Read Around the World


As a part of my daughter's kindergarten year we will be "reading around the world".  She loves maps and globes and learning about people, and I've been collecting books that are set in or about various parts of the world for years.  So we have an abundance!  I've narrowed it down to the following as part of our scheduled plans (it was hard!).   While I think these books are great for a target age range from 5 to 7 years old,  I think most of them could be used for any elementary age in various ways. (Bee Bim Bop is definitely for younger students, as an example of one you might leave off for older children.  And My Name is Gabriela:  The Life of Gabriela Mistral by Monica Brown is written in both English and Spanish and could be used with even older students, especially those learning Spanish.)  But overall, these could be read and enjoyed with many ages.

We will likely simply read and enjoy the books, find places on the map and such; because we will be reading in other "subjects" as well this year.  However, this study could definitely make for a full stand alone year/spine/springboard for lots of fun learning!  I imagine that I will try to tie in some art projects, types of music and cooking certain dishes as we go.  If/when I do that----I'll update this post and add more information and links I use.  

For now---here's the booklist we will focus on as we learn about different places and people.  I'll be posting our History Tales books for this year at some point soon too---and they are all picture book biographies.  So if you'd like even more ideas for books that you could use----stay tuned.  Most of the picture book biographies are based on Europeans or North Americans, but I'm excited about those choices too.

As always, PLEASE preview for suitability for your own family or classroom. 

Download all of the information below as a PDF. (Without the photos.)

Book List and Resources                       

Notes:  The books by April Sayres are non-fiction and they have large print text which could be read as is with the youngest children if so desired, and smaller text which adds more information. The Little Kids First Big Book of the World was selected for the amazing photography and to supplement with additional non-fiction content.  In this book each continent has a page with a map, the countries (where applicable) the weather, the people (where applicable), and the animals. There is also a “Let’s Go” page with each continent to suggest an activity or project.

Most books are in fictional/story form with some exceptions being:  A is for Africa, Colors of Australia, The Very First Americans, and Rain Forest Secrets which are more informational (non-fiction) text.  There are also several biographies included in the list.


I hope you will find books that you and your students or family enjoy on this list.  I’d love to hear if there are other favorites that you recommend!



Introduction to Maps

            *As the Crow Flies:  A First Book of Maps by Gail Hartman

            *Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney

For Use Throughout the Year (reference pictures, factual information, maps, etc.)

            *Little Kids First Big Book of the World by Elizabeth Carney

            *Maps by A. Mizielinska and D. Mizielinska

            *A Child’s Introduction to the World by H. Alexander

            *The Usborne Peoples of the World by G. Doherty and A. Claybourne

Optional Resources

            Globe, Map(s), Atlas

            Internet (for pictures, Google Earth, etc.)

            Music from around the world

            A Children’s World Cookbook



North America

            *Welcome to North America! by April Sayre

            *The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose  (Tribes of North America)

            *Arctic Son by Jean Craighead George (Alaska)

            *Hill of Fire by Thomas P. Lewis (Mexico)

            *Erandi’s Braids by Antonio Madrigal (Mexico)

            *The Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews (Canada)

            *How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the USA by Marjorie Priceman (USA)

            *Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (USA)

            *Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold (USA)



South America

            *South America, Surprise!  by April Sayre

            *Biblioburro:  A True Story from Columbia by Jeanette Winter (Columbia)

            *My Name is Gabriela:  The Life of Gabriela Mistral by Monica Brown (Columbia)

            *The Great Kapok Tree:  A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry

            *Rain Forest Secrets by Arthur Dorros

            *Welcome to the Green House by Jane Yolen



            *Hello Europe! by April Sayre

            *The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (Spain)

            *Chanticleer and the Fox by Barbara Cooney (England)

            *Mirette on the High Wire by Emily McCully (France)

            *Starring Mirette and Bellini by Emily McCully

(Note:  The story takes place while Mirette and Bellini are on a European tour and Bellini is actually arrested.  A major part of the story focuses in/on, St. Petersburg, Russia.  St. Petersburg is considered European Russia, but Russia is geographically on the continent of Asia.  Source: https://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/europe/eurlarge.htm )

            *Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (France)

            *Strega Nona:  Her Story as Told to Tomie dePaola by Tomie dePaola (Italy)

    *The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot by A. and M. Provensen

    *The Treasure by Uri Shulevitz




*Greetings, Asia! By April Sayre

*The Empty Pot by Demi (China)

*Once a Mouse… by Marcia Brown (India)

*Hush! A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho (Thailand)

*Tikki Tikki Tembo retold by Arlene Mosel (China)

*Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park (Korea)

*How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman (Japan)

*A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsumo (Japan)



            *Good Morning, Africa! by April Sayre

            *A is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu

            *The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Heide and Judith Gilliland (Egypt)

            *Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema (Kenya)

            *Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier (Uganda)

            *Galimoto by Karen Williams (Malawi)

            *Emmanuel’s Dream:  The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie
                       Thompson (Ghana)


Australia  (I'd love any recommendations for Australia especially!)

            *G’Day, Australia! by April Sayre

            *Colors of Australia by Lynn Olawsky

            *Over in Australia:  Amazing Animals Down Under by Marianne Berkes



            *Hooray for Antarctica! By April Sayre

Other Possibilities:  Books on penguins


Optional Reading: 
Tales from Around the World

(Please preview for your student(s).  I have not read every selection in this section to be able to add any notes/cautions.)

--The Eskimo Twins, The Dutch Twins, The Japanese Twins (and others in series) by
            Lucy Perkins

--Nursery Tales Around the World selected and retold by Judy Sierra

--Around the World in 80 Tales by Saviour Pirotta

--The Adventures of Spider: West African Folktales retold by J. Arkhurst

Since I am developing this study for my child in the upcoming school year (2018-2019) I do not have any print resources to share.  Though we will likely just read, discuss, find places on maps and such---I am toying around with the idea of a continent collage as a tie in and a passport of sorts with book covers as “stamps” or country flag stickers.  

Helpful Online Resources:

Outline Maps:  https://www.eduplace.com/ss/maps/ (I use this site for map drills with my

Passport:  If I make one geared toward this study, I will update the PDF and announce it on my blog.  This pdf file may give you an idea of how to structure one for yourself.  http://www.startwithabook.org/content/pdfs/Passport.pdf






And now for my standard Charlotte Mason/Kindergarten disclaimer:  CM did not suggest formal lessons for children before age 6.  This is just what we are doing in our family.  We will not begin narrations until next year. 

More For the First Day or Week

I was able to finish up revisions for one of my oldest's first day of school traditions---filling out a page of favorites/all about me type of pages (11 years and counting)! I also made some updates to intermediate pages that we use once we pass the Memory Book phase.


Feel free to download them to use with your family/students if you would like to.

Primary-3 page "All About Me"  Download PDF

Upper Elementary-2 page "All About Me"  Download PDF

Older Students- 1 page "Fast Facts" black/white with Bible verse  Download PDF

Older Students- 1 page "Fast Facts" black/white without Bible verse  Download PDF

Older Students- 1 page "Fast Facts" Color (blue/pink/purple/green) with Bible verse  Download PDF

Older Students- 1 page "Fast Facts" Color (blue/pink/purple/green) without Bible verse  Download PDF


Memory Book for Younger Students

One of our back to school traditions is to complete a memory book or page of some sort.  In the first few years, we make a booklet and which is then shortened to a couple of pages and finally to one page as a to kick off the year.  (My high schooler still enjoys this tradition of recording favorites and taking a first day of school picture.)  

I finished making a revised copy of our booklet for the youngest who will start kindergarten this year.   


The booklet includes:

  • a cover where a first day of school picture can go
  • a page to write (or dictate) favorite things (with space to write others)
  • a page to make a hand print and measure it 
  • a page to make a foot print and measure it
  • a page for the student to write his/her age and draw a picture of himself/herself (My first and third grade teachers had us draw pictures of ourselves for a class year book and it was so much fun to see how my drawing changed in those few short years!)
  • a page to glue an envelope and insert a string of how tall the student is---and record a measurement of the string
  • a page to paste other photographs from the first day or week of school (or family photos, etc.) (not pictured)

There is a place to write the date on each page because that's one of the skills I try to teach right away---how to copy the date from the white board independently.  We will complete a page or two a day in the first week.  In the first year or so, we use non-standard units of measurement for any measuring we do for the booklet----usually cubes----but you could pick any object that you have plenty of or go ahead and use a standard unit of measurement.

I print the pages on card stock for more durability, and I paint hands and feet with washable watercolor paint in whatever color my little one requests to make the prints.  If your child likes stickers or drawing,  embellishments to the pages could easily be added.  We have a great time looking back on these booklets at the end of the year and beyond!  (I plan to compile all the pages my oldest has made throughout K-12 for her at the end of her home school years.)

If you'd like to download some or all of the booklet to use with your children, please feel free to.  (I'll upload versions for older students soon.)

DOWNLOAD Beginning of the Year Memory Booklet (PDF)

Happy New Year (Of Sorts)!

Well, I just renewed the domain name for another year....I guess that means I should start writing more than a few times in the coming year!  So here's to it!

And here's to the start of the new school year for us, which is quickly approaching.  Ever since my oldest (who will be a high school junior this year) finished her kindergarten year, we've schooled year round.  She was so excited to be a "first grader" that she wanted to start almost as soon as we wrapped up kindergarten.  So we did.  It works out very well for us because it is so hot in the summer here, and we like to take off all of December (at least for the most part).  Schooling year round also affords us the ability to take spontaneous breaks when the weather is perfect for being outside.

After a  year or two of schooling for many weeks in a row, I noticed that more frequent breaks were helpful----for me, if not for both of us.  I started scheduling breaks about every six weeks so that I could catch up on chores and other things around the house and prepare for the next weeks of schooling.  Though I'd never heard of it when we started, it is currently a popular way that many homeschoolers schedule weeks on and off of school.

Here's a glimpse of the way I've planned for this year----though it will not turn out exactly this way, I'm sure.  It never does.  I schedule regular work for three terms---each split into two six week sessions.  We have a holiday "mini term" scheduled, which is a way for me to be intentional about planning for Advent and Christmas.  Of all our regular work, math might be carried into the holiday mini term sometimes, but mostly we enjoy purely seasonal activities together and enjoy the longer break.


If you'd like to download a calendar that you can personalize, or see what I used to make our calendar, please head here---as I did a short write up from receiving questions on Instagram.

Over next few weeks I will be finalizing book choices, scheduling and prepping for the start of the new year.  I'll be back soon to share what we are planning to use.