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Reading Around the World: Children's Books About Different Countries

January 27, 2021

Today is Family Literacy Day! We celebrate this day every year as a way to recognize the importance of reading as a family. In honour of this year’s “Travel the World Together” theme, we’ve put together a list of children’s books from different countries and more ways you can explore together.

Mom and toddler reading with text that says "Travel the world with stories!" and an outline of the world

There are lots of ways to explore all around the world from home. Reading children’s books about different countries around the world is a great way to learn about new places and cultures. You can also use Google Earth to see different provinces and countries. Here are a few ways you can explore with Google Earth: 

  • Allow your child to point to the map and explore some landmarks from the province or country they choose.
  • Go to the street view screen and play I Spy in the area you can see. Take turns looking around and giving clues like “I spy something blue” or “I spy something square” for the other person to guess! 
  • Read a book and use Google Earth to explore the country where the book is set. We’ve given a few ideas of places to explore around the books below! 

China: Round is a Mooncake by Rosanne Thong

Take a trip around a Chinese neighbourhood in Round is a Mooncake. In this book, our narrator describes the shapes of objects in her neighbourhood from mooncakes to rice bowls and from inking stones to a bed to sleep in. 

Read along to Round is a Mooncake by Rosanne Thong here:

After reading this book, you can check out landmarks in China such as Beijing National Stadium (also known as the Bird’s Nest), the Palace Museum, and Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.

We offer free programs in Mandarin every week with Online Mandarin Circle Time and Online Mandarin Family Time.

You can explore Chinese culture more by celebrating Lunar New Year (also called Chinese New Year) on February 12th!

France: Everybody Bonjours by Leslie Kimmelman

Bonjour means “hello” in French! Follow a family around on their trip to Paris, France and see all the places and ways that everybody “bonjours”. 

Read along to Everybody Bonjours by Leslie Kimmelman here:

You can see some of the gorgeous sights of France at the Eiffel Tower, Mont Saint-Michel, and the Cirque de Gavarnie.

French-speaking families can join us every Tuesday and Thursday for Heure du cercle en ligne (Online Circle Time)!

India: Festival of Colors by Kabir and Surishtha Sehgal

Learn about one of India’s biggest festivals, Holi, in this colourful book! Chintoo and Mintoo gather flowers of each colour to make the powders used in the festival. What colours can you find around your neighbourhood?  

Read along to Festival of Colors by Kabir and Surishtha Sehgal here:

Take a trip around India at the Ellora Caves, the Taj Mahal, and the Mehrangarh Fort.

There are many languages spoken in India, including Hindi, Punjabi, English, and Urdu. Urdu is also the official language of Pakistan! For free online programs in Urdu, join us at Online Urdu Family Time

Nigeria: Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke

Join Baby and his Mama on their trip to a Nigerian market! The food sellers are so excited to see baby that they give him so many treats. But what will he do with them all? 

Read along to Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke here:

There are many beautiful places to see in Nigeria, like the Erin-Ijesha Waterfalls, Aso Rock, and the Usuma Lower Dam.

Mexico: Off We Go to Mexico! An Adventure in the Sun by Laurie Krebs

Off We Go to Mexico! tells the story of a family’s adventure to the beaches, towns, pyramids, and festivals of beautiful Mexico.  

Read along to Off We Go to Mexico! An Adventure in the Sun by Laurie Krebs here:

You can have your own adventure in the sun at the Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe, the Monumento a la Revolución, and the Zócalo (the largest plaza in Latin America).

Canada: Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk

Sweetest Kulu tells the story of baby Kulu and all the gifts he receives from the animals of the Arctic. This beautifully illustrated book is written by Celina Kalluk, an Inuit-Canadian artist, throat singer, and author.

Read along to Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk here:

Explore our whole country from sea to sea at the Quttinirpaaq National Park in Nunavut, Haida Gwaii in British Columbia, and Moraine Lake in Alberta.

Did you enjoy these children’s books about different countries?

You might also like these Children’s Books that Celebrate Diversity! If you’re thinking about making reading a part of your family’s routine with a home library, here is where to start.

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We are also offering online family programs every day of the week via Zoom so find a program that fits your routine! We offer some programs with ASL interpretation and others in French, Mandarin, and Urdu. Find out more on our Schedules page!