Thematic Reading List: A Trip Around the World in 20 Books


You can go around the world without leaving the country. How? By reading books, of course. This list of fiction and nonfiction books takes readers on a global adventure. Whether finding out what other children are doing around the world at a specific time or falling in love in another country, this list is sure to give you a taste of the international. Includes picture books and YA fiction.

9781929132737 Are We There Yet?: a journey around Australia
By: Alison Lester

Grace recounts how she, her parents, and her brothers spent an entire winter travelling completely around Australia in a camper. Stops on their trip include Perth, Turquoise Bay, and the Outback.

1842342428 Canada
By: Andy Orchard

This title gives young students a glimpse into what life looks like to Hayley, an eight-year-old Canadian. Hayley lives with her family in Toronto, Canada and describes where she lives, how she likes to play, and what she enjoys eating. She talks about the school she attends and the different subjects she is learning.

9781847800916 Cassio’s Day: from dawn to dusk in a Brazilian Village
By: Maria de Fatima Campos

Presents a typical day for a child in a rural village in Brazil, including meals, school, play, family life, and celebrations. The book teaches us about the Brazilian way of life by mixing elements of the culture with a sprinkling of the Portuguese language. After Cassio’s day ends, the book provides more information about Brazil, including a glossary of the Portuguese vocabulary that appears throughout the story.

068986194X For You Are a Kenyan Child
By: Kelly Cunnane
Illustrated by: Ana Juan

From rooster crow to bedtime, a Kenyan boy plays and visits neighbors all through his village, even though he is supposed to be watching his grandfather’s cows. Readers will enjoy picking out the unique details that highlight the differences between cultures, such as munching on a bug for a snack, or the little bush baby critter that follows the boy. They will also identify many things they have in common with him, like playing ball or forgetting to do one’s chores. Notes at the front of the book contain information about Swahili, including a pronunciation guide and a glossary.

0618077022 I Live in Tokyo
By: Mari Takabayashi
Illustrated by: Oliver Jeffers

Seven-year-old Mimiko gives the reader a year-long introduction to life in Japan, highlighting traditional Japanese holidays and celebrations. The story is narrated in English and intersperses Japanese words and phrases; each month of the year appears in English, Japanese, and Kanji. The glossary contains Japanese words, numbers, phrases, and months.

9780981872056 I See the Sun in China
By: Dedie King
Illustrated by: Judith Inglese

Readers get to see different aspects of China in this picture book, which follows a young girl as she journeys from her rural home on the Island of Putuo Shan to Shanghai to visit her aunt. Traditional aspects of Chinese culture, such as tai chi (an internal martial art), mah jong (a game of strategy), and Kwan Yin (the female aspect of the Buddha), are touched on, in addition to examples of modern China, including its towering skyscrapers, cosmopolitan department stores, and global business practices. Presented in both English and Mandarin Chinese.

9781937616571 Let’s Visit Rio de Janeiro! (The Adventures of Bella & Harry)
By: Lisa Manzione
Illustrated by: Kristine Lucco

The Adventures of Bella & Harry is a picture book series that chronicles the escapades of a pup named Bella, her little brother Harry and their family, who travel the world exploring the sights and sounds of new, exciting cities. There are currently over 20 titles in the series. In this book, sibling Chihuahuas Bella and Harry travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to taste the local cuisine and visit Copacabana Beach, Christ the Redeemer, and Sugarloaf Mountain.

9780836887693 Looking at Ireland
By: Kathleen Pohl
Illustrated by: Frank Remkiewicz

Part of the Looking at Countries series that includes books on such countries as Canada, Japan, Russia and Spain, this newest offering brings the country of Ireland. Short chapters include topics like landscape, people, housing, and schools. Includes lots of pictures and simple sidebars.

51rH5oep7sL._SY496_BO1,204,203,200_ My Granny Went to Market
By: Stella Blackstone
Illustrated by: Bernard Lodge

A zany white-haired granny is going on an adventurous shopping spree around the world in this rhythmic, rhyming counting book. She soars on a flying carpet to visit exotic countries. At each place she stops, she buys something especially related to that country, such as two temple cats in Thailand, three fierce masks in sunny Mexico, four paper lanterns in China, five cowbells in beautiful mountainous Switzerland, and six booming drums in Africa where the wild tigers roam. Then it is on to Russia for seven nesting dolls–eight, nine, and all the way to ten. Children will enjoy counting along with Granny as she ventures around the world.

1846861594 Off We Go to Mexico!: an adventure in the sun
By: Laurie Krebs
Illustrated by: Christopher Corr

Rhyming text describes various sights and activities that tourists would enjoy in Mexico, and includes vocabulary words in Spanish and English.

1416996745 Olivia Goes to Venice
By: Ian Falconer

On a family vacation in Venice, Olivia indulges in gelato, rides in a gondola, and finds the perfect souvenir.

1426304609 One World, One Day
By: Barbara Kerley

This beautiful photo book follows the course of one day in our world. Sunrise to sunset is captured in the essential things we all do daily, wherever we live in the world, and in the diverse ways we do them. The first meal of the day will take on a whole new dimension for American kids as an American pancake breakfast is contrasted with porridge in North Korea and churros in Spain.

9780778799559 Passport to Paris
By: Alison Gardner

Guide Jean-Paul introduces housing, his cole (elementary school) with its odd schedule (by American standards), the working district, city markets, and, of course, some of the tourist attractions. The back matter includes a glossary, internet and bibliographic references, and an index.

61lOB91Iu3L._SY479_BO1,204,203,200_ A Scottish Year
By: Tania McCartney

Four Scottish children take you through a year in the life of children in Scotland. The book shares information on celebrations, foods, school, free time activities, and the landscape, with simple color illustrations that show children engaging in a variety of activities. This book is part of a series that examines life for children in other countries.

1452150184 This is how we do it: one day in the lives of seven kids from around the world
By: Matt Lamothe

Seven real children and families (from Italy, Japan, Peru, Russia, Uganda, India, and Iran) provide photos and information on their daily lives.

9780763652722 A Walk in London
By: Salvatore Rubbino

A young tourist narrates the visit she and her mother have in London. They ride a double-decker bus, walk through St. James Park, see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and more. Trivia facts are scattered on each page and a fold-out shows the skyline of London with labeled landmarks.

9781742208145 Not for Parents: the travel book
By: Michael DuBois

Presents a pictorial guide to travel around the world, featuring color photographs and descriptions of more than two hundred countries, along with key facts, maps, cultural insights, and travel tips for each nation.

0060541415 13 Little Blue Envelopes 
By: Maureen Johnson

When seventeen-year-old Ginny receives a packet of mysterious envelopes from her favorite aunt, she leaves New Jersey to criss-cross Europe on a sort of scavenger hunt that transforms her life.

0385729332 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
By: Ann Brashares

During their first summer apart, four teenage girls, best friends since earliest childhood, stay in touch through a shared pair of secondhand jeans that magically adapts to each of their figures and affects their attitudes to their different summer experiences.

9781619632868 Wish You Were Italian: an If Only novel 
By: Kristin Rae

Seventeen-year-old Pippa Preston, sent to Italy for a three-month art history program, decides instead to see the country on her own, armed with a list of such goals as eating an entire pizza and falling in love with an Italian, but soon finds herself attracted both to a dangerous local boy and an American archaeology student.


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