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: )

            *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: (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.






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.