This is the list of resources we have been coming back to time and time again on our trip around the world. Many are available at libraries, but if you are going to purchase books to aid in your own journey around the world, these would be the ones to get!
Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski – a huge book in both size and scope of information. This book includes 52 maps, each of a different country, highly illustrated, and packed with common and lesser known facts. I have spent hours looking through this beautiful book, and my kids are always opening it and finding something new to look at and question. The back cover states: “This book is a celebration of the world, from it’s immense mountains to its tiny insects – and everything in between.”
Maps Activity Book by Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski – includes 36 drawing, coloring, and game activities that go along with the Maps book (left). These tear out cleanly from the book, and can easily be copied if you have multiple children. My girls love anything that involves coloring, cutting, glueing, creating right now, so we will be using this frequently. From the back cover: “Set out on a drawing adventure to the four corners of the globe!”
Maps Poster Book by Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski – this is a great add on to the Maps book (above), if you have a space you want to decorate, or if you want to laminate the maps. There are 28 maps included, taken directly from the Maps book. From the back cover: “These posters are a stunning celebration of the world, detailing everything from immense mountains to tiny insects, political borders and iconic personalities.”
Usborne Big Picture Atlas by Emily Bone & Daniel Taylor is a great starter atlas for preschool aged through elementary aged children. The illustrations, and facts scattered across each page provide just enough information for young readers about landmarks, animals, land features, culture, and political borders to keep them engaged and whet their appetite for further exploration.
Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney and Qin Leng
We LOVE our map from Cherry Creek Lane that I bought a few months into our project. We have so much fun coloring a new country every week. It’s a great way to visually see where we’ve been, and where we’re going.
Food Like Mine from DK Publishing is a bright, beautiful reference book for children about food around the world. After a short introduction about types of foods (think food groups), the focus of the book is on four staple foods people around the world have in common – rice, wheat, corn, and potatoes. This book is packed with bright, engaging photographs and facts about each crop, as well as how it is used in different countries to make different meals. There are also a few recipes for each staple crop included. We will be using this book frequently as we travel around the world.
Children Just Like Me: A New Celebration of Children Around the World from DK Publishing uses colorful photographs to draw kids into the lives of 44 children from around the world. While their clothing and food may be different, children will see similarities among the kids featured in this book and themselves, which is a perfect way to start a conversation about understanding and accepting all the world’s people for who they are.
The Barefoot Book of Children by Tessa Strickland, Kate DePalma, & David Dean – is a beautiful introduction to the differences and similarities of people around the world. This nonfiction text invites the reader to take a peek at how others around the world live, all while discussing how they themselves live. Hours of conversation can result from reading this seemingly simple book. Housing, food, families, clothing, leisure, work, languages, names, religion, and connection are all discussed in a child friendly way. My favorite line from the book is: “Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.”
This is My World: Meet 84 kids from Around the Globe by Lonely Planet Kids introduces the reader to 84 kids from countries around the globe by showcasing family photos, their favorite foods, their homes, information about their school, and basic information about the country where they live. Each double-page spread about a different child is laid out like a scrapbook, which makes the book interesting to look at, and fun to look through as a family. This book also includes children who have grown up in war-torn areas of the world, who are often left out of other books like this, but important to learn about nonetheless.
Global Baby books – these are wonderful board books, perfect for introducing our youngest readers to the beautiful diversity on earth. We have owned 2 of them for years and spend HOURS looking at them.
- “Food Like Mine” by DK Publishing
- “Bread Bread Bread” by Ann Morris & Ken Heyman
- “Bread Comes to Life: A Garden of Wheat and a Loaf to Eat” by George Levenson & Samuel Thaler
- “Everybody Bakes Bread” by Norah Dooley & Peter J. Thornton
Mini Masterpieces: Exploring Art History with Hands-on Projects for Kids by Laura Lohmann – contains directions for 52 projects inspired by specific pieces of art or artist’s work. Each project also has a short biography of the artist’s life. The large photographs of the finished product, as well as those that accompany the step-by-step instructions, make this the perfect book for parents, even if they are not familiar with art or art techniques. Many of the projects are inspired by North American or European artists, but there are a few from Asia as well. We will be using these project ideas as we travel.
The Kids Multicultural Art Book: Art & Craft Experiences from Around the World by Alexandra Terzia – guides the reader through 50 arts and crafts projects from the Native Americans of North America, Mexico & Central America, Africa, and Asia. There is an introduction to each continent, as well as some background for each project. There are no projects from Europe, so this may be good to pair with the Mini Masterpieces book (left).
Wildflowers by Sarah – A website with a growing collection of artist and regional art studies that could easily be used with children of any age – I have fun with them too!
The Artful Parent – A website with amazing art ideas for specific artists and styles of art, amongst other things.
Art History Kids – Another amazing website for specific artist studies, as well as some
The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe by Ann Morgan – I read this nonfiction book while I was in the planning stages of our journey around the world using picture books. Morgan spent 1 year reading a novel from each UN-recognized country in the world back in 2012. This book reveals what she learned about the world, about publishing, genre, culture, censorship, and propaganda while she was reading. This book forced me to think about some of the things I will undoubtedly come across on this journey with my girls. I’m sure I will be referencing it often. Morgan has a blog about her year reading the world, which you can check out here.
Websites for Further Reading
The Read Aloud Revival – a treasure trove of read aloud recommendations and information related to reading aloud. The podcast is awesome too!
Local Passport Family -Global Children’s Bookclub – she is using picture books to teach her children about the world as well, and has it set up as a bookclub. They “travel” to a new destination monthly.
Little World Wanders – has amazing country units or study which include book lists, recipe ideas, art ideas, cultural points of interest and so much more! The best part? They are FREE!!! We have used a few of these as we have made our way around the world.
Thistles and Biscuits has stunning and engaging unit studies for countries around the world. All proceeds from their country units go directly to a charity in the country you are learning about.
World Kid Lit – This website has great lists of books, as well as blog posts, and collections of books, translated from around the world.