Windmills and wooden shoes, cheese and canals; The Netherlands is a unique land all it's own.
There are several entertaining story books which make the Netherlands come alive for children.
The Hole in the Dike (A Blue Ribbon Book) - This picture book tells the classic story of a little boy who saved the town from being flooded by sticking his finger in a hole in the dike. Canals and dikes are extremely important in Holland to this day. Many people live in house boats on the canals and there are still some villages where the family boat is more important than the family car.
In The Wheel on the School the children work together to bring the storks back to their village. By reading this exciting story children learn about the Netherlands, but also how friendship and determination can help one accomplish goals.
The Little Riders is a World War II story of Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. In this gentle introduction to one of the horrors of war, a child does everything possible to protect the twelve metal figures from the church tower which the Nazis want to melt down into weapons.
The Dutch Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins is one book in a series that follows a set of twins through adventures unique to their cultural background. This book is free in audio form on Librivox.
Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge is woven around a town contest where the fastest skater will win a pair of silver ice skates. Hans, a poor child, his sister Gretel, and their mother struggle to support themselves and their invalid father. While the children long to enter the contest, they can't afford proper skates. Though the characters face difficult situations, the story has a happy ending and I recommend it for children ages 8 and up. (It's free on Librivox too.)
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