Here are ten captivating books about children from around the world. For those of you Reading Around the World, these are great books to start with to get your children excited about learning more. In particular, The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook by Deanna Cook and Michael Kline is a wonderful source of international recipes, activities, and trivia.
To Be a Kid (board book edition) by Maja Ajmera and John Ivanko. Emphasizes the similarities between children from around the world. According to Ajmera and Ivanko, “To be a kid means…” spending time with family, going to school, singing, dancing, and more. The artful layout and spare text of the board book edition of this book make the board book edition more striking than the full length edition. Ages 0+
One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley. Celebrates the variety of ways children around the world eat breakfast, travel to school, and engage in other everyday activities. The highlight of One World, One Day is the wonderful images of children from around the world. Barbary Kerley’s photography is phenomenal! Ages 2+
Nine O’Clock Lullaby by Marilyn Singer and Frane Lessac. Describes scenes from around the world happening at the same time that the child narrator is going to bed. “9 P.M. in Brooklyn, New York, is…10 P.M. in Puerto Rico…” the story begins. Nine O’Clock Lullaby describe scenes in the mid-Atlantic, England, and Zaire, among other places. My kids were fascinated to learn that the time of day changes as you travel around the globe. Ages 4+
Toot & Puddle by Holly Hobbie. The first in a series of adorable books about two best friends: Puddle the homebody and Toot the world traveler. In Toot and Puddle, Toot travels the world and sends postcards home to Puddle sharing his adventures. Ages 4+
Hottest Coldest Highest Deepest by Steve Jenkins. Full of facts to satisfy trivia-loving children. Readers will learn about the longest river in the world, the tallest mountain, and the highest waterfall. Hottest Coldest Highest Deepest features Steve Jenkins’ accomplished cut paper illustrations. Ages 4+
Amelia’s Fantastic Flight by Rose Bursik. A young girl named Amelia imagines building an airplane and traveling around the globe in one day, touching down in various countries along the way. I love the whimsical adventure depicted in this book. Ages 4+
The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook by Deanna Cook and Michael Kline. An excellent book for getting children excited about other countries. The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook includes facts about various countries, international games, and suggestions for throwing international parties. This cookbook is sufficiently entertaining that my six-year-old reads it for fun when we have no plans to cook. The recipes are easy-to-make and generally appealing to young children. Ages 5+
Children Just Like Me by Barnabas Kindersley and Anabel Kindersley. Contains two-page spreads each describing a child from somewhere in the world. Each spread describes a child’s family, home, favorite activities, etc. Children Just Like Me is not a book that can be read in one sitting. Instead, I first choose a part of the world to learn about and then let my children pick children to read about one at a time. Ages 5+
Wonderful Houses Around the World by Yoshio Komatsu and Akira Nishiyama. Invites readers to explore amazing and unique houses from around the world. For each house, a photograph of the outside of the house is paired with a detailed illustration of the inside of the house. The captions of the illustrations point out little details about each house – a bed with long legs that keeps people cool while sleeping, beans and chili peppers drying on a roof, pointed rooves where the gods are said to live, etc. Ages 6+
Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World by Selby Beeler and Brian Karas. Contains a sentence or two for each country explaining what happens when children in that country lose their teeth. For example, “Chile: I give my tooth to my mother. She will have it made into a charm, set in gold or silver, so I can wear it as a necklace or an earring.” Throw Your Tooth on the Roof is especially fun for children starting to lose their teeth. Ages 6+
Read Around the World Booklists:
- 3 Children’s Books About Maps
- 12 Children’s Books About Africa
- 10 Children’s Books About Europe
- 6 Children’s Books About Australia
- 10 Children’s Books About the Arctic
- 10 Children’s Books About South America
- 18 Children’s Books About Asia
Read Around the World — The Read Around the World booklists available in one place.
For Parents and Teachers — A collection of great educational 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 — A resource for librarians interested in sharing stories set in countries around the world with patrons.