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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

(Kenya)
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

(Pakistan)
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

(Zimbabwe)
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

(Netherlands)
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

(China/USA)
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

(Poland)
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

(Colombia)
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

(Ghana)
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

(Cuba)
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

(Japan)
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

(Egypt)
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

(China)
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

(Gambia)
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

(Paraguay)
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

(Syria)
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

(Thailand)
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

(Iceland)
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

(Japan)
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

Mirror
by Jeannie Baker

(Australia/Morocco)
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

(China)
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

(India)
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 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 want to make an 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!

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!

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!

Around the World with Picture Books Recommended by Our Readers


FREE Picture Book LIbrary Lists

All About Learning Press, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. All proceeds from our partnership with Amazon.com will be donated to local libraries.
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Cassie Logue

says:

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

says:

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!!!!

Maria

says:

Thank you for the suggestions! These are great

Svetlana

says:

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

says:

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!

Sarah

says:

This is awesome. So many ideas! Thank you

Gale

says:

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

Liralen

says:

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

Julia

says:

Thank you for all the great read aloud!

Becca

says:

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

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Becca,
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!

Janice

says:

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!

Tammy

says:

I love these book suggestions!
Thank you

Jennifer

says:

Awesome list! Thanks for sharing this resource.

Sarah

says:

Such a great list of books!

Andrea

says:

What a great list! Thanks for sharing!

Carmen

says:

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

Annette O'Donnell

says:

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

Brenda Scott

says:

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

Emily Reynolds

says:

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. 😊

Niusha

says:

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.

Iris

says:

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

Tara Strickland

says:

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

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

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

Joy

says:

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

Brooke Boyd

says:

These look great.

Dee

says:

My child is a visual learner so these books are awesome

Kayla

says:

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.

Ludimilla

says:

I love your aas and your aar books. They are great

Amy

says:

This is an awesome post! Thanks for putting it together. I’ll be using it in my homeschool.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Glad this will be helpful in your schooling, Amy. 😊

Carol

says:

Thank you so much for your book list. I just love it! And I know when I read it to my grandchildren and kids at school, they will love it, too!

Megan

says:

So many good books!

Christy

says:

Such a great list, thank you!

Lori

says:

I just searched my library for the ones from the countries we are about to study.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Any luck, Lori? I hope you were able to find all the titles you needed for your study.

Heather

says:

Love this list. What a great way to travel the world.

Jenn

says:

Such a lovely booklist to support around the world learning

Caroline Frahm

says:

Oh wow! These books look amazing. I would love to have these.

Michele Gerlach

says:

Love this list! It gives great perspective of other countries to young readers.

Laura

says:

Thanks for the wonderful recommendations!

chay

says:

This is awesome! i cannot wait to have one and read it with the girls!

Tracey

says:

What a great list!

Cinda Atwood

says:

Great list of books!

anne jetton

says:

Love “How to Make an Apple Pie!” one of our fall favorites to read!

Ashley

says:

We LOVE AAR! Not only the program, but the support, tips, and follow up blog posts like this!❤️

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Awww, thank you, Ashley! ❤️

Terrie

says:

A great way to show other countries.

Jessica R

says:

Lots of new books to explore! Time for a library trip! Thanks for this list!

Beth

says:

These would be great for our littles while the bigs are studying geography!! Bet the bigs would enjoy them too.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Beth,
I did just that a number of years ago using some of these books and others. Pulling in my little students while the older students studied geography made it much more of a family affair and more enjoyable for everyone. Also, consider cooking foods together from the regions you study. My kids loved eating from around the world, and we still prepare some of the dishes that we especially liked every now and then.

Kimberly Graves

says:

We love the book recommendation for Egypt!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It is a great one, Kimberly! 😊

Sue

says:

Loving the book recommendations here!

Tami

says:

Thank you for this list! We love learning about different places using picture books. This is a great list!

Madeline

says:

Great list! I’m looking forward to checking some of these out.

staci lyon

says:

so much fun to go exploring through books when you can’t go exploring any other way!! Pictures and words are amazing glimpses into what we can’t always experience in other ways!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We completely agree, Staci! 😊

Cary

says:

I love the idea of “traveling around the world” through books as a read-aloud theme.

Teresa W

says:

Thank you for the recommendations!

Mary Sanchez

says:

great list of books, any of these books in Spanish?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mary,
I wasn’t sure, but I spent some time searching and found a few in Spanish. Some of the others may be too and I just couldn’t find them.

The ones I found in Spanish:
Anno’s Journey – El Viaje de Anno
Ruby’s Wish – El Deseo De Ruby
Hush! A Thai Lullaby – ¡Silencio! Una Canción De Cuna Tailandesa
Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay – El Violín De Ada: La Historia De La Orquesta De Reciclados Del Paraguay
Crow Boy – Niño Cuervo
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music – Una Niña Un Tambor Un Sueno
Biblioburro: True Story from Colombia – Biblioburro: Una Historia Real De Colombia
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters – Las Bellas Dijas De Mufaro
Wangari’s Trees of Peace – Wangari y Los Arboles De La Paz

Kelly

says:

I love this idea. An fantastic way for children to experience different cultures in a way that will grab their attention.

HomeschoolME

says:

This is going to be very handy as we embark on our Around the World 1 series this next year. Thank you for sharing!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Glad to help. I hope you have lots of fun exploring the world next year!

Jaime L. Hendrickson

says:

I love so many of these books and I am sure I will discover many more from this list. Thank you!

Catherine

says:

This is awesome! It’s a great way to introduce kids to different parts of the world.

Sandy

says:

That’s a great resource! Thanks for the compilation!

Ong Puay Hoon

says:

Malaysia
1. Malaysian Children’s Favourite Stories by Kay Lyons
2. Land Below the Wind by Awang Fadilah
3. Puteri Gambus by Awang Fadilah
4. The Magic Buffalo by Jainal Amambing
5. Longhouse Days by Jainal Amambing

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for the recommendations for Malaysia! These are great.

Victoria Scott

says:

We love learning about different places around the world!!

Lisa Countiss

says:

I love this list. I work in a library and love using their books with my students.

Suanna

says:

We have read several of these books and others look interesting. thank you for sharing these books with us to help us visit other places.

Amy Lockhart

says:

What a great resource!

Melanie

says:

I love this. My oldest (25) has the travel bug. And some of these books would be great to help the littles understand where she’s been and going in the future. Also what she’s doing and why it’s so important.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

What a great way to bring your older and younger children closer together, Melanie! I love that books can help bridge the years that may separate those we love. 😊

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