16 Books From 16 Countries

This booklist — inspired by the 2011 World Cup — is a collection of wonderful picture books from (or set in) the 16 countries participating in the 2011 World Cup. I selected books to appeal to kids ages six to nine who may be watching and enjoying the World Cup. I have also highlighted fourteen amazing authors worth checking out (if you do not know them already) and included links to their websites. This is a wonderfully diverse booklist with lots of gems.

AUSTRALIA

Are We There Yet? by Alison Lester. (2005 Children’s Book of the Year Award) A humorous and informative tale about a family’s three-month trip around Australia. Ages 5+

  • Henry and Amy by Stephen Michael King. Ages 4+
  • Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley. Ages 4+
  • Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks. (2001 Children’s Book of the Year Award) Ages 8+

BRAZIL

Young Pelé: Soccer’s First Star by Lesa Cline-Ransom and James Ransome. A story about Brazilian soccer star Pelé’s early days that will fascinate young soccer stars. Ages 4+

  • The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan Mitchell and Connie McLellan. Ages 4+
  • Cássio’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a Brazilian Village by Maria de Fatima Campos. Ages 5+

CANADA

The Subway Mouse by Barbara Reid. An adventure story starring a mouse that lives in a subway station but longs to see more of the world. Ages 4+

  • Stella, Star of the Sea by Marie-Louise Gay. Ages 3+
  • The Loon’s Necklace by William Toye and Elizabeth Cleaver. Ages 5+
  • Duncan’s Way by Ian Wallace. Ages 6+

COLOMBIA

Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia by Jeannette Winter. The true story of a Colombian man Luis Soriana who devised a novel plan for sharing his love of books with others. Ages 4+

ENGLAND

I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child. (2000 Kate Greenaway Medal) An offbeat, humorous story about an older sibling Charlie convincing a younger sibling Lola to try new foods. Ages 4+

  • Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with no Feathers by John Burningham. (1963 Kate Greenaway Medal) Ages 3+
  • Wolves by Emily Gravett. (2005 Kate Greenaway Medal) Ages 5+
  • This is London by Miroslav Sasek. Ages 6+
  • War Game by Michael Foreman. Ages 8+

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

Africa is Not a Country by Margy Burns Knight. A collection of vignettes about children who live in each of the 53 countries that make up Africa. Ages 6+

FRANCE

Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Björk and Lena Anderson. A charming story about a girl Linnea and her friend Mr. Bloom traveling to Paris and to Monet’s garden. A captivating introduction to Paris and to Monet’s artwork. Ages 6+

  • Crictor by Tomi Ungerer. Ages 5+
  • Adèle and Simon by Barbara McClintock. Ages 5+
  • This is Paris by Miroslav Sasek. Ages 6+

GERMANY

Mrs. Meyer the Bird by Wolf Erlbruch. A story about an anxious woman who devotes herself to caring for an abandoned bird, with unexpected results. Ages 4+

  • The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle von Olfers. Ages 4+
  • Grandpa’s Angel by Jutta Bauer. Ages 7+

JAPAN

I Live in Tokyo by Mari Takabayashi. Describes the big events and celebrations that occur in a year in the life of seven-year-old Mimiko. Ages 4+

  • Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein and Ed Young. Ages 5+

KOREA

Yunmi and Halmoni’s Trip by Sook Nyul Choi and Karen Dugan. A story about a girl and her grandmother’s trip to visit Korean friends and relatives in Korea that offers a nice introduction to Korean culture. Ages 5+

  • Bee-bim Bop by Linda Sue Park and Ho Baek Lee. Ages 3+
  • The Trip Back Home by Janet Wong and Bo Jia. Ages 4+

MEXICO

Elena’s Serenade by Campbell Geeslin and Ana Juan. A fanciful story about a girl who disguises herself as a boy to become a glass blower. Ages 4+

  • Hill of Fire by Thomas Lewis and Joan Sandin. Ages 4+
  • Diego by Jonah Winter and Jeanette Winter. Ages 5+
  • The Spirit of Tio Fernando: A Day of the Dead Story by Janice Levy, Morella Fuenmayor, and Teresa Mlawer. Ages 5+

NEW ZEALAND

Beaten by a Balloon by Margaret Mahy and Jonathan Allen. An offbeat story about a boy whose parents do not permit him to play with weapons, who manages to become a hero for a day. Ages 4+

  • Tahi: One Lucky Kiwi by Melanie Drewery, Ali Teo, and John O’Reilly. (2008 New Zealand Post Picture Book Award) Ages 5+

NIGERIA

Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke and Lauren Tobia. The first in a series of delightful early chapter books about a girl who lives in Nigeria. Ages 4+

  • Why the Sky is Far Away: A Nigerian Folktale by Mary-Joan Gerson and Carla Golembe. Ages 5+

NORWAY

The Race of the Birkenbeiners by Lise Lunge-Larsen and Mary Azarian. A story set in medieval Norway about a group of warriors who ski a young prince to safety. Ages 5+

SWEDEN

Can You Whistle, Johanna? by Ulf Stark and Anna Höglund. A sweet story about a boy without a grandfather who adopts one from the old people’s home. Ages 5+

  • Mini Mia and her Darling Uncle by Pija Lindenbaum and Elisabeth Dyssegaard. Ages 4+
  • Pancakes for Findus by Sven Nordqvist. Ages 5+

UNITED STATES

Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser and Claire Nivola. The story of poet Emma Lazarus who wrote the famous words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor; Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” Ages 6+

  • Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. (1942 Caldecott Medal) Ages 3+
  • Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes. Ages 4+
  • Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney. Ages 5+
  • Flotsam by David Wiesner. (2007 Caldecott Medal) Ages 5+
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6 Responses to 16 Books From 16 Countries

  1. Natalie says:

    How awesome. I found this link on FB and now added you to my feed. I am also pinning this post :)

  2. Kali says:

    Love your site! This is an awesome list of books…I love exposing my kiddos to the world through Children’s Literature! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Holly says:

    Great list! We haven’t read most of these books–we’ll definitely have to check them out.

  4. I adore Anna Hibiscus – such a sweet character and beautiful storytelling. The others are new to me – I’m looking forward to reading them, thanks!

  5. What a great list. We live in England and my daughter loves Charlie &Lola,too. I would love it if you linked up to Book Sharing Monday (a weekly meme)on my blog.Thanks in advance.

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