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Around the World in 30 Books! Great Summer Reading

Use this great list of picture books about countries & cities around the world to raise a global citizen!

Summer is a great time to delve into some books that highlight cultures and traditions outside your own family.

The books on this list explore how others across the globe, eat, live, and spend their days.

North America

CANADA: Canada All Year shares the travels of three animal friends as they experience some of the fun events and traditions of the country. The book covers all areas of Canada and highlights seasonal activities for each month of the year. Ages 2 - 7 years

NEW YORK CITY (United States): Although I wasn't crazy over the rhyming text in Larry Gets Lost in New York City , Larry, a dog, gets lost in New York City (and experiences all the sights and sounds as he looks for his family). And if you enjoyed Larry's trip through NYC, check out his other travels in this book series ! Ages 3 - 8 years.

UNITED STATES: To get an idea of the variety of cultures, traditions and landscape across the United States, read Wow! America! with the kids. Follow Izzy and her sister as they criss-cross the country seeing some of the outstanding landmarks and geography. Ages 3 - 8 years.

MEXICO: Off We Go to Mexico is an amazingly colorful walk through the country! Kids will enjoy the lyrical verse on each page along with the vocabulary words. There's quite a bit of detail on each page so allow kids to linger and ask questions. The story is also offered in a Spanish edition, Nos Vamos a Mexico! Ages 3 - 9 years.

Central/Latin America

HONDURAS In The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough , the reader learns how a family from Honduras is able to make a living my producing their own garden. Books with topics like this are great to introduce to kids so they are able to see how families around the world live and work. Ages 5 - 12+ years.

GUATEMALA: This is a unique story in that it takes place in Central America but is a story about Chinese immigrants who moved to the area. Mama & Papa Have A Store shares the blending of two cultures as a family opens a fabric store in Guatemala. The colorful illustations can tell their own story but are brought to life through the descriptive text. Ages 4 - 9 years.

CARIBBEAN: Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) is a beautiful and extremely educational look at the culture and geography of the Caribbean Islands. Ages 3 - 11 years.

South America

PERU: In Up and Down the Andes , the reader has the opportunity to meet children from around Peru who are all traveling to one of their festivals -- each using a different type of transportation to get there. Ages 3 - 8 years.

COLUMBIA: Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia Biblioburro is a factual account of one librarian in Columbia who overcomes the local terrain in order to deliver books to children. Not all libraries are housed in buldings! Ages 3 - 8 years.

BRAZIL: Children will quickly identify with the daily living shared in Cassio's Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a Brazilian Village. The books makes it easy to notice some similarities in how children live across different countries while also learning about the cultural differences. Ages 3 - 8 years.


LONDON (England): Enjoy the wonderful sites and culture of England with A Walk in London . Follow along as a mom and daughter explore some of the best landmarks and spots in the big city. Lots of trivia and a great fold-out section in the back! Ages 3 - 11 years.

VENICE (Italy): Explore one of the most famous city's in Itay through This Is Venice . Learn about the famous landmarks, culture and wonderful details of this gorgeous European city -- along with some fun facts and beautiful illustrations. Ages 3 - 12 years.

PARIS (France): Enjoy a young girls' experiences in Paris in Postmark Paris: A Story in Stamps . Fun journal-like pages showcase the family's move to the city for a year, some of the sights of Paris and the beautiful stamps that are used as souvenirs for friends back in the states. Ages 3 - 9 years.

SPAIN: This is one of those books where a picture is worth a thousand words! Anno's Spain is a gorgeous, wordless book that features some of the beautiful places across the country of Spain. Kids will adore searching through the details of each illustration as they discover some of the wonderful landmarks and geographic beauty of the country. Ages 3 - 11 years.

RUSSIA: Russia ABCs: A Book About the People and Places of Russia gives many details about the culture, geography and traditions of the people and country. Ages 4 - 10 years.


This is a must-start-with book! Africa Is Not A Country does a wonderful job of explaining the uniqueness of various countries on the continent. So many kids think that Africa is a country so this book will really be a wealth of knowledge. Ages 4 - 10 years.

CAIRO (Egypt): Go on a trip around Egypt with your two favorite chihuahuas in Let's Visit Cairo!: Adventures of Bella & Harry. Kids will love to see how much of the ancient culture (the pyramids and Valley of the Kings) still remains in Cairo today. Plus, learn some basic Arabic and hieroglypics too! Ages 3 - 9 years.

MOROCCO: Mirror is a great read that showcases the day-in-the-life of a child in Morocco and in Australia (mirror images). Kids will enjoy seeing the similarities and differences that take place during everyday life in two countries. Ages 3 - 9 years.

TANZANIA: Head to the classroom on the first day of school with Elizabeti's School . See the similarities and differences as you compare school in Tanzania with school in your own country. Ages 3 - 8 years.

MALI: I Lost My Tooth In Africa is a fun look at a childhood right of passage. Amina wants nothing more than to lose her tooth during her family's trip to Africa -- then she can place it under a guord for the African Tooth Fairy who will exchange it for two chickens. Children will love to learn more about how traditions change across countries. Ages 3 - 8 years.

GHANA: Another book from a great publisher (CitizenKid), One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference is based on a true story of how one person can change a whole community. Kojo, a young boy, receives a loan to buy one hen in order to start his own business. That invest goes on to benefit a whole village. This is a great book for kids of all ages -- even teens! Ages 5 - 12+ years.


AUSTRALIA: Are We There Yet? is the summary of a one-of-a-kind road trip across Australia! Follow 8-year-old Grace and her family across the continent as we learn about the wonderful diversity of the country. Enjoy the layout of the story (which is more like a family photo album) and map. Ages 3 - 9 years.

AUSTRALIA: And since Australia is both a country and a continent, I thought it deserved two choices ;)

D is for Down Under: An Australia Alphabet shares all the wonderful things about the country and continent of Australia. This is part of a book series that has titles for many countries. I really like the breadth of the content which covers some of the history, geography, animals and natural formations of the country. Ages 4 - 10 years.


JAPAN: I Live in Tokyo Read about the experiences of Mimiko, a 7-year-old, as she introduces us to some of the food, celebrations and traditions of Tokyo. Ages 3 - 10 years.

IRAQ: Any reader will fall in love with the determination of The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq . Based on the true story of a librarian who worked to save a priceless collection of books in a war-torn country, this story shows a peek into some of the culture, values and traditions of Iraq and its people. Ages 5 - 12 years.

CHINA: My China Travel Journal is written from the perspective of a 9-year-old girl who visits China with her family and journals about all the new and interesting things she sees during her trip. Ages 4 - 10 years.

PAKISTAN: Four Feet, Two Sandals is a wonderful story of sharing. When one pair of sandals is sent to a refugee camp in Pakistan, two girls each find one of the shoes. Lina and Feroza decide to share the sandals as they both wait for their chance to go to America. A very good insight into the experiences of refugee children. Ages 5 - 11 years.

INDIA: An award-winning book, Finders Keepers? shares the true story of a lost wallet found and returned in India. There are some wonderful introductions to various cultural traditions from the country. Gorgeous illustrations and some wonderful details about the customs make this a great read! Ages 3 - 11 years.

KOREA: The Trip Back Home highlights the travels of a young girl who visits her mother's home country of Korea. Readers will enjoy learning about the daily activities and events of the family along with some native words that are interspearsed throughout the text. Ages 3 - 7 years.

Artic Regions

ALASKA: Meet Lydia: A Native Girl from Southeast Alaska highlights the culture and modern tribal traditions of young girl living in an Alaskan village. Glimpse into this remote area with this great book. The text is very descriptive, teaching the reader quite a bit about the area. Ages 6 - 11 years.


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