Reading books about other places and cultures opens up a previously unknown world for children and adults alike.
Picture books have an added dimension: a visual feast within their illustrations.
Sunny, colorful worlds. Quiet, dramatic worlds. Peaceful worlds. Chaotic worlds.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Giving Our Children the World, I want my children to be world travelers, even when we don’t have the ability to go far from home.
Travel is available to anyone with a library card.
The following is a list of beautiful picture books to help you get started on your journey.
A Small Tall Tale From the Far Far North by Peter Sis
Photo by Heidi Scovel
United States and Canada:
Anno’s U.S.A. by Mitsumasa Anno. If you have never traveled through one of Anno’s wordless picture books, you are missing a special adventure!
You Can’t Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser. Another wonderful wordless picture book adventure, this time in New York City.
Song of the Swallowsby Leo Politi. A beautiful book introducing children to California’s centuries-old Latino heritage and Mission culture.
Mexico, Central and South America:
Mama and Papa Have a Storeby Amelia Lau Carling. Chinese immigrants living in Guatemala.
Anatole by Eve Titus. This Paris mouse will steal your heart.
Adele and Simonby Barbara McClintock. The rich illustrations make this book a treasure!
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. Always a classic.
Photo by Heidi Scovel
The Story of Ferdinandby Munro Leaf
Hanna’s Cold Winterby Trish Marx
The Cats in Krasinski Square by Karen Hesse
Snow in Jerusalemby Deborah da Costa
A Carp for Kimiko by Virginia Kroll
I Live in Tokyo by Mari Takabayashi. An incredible introduction to Japanese life with lovely, bright illustrations.
Kamishibai Man (and other titles) by Allen Say. Beautiful quiet stories with subdued illustrations.
The Fire Keeper’s Son by Linda Sue Park
The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland
Mama Panya’s Pancakes: A Village Tale from Kenya by Mary Chamberlin
We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs
Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions by Margaret Musgrove
The Gift of the Sun: A Tale From South Africa by Dianne Stewart
The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence H. Parry. A boy on the busy streets of Cairo
Photo from Amazon.com
This is Australiaby Miroslav Sasek. Be sure to check out other titles in the author’s nostalgic children’s travel series.
For older children, find a list of chapter books organized by country here on my blog, Mt Hope Chronicles.
“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities; but to know someone here and there who thinks and feels with us, and though distant, is close to us in spirit – this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Which picture books have taken you and your child on a memorable journey to another country?