Hopping on a plane to explore the world is impossible with a house full of children and adult responsibilities. But we can bring the world to our living room with stories from around the world. Picture books based around the world can introduce your children to world cultures, foods, religions, history, and geography. They provide a beautiful basis for our family to learn more about the world around us.
Children may be most familiar with the countries in North America, so this is a great place to start.
Adele and Simon in America Adele and Simon travel across America, from New York to Boston to San Francisco on a massive train trip.
Very First Last Time This story of mussel fishing under the ice in northern Canada explores the culture of the Inuit people. Filled with adventure, it’s one of our family favorites.
M is for Maple A shining tribute to Canada, you’ll explore the Northern Lights and the brave Canadian Mounties.
The Tortilla Factory Planning a taco night for your family? You’ll want to read this book first. This selection gives a glimpse into the people behind the tortillas. You’ll meet the farmers, the factory workers, and more.
Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia Luis loves to read, but soon his house in Colombia is so full of books there’s barely room for the family. What to do? Then he comes up with the perfect solution —a traveling library! He buys two donkeys,Alfa and Beto, and travels with them throughout the land, bringing books and reading to the children in faraway villages.
Carolina’s Gift: A Story of Peru A young girl living in a village in Peru visits the Sunday market in search of a birthday gift for her grandmother.
Hop across the Atlantic and head to Europe where we’ll learn about a few of the many countries located there.
Madeline and the Cats of Rome This modern follow-up to the 1939 classic Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans was written by the author’s grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano. Madeline and her friends leave their schoolhouse in Paris and travel to Rome for a spring vacation adventure.
The Cat Who Walked Across France A cat whose owner has passed away travels across France in search of a new home. Vivid full-page illustrations depict the French countryside in all its glory.
Fiona’s Luck Fiona is a clever, witty heroine who makes her own luck instead of relying on magic. She outsmarts the Leprechaun King who has locked all the luck in Ireland away in a chest.
B is for Big Ben: An England Alphabet A beautiful introduction to England and English culture with many of England’s famous landmarks like Big Ben and Stonehenge. Cheerful illustrations and the simple format make this book accessible for kids of a wide age range.
Mom Tip: Print blank WonderMaps, and let your children color them while you read.
Continue east to Asia, where we’ll stop in India and Japan.
The Story of Little Babaji This family favorite tells a humorous and magical tale of a boy who has a strange encounter with a group of tigers. Guaranteed giggles!
Mama’s Saris A little girl is fascinated by her mother’s collection of beautiful saris and longs to wear one herself. This story of a mother and daughter is an excellent introduction to Indian culture.
The Way We Do It in Japan When an American boy moves with his parents from California to Japan, he discovers a whole new way of life. It seems that everything – eating, sleeping, and even taking a bath – is different in Japan.
This is Australia This classic picture book is packed with fascinating facts about the world’s largest island, including the country’s history, culture, architecture, people, and wildlife. Dozens of detailed illustrations depict the beauty of the different regions.
Kangaroo and Crocodile: My Big Book of Australian Animals This delightful book highlights the dozens of animals that are native to Australia, complete with vibrant full color illustrations.
For You Are a Kenyan Child This vividly illustrated book follows a day in the life of a Kenyan boy. It illuminates the similarities between Kenyan children and children all over the world.
Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain This book is a retelling of a traditional Nandi folklore and depicts the picturesque landscapes of Africa’s Kapiti Plain.
Wrap up your world tour at the Poles, exploring the Arctic Circle and Antarctica.
Sophie Scott Goes South Imagine if your father was the captain of an icebreaker ship? Sophie South gets to travel with him from Australia to Mawson Station in Antarctica. The illustrations are a mix of photographs and childlike drawings where Sophie records what she sees.
North Pole, South Pole Do you ever mix up facts about the North and South Poles? This selection uses straightforward text and pictures to help children understand key information about each of these regions.