Read Around the World

My kids and I have had fun taking two imaginary trips around the world. Our imaginary trips have consisted of choosing a new continent every couple of weeks and reading stories set in that continent.

During our second trip, I compiled booklists of the very best books I could find and posted booklists and reviews here at Delightful Children’s Books. (See Read Around the World booklists below.) I searched for stories that entertain as well as give kids information about what it is like to live in a different part of the world today.

I hope that these Read Around the World booklists will inspire teachers and parents to take an imaginary trip around the world with their kids. Your trip around the world could consist simply of reading one book from each of the booklists below. If you are feeling more ambitious, your trip around the world could include trying new foods, listening to new music, or having your kids earn passport stamps.

Read Around the World

* Click on each booklist link for book reviews and images!

Maps

  • Mapping Penny’s World by Loreen Leedy. Ages 4+
  • Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney and Annette Cable. Ages 4+
  • Our World: A Child’s First Picture Atlas by National Geographic. Ages 3+
  • Beginner’s World Atlas: A First Atlas for Beginning Explorers by National Geographic Society. Ages 5+

Children Around the World

  • To Be a Kid by Maja Ajmera and John Ivanko (board book edition). Ages 0+
  • One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley. Ages 2+
  • Nine O’Clock Lullaby by Marilyn Singer and Frane Lessac. Ages 4+
  • Toot & Puddle by Holly Hobbie. Ages 4+
  • Hottest Coldest Highest Deepest by Steve Jenkins. Ages 4+
  • Amelia’s Fantastic Flight by Rose Bursik. Ages 4+
  • The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook by Deanna Cook and Michael Kline. Ages 5+
  • Children Just Like Me by Barnabas Kindersley and Anabel Kindersley. Ages 5+
  • Wonderful Houses Around the World by Yoshio Komatsu. Ages 6+
  • Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World by Selby Beeler and Brian Karas. Ages 6+

Africa

  • I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakité and Baba Wagué Diakité. Ages 3+
  • My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me by Maya Angelou and Margaret Courtney-Clarke. Ages 3+
  • For You are a Kenyan Child by Kelly Cunnane and Ana Juan. Ages 3+
  • Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams and Catherine Stock. Ages 4+
  • The Butter Man by Elizabeth Alalou, Ali Alalou, and Julie Essakalli. Ages 4+
  • Mama Panya’s Pancakes by Mary and Rich Chamberlin and Julia Cairns. Ages 4+
  • Boundless Grace by Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch. Ages 4+
  • My Father’s Shop by Satomi Ichikawa. Ages 4+
  • What’s Cooking, Jamela? by Niki Daly. Ages 4+
  • Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier and Lori Lohstoeter. Ages 4+
  • Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire Nivola. Ages 4+
  • My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa Mollel and E. B. Lewis. Ages 5+
  • Nii Kwei’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a Ghanaian City by Francis Provencal and Catherine McNamara. Ages 5+
  • The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Heide, Judith Gilliland, and Ted Lewin. Ages 5+

Europe

  • The Cat Who Walked Across France by Kate Banks and Georg Hallensleben. Ages 3+
  • Starting School by Janet Ahlberg and Allan Ahlberg. Ages 3+
  • Olivia Goes to Venice by Ian Falconer. Ages 3+
  • Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco. Ages 4+
  • Gabriella’s Song by Candace Fleming and Giselle Potter. Ages 4+
  • Market Day by Eve Bunting and Holly Berry. Ages 4+
  • Polina’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a Russian City by Andrey Ilyin. Ages 5+
  • This is London by Miroslav Sasek. Ages 5+
  • The Greatest Skating Race by Louise Borden and Niki Daly. Ages 6+
  • Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Cristina Bjork and Lena Anderson. Ages 6+

Australia

  • Big Rain Coming by Katrina Germein and Bronwyn Bancroft. Ages 3+
  • Possum Magic by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas. Ages 3+
  • Home by Jeannie Baker. Ages 3+
  • Why I Love Australia by Bronwyn Bancroft. Ages 4+
  • Are We There Yet? by Alison Lester. Ages 5+
  • My Farm by Alison Lester. Ages 6+

The Arctic

  • Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Josse. Ages 2+
  • Kumak’s Fish by Michael Bania. Ages 3+
  • Berry Magic by Teri Sloat and Betty Huffmon. Ages 3+
  • The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Tale by Lydia Dabcovich. Ages 3+
  • Whale Snow by Debby Edwardson and Annie Patterson. Ages 4+
  • Building an Igloo by Ulli Steltzer. Ages 4+
  • Ookpik by Bruce Hiscock. Ages 4+
  • Sled Dogs Run by Jonathan London and Jon Van Zyle. Ages 4+
  • Arctic Son by Jean George and Wendell Minor. Ages 4+
  • North Pole, South Pole by Nancy Levinson and Diane Hearn. Ages 4+

South America

  • Up and Down the Andes by Laurie Krebs and Aurelia Fronty. Ages 3+
  • For the Love of Soccer! by Pelé and Frank Morrison. Ages 3+
  • The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan Mitchell and Connie McLennan. Ages 3+
  • A Pen Pal for Max by Gloria Rand and Ted Rand. Ages 4+
  • Me llamo Gabriela by Monica Brown and John Parra. Ages 4+
  • On the Pampas by María Cristina Brusca. Ages 5+
  • Cássio’s Day: From Dusk to Dawn in a Brazilian Village by Maria de Fatima Campos. Ages 5+
  • Victoria Goes to Brazil by Maria de Fatima Campos. Ages 6+
  • To Go Singing through the World: The Childhood of Pablo Neruda by Deborah Kogan Ray. Ages 6+

Asia

  • Peek!: A Thai Hide-and-Seek by Minfong Ho and Holly Meade. Ages 2+
  • My Cat Copies Me by Yoon-duck Kwon. Ages 2+
  • What Should I Make? by Nandini Nayar and Proiti Roy. Ages 3+
  • Ten Mice for Tet by Pegi Dietz Shea, Cynthia Weill, To Ngoc Trang, and Pham Viet Dinh. Ages 3+
  • Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park and Ho Baek Lee. Ages 3+
  • Silly Chicken by Rukhsana Khan and Yunmee Kyong. Ages 4+
  • I Live in Tokyo by Mari Takabayashi. Ages 4+
  • Cherry Tree by Ruskin Bond and Allan Eitzen. Ages 4+
  • Rice is Life by Rita Golden Gelman and Yangsook Choi. Ages 4+
  • The Trip Back Home by Janet Wong and Bo Jia. Ages 4+
  • Monsoon by Uma Krishnaswami and Jamel Akib. Ages 4+
  • Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges and Sophie Blackall. Ages 5+
  • The White Nights of Ramadan by Maha Addasi and Ned Gannon. Ages 5+
  • Geeta’s Day by Prodeepta Das. Ages 5+
  • Sitti’s Secrets by Naomi Shihah Nye and Nancy Carpenter. Ages 5+
  • Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams, Khadra Mohammed, and Doug Chayka. Ages 5+
  • Shanyi Goes to China by Sungwan So. Ages 6+
  • Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein and Ed Young. Ages 6+

Educational Resources

  • National Geographic Kids Website
  • Flags of the World Website
  • Pretend Passport Template
  • Smithsonian Folkways’ YouTube Channel
  • The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook by Deanna Cook
  • Illustrated Children’s Map of the World
  • GeoPuzzles
  • World Map Shower Curtain

Additional Resources:

For Parents and Teachers — A collection of excellent resources for teaching kids about other countries, including a pretend passport template, the best source for free printable flags, a kids’ multicultural cookbook and much more.

For Librarians — Suggestions for librarians interested in sharing stories set in countries around the world with patrons.

Read Around the World: Highlights — My very favorite books and authors as well as links to international recipes, activities, and book reviews.

Pinterest boards:

37 Responses to Read Around the World

  1. Michele says:

    I love the booklist you have put together! We are planning to read around the world next year, and was wondering what books you would recommend for North America…(we are here in South Africa)

  2. michelle says:

    fabulous list! I’ve pinned it so I can keep better track. I love the idea of having your kids take a trip around the world like this. I’m going to have to go through our stuff and try to organize it similarly.

  3. Pinning your great list. Thanks for linking up to Multicultural Children’s Book Day (Jan 27th).

  4. Lynne Taylor says:

    This is exactly what I was looking for in planning the upcoming school year for a 2nd grade class! Thank you soooooo much for taking the time to compile this. Lynne

  5. MamaPruden says:

    I just want to say thank you for doing all this researching and listing for me. I appreciate what you have here so much! We will be using this list with out studies this year. :)

  6. Maria says:

    It seems that I’ve come across this listing a couple years down the road. However, no less exciting! I work as a speech therapist and love using books as a way to target language and speech goals. Just this week we read Jan Brett’s “The Umbrella” set in Costa Rica and the kids had so much fun learning (and trying to say) “kinkajou” and “quetzal.” I will have to definitely get some more books from this list. Thank you!

  7. Gajinder says:

    I process inbliertrary loans at my library so Firstsearch and I are tight We teach our students how to use WorldCat though and one day a few months ago when I was showing a student how to do an ILL request I notices the create an account link so had to investigate later. I was keeping up with Goodreads at the time though so after creating an account didn’t do anything else. But lately I’ve been playing with WorldCat because the search is so much better than Goodreads and there is also more room for browsing and finding things serendiptously.

  8. Laura Arrowsmith says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful list of books around world! I’m a homeschooling mom and I’m about to teach a class called “Stories Around the World” and I’m using your list. It’s such a wonderful resource!

  9. leah says:

    Brilliant list! Have you thought of adding in the Pacific or perhaps expanding Australia to Australasia to include the pacific and New Zealand?

  10. Heidi Gill says:

    Hi Amy. I think this is a wonderful site filled with great information to teach kids about the world. My husband (East Indian) and I (Caucasian) have always wanted to teach our children about different cultures and languages. About three years ago I began the process of writing my own because of the limited books I had found… I recently published a children’s picture book series called 2 Kurious Kids where my 2 kids travel to different countries to learn the basics of the culture and teach them the language (there are over fifty translated words in each book!) Check out my FB page and if you are interested I can send you a copy! Thanks!!!

    http://www.facebook.com/2KuriousKids

  11. LN says:

    Thank you so much for doing this! Such an awesome list!
    GREAT website! Again, thank you so much for sharing!

  12. lizschuldt says:

    I love children’s books that allow you to travel around the world. I LOVE to travel. If any mommies are interested in a great travel memoir (this is more of memoir, not necessarily a children’s book), check out Jim Harlan’s latest memoir, “Drifting on a Headwind.” It is a fantastic book that takes you into some of the most remote corners of the earth. I didn’t read the entire book to my children, but shared some of the adventures in the book with them- it really did broaden both mine and my children’s horizons.

    http://uncommonadventurespress.com/

  13. Jen says:

    For Egypt, here is a modern day book: Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Heide. Very realistic drawings, trust me, I’ve been there :).

    • Amy says:

      Thanks for mentioning Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland! I like that book and seriously considered including it on my Africa booklist.

      • Amy says:

        I see that I did include it on the list above but not on the Africa booklist with reviews. Some serious waffling going on with that book…and with For You are Kenyan Child.

  14. Tamsyn says:

    This is a phenomenal compilation!

    I would like to add a folk tale from Armenia — The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale (Marshall Cavendish) — to this list.

  15. Jo Schenkel says:

    A brilliant list! Thanks for taking the time and effort. This will save lots of other TLs hours of work for compiling lists for Book Week. Shall link to my own library blog!

  16. Susan says:

    This is a great list. I’ll have to bookmark this for future reference, I was thinking about doing an around the world study next year. Thank you for sharing. :0)

    Found you through the Homeschooling Carnival at Garden of Learning. I’m a new subscriber.

  17. Ali says:

    Amy,
    I can’t begin to tell you what an amazing resource this has been for us. So far we’ve read 3 of the books on your list (all from the “map” or “general” lists) and the kids have loved them. I’m excited to sit down with them, put the globe on the bed and really dig in to discovering the world with them.

  18. I would recommend the Tell Me a Story audiobook folktale series by Amy Friedman; Amanda Lumry’s Adventures of Riley series, and …

    GRANDMOTHERS’ STORIES; Wise Woman Tales from Many Cultures by Burleigh Muten, ed

    SIKULU AND HARAMBE BY THE ZAMBEZI RIVER: An African Version of the Good Samaritan Story by Kunle Oguneye

    A BAOBAB IS BIG AND OTHER VERSES FROM AFRICA by Jacqui Taylor

    MAMA PANYA’s PANCAKES; A Village Tale from Kenya by Mary Chamberlin and Rich Chamberlin

    We have reviewed all the Friedman and Lumry books, but it’s easier to just search them in the Reading Tub than add a bunch of links.

  19. sarah says:

    This is a great idea. One book I thought of was On the Same Day in March: A Tour of the World’s Weather.

    • Amy says:

      This sounds neat! My children were fascinated by Nine O’Clock Lullaby and thinking about how it could be a different time of day in a different part of the world. I bet they would enjoy On the Same Day for the same reason.

  20. Robyn says:

    I loved the series called Families Around the World by Helene Tremblay. They may be too old for your children yet, and they’re outdated too, but man, they really show how similar families are all over, despite their very different lives!

    • Amy says:

      It is sad when great books become dated, as many books with wonderful photographs do. I also love Ann Morris’s series of books — Bread, Bread, Bread; On the Go; Shoes, Shoes, Shoes, etc. Each has images of children from around the world eating different kinds of bread, wearing different kinds of shoes, etc. I still read these to my kids and we really enjoy them, but they didn’t make the list because I decided that the images seemed too dated.

    • Denis Guignier says:

      Very well, Robyn!

  21. Meemah says:

    Exciting to look forward to a trip around the world. One place I’ve always wanted to go, but doubt I’ll ever get there now is Egypt. Are we going there?

    • Amy says:

      I will keep my eye out for a good children’s book set in Egypt. I can’t think of one off the top of my head, but this is a good idea!

    • Kori Ireland says:

      On another blog there is a list of books she used to study different countries. Egypt is one.
      This link is to her Africa page – scroll down a little for Egypt and there is an Amazon carousel to the books they used.

      http://homeschoolcreations.com/Africa.html

      • Amy says:

        The site you shared is a nice resource. There are many children’s books available about ancient Egypt. For this Read Around the World series, I focused on looking for great, entertaining stories that would give kids a sense of what it is like to live elsewhere in the world today.

  22. Great list! So far on my challenge, I’ve read only books from Africa: http://bookdads.com/my-read-around-the-world-challenge/

    I look forward to following your travels!

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