Around the World with Picture Books

Bring the world right into your living room! By sharing books with a wide range of settings, you can discover new lands, people, and customs and expand your child’s cultural horizons—no passport required!

Download our free library list to take with you on your next visit to the library.

Around the World - Wangari's Trees of Peace Book Cover

Wangari’s Trees of Peace:
A True Story from Africa

by Jeanette Winter

Wangari grew up under the canopy of the Kenyan rain forest. But when she returns to her homeland after years in America, she’s shocked to discover that there are hardly any trees left. Wangari is determined to change that and sets out to bring the green back to Africa.

Around the World - Four Feet Two Sandals book cover

Four Feet, Two Sandals
by Karen Lynn Willams
and Khandra Mohammed

A powerful way to introduce children to the plight of refugees all around the world, Four Feet, Two Sandals is a beautifully told tale of friendship, kindness, and hope in the midst of suffering and sadness. (War/refugee themes may not be suitable for all children.)

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale Book Cover

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters:
An African Tale

by John Steptoe

Mufaro has two beautiful daughters, but only one is kind. When a search is announced to find a beautiful woman who is also worthy to become the king’s wife, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters discover that kindness shown in secret may be more visible than you think.

Boxes for Katje Book Cover

Boxes for Katje
by Candace Fleming

In the dark days after WWII, the postman brings Katje a box filled with much-needed gifts. Suddenly a small kindness blossoms into full-blown friendship. But that’s just the beginning for two young girls, their families, and, eventually, their communities.

Crouching Tiger Book Cover

Crouching Tiger
by Ying Chang Compestine

Vinson is excited about Grandfather’s visit from China, but his excitement soon wears thin. Grandfather’s Tai Chi moves are too slow. And why does he keep calling Vinson Ming Da? But then Grandfather helps Vinson realize that being Chinese is pretty special.

The Cats in Krasinski Square Book Cover

The Cats in Krasinski Square
by Karen Hess

In this uplifting story of bravery and survival in the most difficult of times, a young girl devises a plan to smuggle food to hungry Jews in the Warsaw ghetto. Excitement and suspense grow as the girl and her feline friends work to outsmart the Gestapo.

Around the World - Biblioburro: A True Story from Columbia Book Cover

Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia
by Jeanette Winter

Luis loves books so much that he can’t stop collecting them, and now he’s filled his whole house with books. But Luis has a plan! With the help of his trusty burros, Alfa and Beto, he starts a mobile library, taking books to villages throughout Colombia so everyone can have a chance to enjoy them!

Around the World - Emmanuel's Dream Book Cover

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
by Laurie Ann Thompson

When a baby boy with a deformed leg is born in Ghana, no one thinks he can possibly amount to anything. But as Emmanuel grows up, he becomes determined to prove the opposite. He sets off on a difficult journey that will take him all across Ghana and bring new hope to disabled people.

Drum Dream Girl Book Cover

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music
by Margarita Engle

Based on true events, this colorful picture book tells the story of a young girl living in Cuba in an era when only boys and men were allowed to play the drums. But that doesn’t stop her from always imagining her own rhythms and beats! Will she ever be allowed to follow her dreams?

Crow Boy Book Cover

Crow Boy
by Taro Yashima

Chibi is different from the rest of the children at school. He’s always quiet, always alone, and he studies things that no one else would ever study. But the rest of the children are in for a surprise when a new teacher comes to school and shows them just how special Chibi really is.

The Egyptian Cinderella Book Cover

The Egyptian Cinderella
by Shirley Climo

One of the oldest known versions of the Cinderella tale is retold in this stunning picture book. Beautiful Rhodopis is devastated when one of her favorite rose-red slippers is stolen by a falcon. But when the falcon drops the slipper in front of the Pharaoh, Rhadopis has no idea how her life is about to change!

The Empty Pot Book Cover

The Empty Pot
by Demi

A flower-loving Emperor needs someone to succeed him, so every child is given a single flower seed. Whoever grows the most beautiful flower will become Emperor. But when Ping plants his seed, nothing sprouts. Will an empty pot and Ping’s hard work be enough to please the Emperor?

One Plastic Bag Book Cover

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia
by Miranda Paul

When the trash problem in her village becomes too big to ignore, Isatou decides to do something about it. She collects as many plastic bags as she can and finds a way to turn worthless trash into something much more valuable, earning money and cleaning up her village all at the same time!

Around the World - Ada's Violin book cover

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay
by Susan Hood

Ada lives in a village beside an enormous landfill. Every day, the pile of garbage grows bigger and bigger. But then a music teacher arrives with a crazy plan to recycle the trash for a very special purpose. Ada never imagined how his plan would change her life…and her village…forever!

Stepping Stones book cover

Stepping Stones:
A Refugee Family’s Journey

by Margriet Ruurs

Nizar Ali Badr’s stone-crafted illustrations provide a stunning and emotion-packed backdrop for Margriet Ruur’s powerful story of a family displaced by war. It’s a sad yet hopeful tale told in both English and Arabic. (War/refugee themes may not be suitable for all children.)

All the colors of the earth book cover

All the Colors of the Earth
by Sheila Hamanaka

(The World)
With poetic text and rich, colorful illustrations, ethnic and cultural diversity is explored and celebrated. Hair and skin color is described with imaginative comparisons to plants, animals, and spices, showing that every child is unique and supremely special.

Hush! A Thai Lullaby Book Cover

Hush! A Thai Lullaby
by Minfong Ho

In this soothing Caldecott medal-winning bedtime story, a Mother gently hushes a peeping lizard, a creeping cat, a leaping frog, a beeping duck, a sweeping buffalo, and even a shrieking elephant as her baby soundly sleeps. And before long, everyone is sleeping. Everyone that is, except the baby!

Around the World - The Problem with Chickens Book Cover

The Problem with Chickens
by Bruce McMillan

The ladies of an Icelandic farming village are out of eggs, so off they go to buy some chickens. At first, the ladies and the chickens are happy—until the chickens forget they’re chickens, that is! The ladies will have to come up with a very clever idea to solve their problem!

Grandfather's Journey Book Cover

Grandfather’s Journey
by Allen Say

Grandfather’s Journey traces a grandfather’s steps from the villages of Japan to the mountains of California and back again. Through the years, the strong attraction of the memories of “home” keeps the journey alive for generations of a Japanese-American family.

Around the World - The Polar Bear Son Book Cover

The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Tale
by Lydia Dabcovich

(Inuit People)
Travel to the icy world of the Arctic with this charming tale of an old woman and the polar bear cub she adopts as her son. As the bear cub grows up, he provides for the woman by hunting and catching food for her. But when his life is threatened by jealous villagers, will the old woman be able to save him?

Mirror Book Cover

by Jeannie Baker

Richly detailed collage illustrations grace the pages of this side-by-side wordless picture book. Parallel panels follow two boys and their families through a single day. The difference is that the boys live in very different places: one in a western city, the other in a North African village.

Ruby's Wish Book Cover

Ruby’s Wish
by Shirin Yim Bridges

At the turn of the century, most little girls in China didn’t go to school. But although Ruby loved school and wanted to keep learning, only the boys in her family went to university. Until one day when Ruby’s grandfather gave her a surprise that changed everything.

Anno's Journey Book Cover

Anno’s Journey
by Mitsumasa Anno

(Northern Europe)
Follow Anno as he rides through the streets and countryside of Northern Europe. In visually rich and often surprising detail, wordless pages tell the stories of each hamlet, farmyard, circus, and town square that Anno visits.

Grandfather Ghandi Book Cover

Grandfather Gandhi
by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus

Grandfather Gandhi offers a rare look into the private life of Mahatma Gandhi. As Arun Gandhi shares the lessons he learned growing up in his grandfather’s village, readers are drawn to appreciate and learn from the love and respect between a boy and his grandfather.

Around the World - Somewhere in the World Right Now Book Cover

Somewhere in the World Right Now by Stacey Schuett

(The World)
Have you ever wondered what the other side of the world is doing while you’re sound sleep? After all, when you lay your head down at the end of a day, a new day is just beginning somewhere else. Stacey Schuett explains world time zones in a lyrical and easy-to-understand way.

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World book cover

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman

(The World)
When you have a hankering for a piece of apple pie and the market is closed, what do you do? Well, you might have to stow away on a boat to Jamaica for sugar or hitch a ride to England for some cream. Because when you want apple pie, the world is your marketplace!

Around the World in 80 Poems

Around the World in 80 Poems
by James Berry

(The World)
This collection of colorful poems celebrates the diversity that makes up our world. You’ll find poems that will make you laugh and some that will make you cry. But together they will leave you feeling inspired and amazed by the uniqueness and the beauty of our world and the people who call it home.

Take Me Out to the Yakyu Book Cover

Take Me Out to the Yakyu
by Aaron Meshon

Baseball is popular in the United States, but it’s a fan favorite in Japan, too! Join a little boy and his grandfather at baseball (or yakyu!) games in both countries. The customs and the words may be different, but the game is the same no matter where you go!

The Field Book Cover

The Field
by Baptiste Paul

(The Caribbean)
Vibrant illustrations and fast, snappy prose bring a colorful Caribbean world to life as a group of children gather in their favorite place to play their favorite game. They don’t even care if it starts to rain or if they have to run in the mud—just so long as they can play ball!

FREE Around the World with Picture Books Library List

download around the world picture books library list

Are you ready to take your children around the world with picture books? The journey begins at your local library! Download our Around the World with Picture Books Library List.

cover of Give Your Child the World

If you’re looking for even more picture books from around the world, Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time by Jamie C. Martin (Simple Homeschool) is an absolute treasure. Filled with more than 600 carefully chosen books for kids of all ages, this book is a wonderful resource for any family!

Around the World with Picture Books Recommended by Our Readers

Is there a picture book from another country or culture that your family loves to read? Please share it in the comments and I’ll add it to our Readers’ Picks box!

FREE Picture Book LIbrary Lists

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Tracey Bradley


Is there a complete supply list of what we will need for this study guide?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m not sure what you are asking. This is a list of pictures books for enjoying together. There isn’t a study guide or supply list.

Please let me know if you have other questions or if I’m not understanding correctly.

Tracey Cannon Bradley


Hi! Sorry for the confusion! There are several great art projects and cooking activities. I’m trying to make a list of everything I’ll need for these activities

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Well, we don’t have any art projects or cooking activities on our website based on the theme of “around the world”. We do have ABC Crafts (upper case and lower case) and ABC Snacks recipes that include ingredients and supplies list.

Tracey Bradley


Hi does anyone have a list of chapter books that could go along with these picture books?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m not aware of a list of chapter books specifically. However, you may want to check out Sonlight or Bookshare. These curricula use literature to teach history and geography and have a great selection of chapter books set all over the world. I think you may find the books they use good suggestions.

Some great titles I can recommend:
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (a Chinese legend where a girl leaves home to bring fortune to her village)
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (a heart-touching tale about the lost boys of Sudan)
Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy (a legend from Arabia about a daughter that was worth more than seven sons)
Daughter of the Moutains by Louise S. Rankin (a Tibetian girl travels into India)
The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park (a very fun tale of two brothers and the Korean tradition of kite fighting competitions)



Hello, I will have a 5,3.5 and 2 year old this fall! I would love to do something like this in a very simple form and then cycle back again. My kids love stories and will sit through them well my oldest asks a lot of questions and gets very engaged! We’re almost done with our first chapter book. Little house in the big woods and she has love it. Would it be ok to start at age 5. I was thinking do the flag, find on the map, make a food and/or read something else about that country. Super simple. ???? Thoughts?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Such a great idea, Sandra!

There are lots of around the world craft ideas you could do as well. I find Pinterest especially helpful for that.

We have books here set in many different countries, but they’re also books available that have a chapter each for many different countries. Stories from Around the World by Heather Amery has 22 folk-tales from many countries. Children Just Like Me published by DK is non-fiction, but each two-page spread details one child and what his or her life is like, what foods they like, and so on.

I think you will have lots of fun with this!



Thank you for this list of books. If you are looking for one from our homeland, South Africa, a favorite of ours is Jamela’s Dress by Niki Daly. What’s Cooking Jamela is another of Jamela’s adventures and gives an African perspective on what Christmas looks like in a southern African township.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you so much for these recommendations, Debbie! They sound like great books to enjoy about South Africa.

Cassie Logue


I am so excited about this list! Thank you! We are doing an around the world geography study and this will supplement it perfectly!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this will be helpful for your geography study, Cassie. I hope you have lots of fun. ?

Alison O


I bought Give Your Child the
world. Now I have to read it.
We have only
Read one on this list, unfortunately. But I’m like Emmanuel (from one of the books on the list) and want them all!!!!



Thank you for the suggestions! These are great



Thank you for great selection of books!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Svetlana. I hope you find a lot of new favorites. ?

Loreen G


Love, love this! ❤️ I am definitely doing this next year. Sounds so fun and we love books around here so it’s perfect! Thanks for all the great ideas you share!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I love that this list of books excites you, Loreen. I hope you have lots and lots of fun traveling the world with books!



This is awesome. So many ideas! Thank you



What a great collection of books…so many I hadn’t heard of before.



This is a great list to complement our geography study this year.



Thank you for all the great read aloud!



I love this idea we are going to use it this summer.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I have thought that this collection of books would make a lovely little unit study. I hope you have lots of fun around the world this summer!



I wish I would’ve known about all these books when my kids were younger! I may still get them and read them with my 12- and 15yo!



I love these book suggestions!
Thank you



Awesome list! Thanks for sharing this resource.



Such a great list of books!



What a great list! Thanks for sharing!



Oh my goodness! Thank you for this list, it’s incredible!

Annette O'Donnell


These books look great for children. I love the authors.

Brenda Scott


Wow! What a great book list! As a bookaholic, this makes my heart swoon! ;)

Emily Reynolds


This is so helpful! Thank you for making it one of the links from the contest! I wouldn’t have come across it otherwise!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Emily. ?



These books are a wonderful way to engage a reader with beautiful art and share cultures whole reinforcing words, phonemes and, thus spelling that is familiar.



I love to teach my kids about other cultures and now I know many more resources, thank you!!

Tara Strickland


Love using books to supplement out studies of countries. This list has so many great suggestions.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Using literature to add to your studies is such a wonderful way to encourage a love of books and a love of learning! ?



I’m a book fanatic and these are really useful. Thanks!

Brooke Boyd


These look great.



My child is a visual learner so these books are awesome



Thank you for putting this list together and sharing. There’s a few we already enjoy, glad to have more to add to my list.