English Language Czech Books for Children

Children's Books that bring the Czech Republic to Life

Eva Howlings

Written by Eva Howlings Published on 23.05.2011 15:00:35 (updated on 23.05.2011) Reading time: 4 minutes

If you’re staying in a country only a while, you’ll want your children to take away some knowledge of the country. If you plan to stay long term, it’s even more important that your relocated kids have an awareness of the culture and history of their new home. It’s great to read classic Czech books to your kids, like Little Mole and the poems all Czech kids know. Pictured above is an illustration from “Vařila myšička kašičku” or “The Mouse Cooked Porridge”. But while these are cute, and quintessentially Czech, they aren’t written to teach non-Czechs about life here. Following are some books that are. These books will resonate with your children and help them realize how lucky they are to live here.

On the topic of children’s books, please give any kid’s books you no longer read to the Class Acts/US Embassy Storybridge project. This book drive is collecting used books (in good condition) and setting up a dedicated English language children’s section in the Korunní city library in Vinohrady. Why not be philanthropic, and buy one of the books listed below to donate to the library? It would benefit many children.

Susie and Tom Travel the World by Karen York

This smartly-designed book stars two cartoon kids who are layered over real photos of Prague. Susie and Tom go on a discovery walk through Prague. They hear about a treasure, and want to find it. The kid-friendly map on the last page let’s you trace their footsteps. If you’re sightseeing, it would be good to pick this book up and carry it with you along with your adult guide books, stopping to read the pages when you reach another landmark. Or if you live here, play tourist one day so your child can appreciate that some people travel many miles to come here and admire our capital.

The Three Golden Keys by Peter Sís

Anyone who loves books, whether child or adult, should own a Peter Sís. The illustrations are intricate and evoke another world where inanimate objects come to life. The stories are mysterious and draw on local legends of Bruncvík, the Golem, and Master Hanus, builder of the Orloj astronomical clock. In addition to this must-have book, Peter Sís wrote The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain. This Caldecott honor book is a huge eye-opener for kids of expats who have a hard time understanding what the older generation had to live through, and how even new Czechs today have much work to do, to shift the shadow of a repressive regime.

Get it here: Prague bookstores, Amazon.com.

You Can Go Home Again by Jiřina Marton

This heartwarming tale had me sobbing during our evening story book session. A young lady grows up in Czech Republic as part of a worldly, well-educated family. During the war, it is decided she would be safer in Canada, so she leaves her family behind. Their properties are confiscated and there is no one is left when the girl, at last, can return. It is decades later, after the Velvet Revolution, and the girl is now a mother to a child of her own. This Czech-Canadian daughter has heard stories from her mother’s childhood and is determined to track down a certain treasure. It’s a wonderful story where a child’s naive perseverance actually pays off and everyone gets a wonderful surprise.

Get it here: we checked this book out from the Prague Christian Library

Eva’s Summer Vacation by Jan Machálek

Eva lives in Prague with her parents. Her Aunt is going to be married, so Eva flies to Moravia with her Dad for the traditional folk wedding. Dad returns to Prague but Eva stays on for her summer holidays, living the country life with her cousins. It’s a short and simple story, no lessons learned, no morals resolved: perfect for young children. On the last pages of the book you can find the Czech Republic on a map and read about demographic and cultural facts. Did you know that Moravian brides and grooms wear wreaths of rosemary? And koláček is translated as “plum scone”?

Get it here: we found this book at the Prague Christian Library

Prague Castle and its Secrets by Lucy Seifert (aka Lucie Seifertová)

What child can resist a pop-up book? This author has written and illustrated several, as well as a comic book version of the history of the Czech republic called A History of the Brave Czech Nation, which was awarded 2003’s Children’s Book of the Year. In Prague Castle and its Secrets, Lucy reveals a layer of intrigue and adventure that you would never know from just touring the castle grounds. She piles on the historical facts, but with a cheeky slant that kids will love. The Golden Lane is re-opening soon. Bring this book to the castle with your kids and spend a day thinking about princesses and dragons. Other books to seek out by this author include The Mysterious Golem and Magical Prague.

Get it here: Museum shop of Lobkowicz Castle at Prague Castle

Recommended for older readers:

Puppet Master by Joanne Owen
A Boy of Old Prague by Sulamith Ish-Kishor
The Cabinet of Wonders: The Kronos Chronicles: Book I by Marie Rutkoski
Ticket to Prague by James Watson


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