones that love cuddling, little ones that love adorable animals and plushies (especially peculiar ones, that not many people know about!), little ones that are interested in science and the environment, your colleague at work that still collects stuffed animals!

FOR THE HOLIDAY CARD SENDERS

Buddiful Christmas Cards. A set of 12 colorful holiday cards, each of which contains a surprising Christmas fact from around the world. And part of the proceed s e part of the proceeds to donate a new book to a child in need.

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Price: $14.00 - Shop Now

Perfect for: You - fill them with wonderful words and give them to your favorite people. Your child who just learned how to write and can’t wait to spread his/her wisdom, or your cute and thoughtful friend, who’s full of nice words and sends quirky Christmas cards.

A Worldwide Christmas Snapshot

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas... here, there and in so many other parts of the world. But what does Christmas mean for different cultures, how do they celebrate and where do our beloved Christmas traditions come from?

Our Worldwide Christmas snapshot is specially designed to capture your children's imagination, ignite some festive sparks and warm hearts, not just by bringing you closer to friends and family, but also by connecting you to distant parts around the globe!

To top it off, we’ve also created the perfect set of holiday cards: they’re lovingly playful and filled with holiday cheer. Each card contains a surprising Christmas fact from around the world and altogether, with each sale, we will use part of the proceeds to donate a new book to a child in need.

CHRISTMAS TREE:

“O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree – how did you ever become so popular?”

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While countless of houses around the world have Christmas trees sparkling and beaming with joy, someone must have been the first to say “what a wonderful idea, let’s do this! So, who was it, then? Like all wonderful ideas, everyone wants a claim to fame for this one, so rumors tend to vary and it is said that the importance of the tree grew gradually. Here are some of the most popular ones:

According to one legend, the first person to have ever decorated a tree was German protestant Martin Luther, who, on his way home one day, was captivated by the shining stars between the branches of a tree. “Oh my, how shiny and bright. My children would like that,” he thought, and brought a tree home with him, decorating it with candles.

Another legend, says that the first decorated Christmas tree was in Riga, Latvia, where the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a group of unmarried merchants, put up a tree for celebration.

Whatever the case, we are glad the tradition took off. 

 

SANTA CLAUS:

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“Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Italy lane...” sang Santa on his way to Italy, on Christmas Eve.

“Santa, don't give out all the gifts yet!” shrieked La Befana, the old witch that was riding her broomstick around Italy. “Children here also expect presents on 6th of January.”

“On the 6th of January?” exclaimed Santa. “I can't do that. I'll be catching up on all the sleep I’ve missed in December, wrapping gifts, training elves, ringing sleigh bells.”

“I’ll take over,” offered La Befana kindly, and has been delivering gifts and sweets to children around Italy on the 6th of January, ever since. 

Still, Santa does have a lot of visits for one night, but thankfully, delicious cookies and milk are there to keep him going. Except in Ireland. There, children prepare minced pies alongside a…GUINNESS BEER for him. Let’s just hope Santa stops by your country before he visits Ireland, or you’ll get one tipsy Santa and possibly mixed up gifts!

 

CHRISTMAS SEASON:

How does the rest of Santa's journey look like? Can he travel all around the world in one night? Well, not quite.  

In many countries of Asia, like India and China, where most residents are not Christians, only a very small part of the population celebrates Christmas, and Christmas Day is not a holiday. That really helps Santa complete his mission faster, as both countries have the two largest populations in the world and delivering presents to all the children there would require lots of additional elf power. 

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And on his way to Australia? Santa switches to his red bathing suit and always carries his sunglasses, just in case. Christmas in Australia falls on a sunny summer day, so Australians can even enjoy some ice cream after their dinner. HO(t) - HO(t) - HO(t)!

Even if Santa claims that in January he catches up on lost sleep, he still has a few stops to make. In Russia, people celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January, so Santa switches to his blue coat (as you can imagine, his red coat does need to go to the dry cleaners after all the Christmas sweat!), and delivers his last batch of presents. 

 

CHRISTMAS CRACKERS:

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You can thank Tom Smith for that. Inspired by the French bon bon sweets of the time (almonds wrapped in pretty paper), Tom wanted to bring the concept to England. But while sitting in front of a crackling fire one night, he decided to develop the idea further. “What if the sweets and toys I sell don't just have a pretty wrap, but also make a crackling sound every time someone opens them? That would make them even more marvelous!” And it did. Ever since, we have Christmas crackers and sometimes...really bad jokes.

 

CAROL SINGING:

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Do you go carol singing during the holidays? What is your favorite Christmas song? If “Jingle Bells” comes to mind, then think again. "Jingle Bells", which was written in the US, was originally called "One Horse Open Sleigh" and was intended for Thanksgiving. 

If, for some bizarre reason, you end up carol singing in Romania, be prepared for a peculiar surprise. Amongst your friends’ faces, it’s likely that you’ll also see a face with a multicolored mask, dressed up as a goat. That's what Romanians call the “Capra” and his/her job is to jump up and down, dance and bop around and be joyfully mischievous.

 

YUMMY SWEETS:

“Oh, I do love chocolates, so very much”, said French chocolatier 1.

“They're so tasty, I bet people would still want to eat them, even if they had the shape of...MUSHROOMS!” added French chocolatier 2.

And so they tested it. They made chocolates that looked like fungi, named them chocolate truffles, and sent them out as Christmas time goodies.

THANK YOU, FRENCH CHOCOLATIERS.

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As for candy canes? They first made their appearance as all white canes, and their shape was inspired by the hook Jesus used to shepherd his lambs.

 

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS WE LOVE:

“Time to clean your room to get ready for Christmas!” said no mom ever in Norway. Christmas household chores? In Norway, there aren’t any. Well, not really, but according to sources, there's an old rumor that in the past, Norwegians thought evil witches and spirits would steal brooms on Christmas Eve and ride in the sky. As a result? They would hide all brooms and cleaning agents, and no one could clean. Our kind of Christmas. 

And here's one for those who like to play dress up. In some countries of Western Africa, including The Gambia, towns and villages celebrate Christmas with masquerade parties, extending the religious traditions to include people of all religious beliefs and backgrounds. Two big high-fives, one for masquerade parties, and one for embracing inclusivity.

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Finally, our very favorite: Jolabokaflod. The Christmas book flood, in Iceland. On Christmas Eve, Icelanders exchange books, spend their night carried away in their magical worlds and eat lots and lots of chocolate.

 

FESTIVE CRAFTS:

Make the most of our our Worldwide Christmas Snapshot and turn it into fun, festive activities to introduce your little ones to Christmas delights from around the world with our easy DIY crafts and shenanigans here

Make your own Worldwide Christmas pop-up map to decorate the house and help your little ones learn to identify different countries.

SPREAD HOLIDAY JOY:

And of course, our Buddiful Christmas cards are the best (at least, in our mind!) way to do it. Simple, colorful, and ready for you to fill with wonderful words for your loved ones, all while helping support child literacy, too. Can’t get more merry than that.

Have a Whimsical, Wonderful Christmas

and a Quirky New Year!

 

We hope we'll meet again soon in a story,

Your Worldwide Buddies - Us