world picture books list

World Picture Books – A Geography, Art & English Lesson

Using these world picture books you can travel the world from your couch.

I’ve listed quite a few medal winning world picture books in this list. These books are beauties and your children will continue to love them.

You can use this list to pick some books and if you feel confident enough you can make your own unit study.

World Book Traveller will also give you some tips make this a literature unit study. Suitable for your Kindergarten to Year 2 child.

World Book Traveller

world-book-traveller


Many of the books listed here are also used Pleasant Talk of Places world geography resources. Suitable from Year 4.

Continent geography resource

21 Picture Books That Will Take You Around the World

world picture books

World Trip

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman ©1996

An apple pie is easy to make…if the market is open. But if the market is closed, the world becomes your grocery store. This deliciously silly recipe for apple pie takes readers around the globe to gather ingredients. First hop a steamboat to Italy for the finest semolina wheat. Then hitch a ride to England and hijack a cow for the freshest possible milk. And, oh yes! Don’t forget to go apple picking in Vermont! A simple recipe for apple pie is included.

How to bake an apple pie-World Picture Book Booklist

Africa

Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier ©2001

More than anything, Beatrice longs to be a schoolgirl. But in her small African village, only children who can afford uniforms and books can go to school. Beatrice knows that with six children to care for, her family is much too poor. But then Beatrice receives a wonderful gift from some people far away — a goat! Fat and sleek as a ripe mango, Mugisa (which means “luck”) gives milk that Beatrice can sell. With Mugisa’s help, it looks as if Beatrice’s dream may come true after all.

Beatrice's Goat-World Picture Book Booklist

Antarctica

Tom Crean’s Rabbit: A True Story from Scott’s Last Voyage by Meredith Hooper ©2005

It’s very cold in Antarctica, and the “Terra Nova” is crowded with both men and animals. Tom the sailor is looking for a quiet and cozy place for his pet rabbit to have her babies. From high in the rigging to down in the hold, the crewman takes readers all through the ship while he searches for a spot where his rabbit can make her nest.

Tom Crean's Rabbit-World Picture Book Booklist

America-Colorado

Amber on the Mountain by Tony Johnston ©1998

Amber’s mountain is beautiful, but it is a lonely place—until the day Anna arrives, bringing both her friendship and the will to teach Amber how to read. Suddenly, Amber’s world is filled with a new magic—and new challenges. But when Anna returns to the city, will Amber be able to keep reading on her own?

Amber on the Mountain - World Picture Book Booklist

America – New Jersey

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen ©1987 Ages 2-8

This touching story of a child and parent finding magic and adventure in a simple, snowy night-time search for the great horned owl.

Owl Moon-World Picture Book Booklist

America – Appalachian Mountains

The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills. ©1995 Ages 5-8

Before Minna can go to school, she needs a winter coat. The Quilting Mothers offer to make her a coat from scraps of quilting cloth. Minna proudly wears it to school, only to be faced with her classmates’ jeers of “Rag-Coat! Rag-Coat!” But it is Minna’s coat with its stories and memories, and Minna’s own thoughtful part in its creation, that allow her to bring friendship to Sharing Day, making her coat the warmest one of all.

The Rag Coat - World Picture Book Booklist

Canadian Eskimo

Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews ©1985

Eva lives in an Inuit village in northern Canada. In the winter, people search along the bottom of the seabed beneath a thick shelf of ice for mussels to eat. Eva usually helps her mother, but for the first time, she’s going to go by herself. She soon gathers a pan full of mussels. But then, her candle goes out, and the tide threatens to return! When she is finally safe with her mother, Eva proclaims, “That was my very last first time walking alone on the bottom of the sea.”

The Very Last First Time - World Picture Book Booklist

China

The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese ©1933

Ping, a little duck who lives on a boat in the Yangtze River finds himself in trouble when he hides from his master in order to avoid punishment for being late.

The Story of Ping - World Picture Book Booklist

England

The Tale of Peter Rabbit written and illus. by Beatrix Potter ©1936

The story follows a mischievous and disobedient young rabbit named Peter as he ventures into the garden of Mr. McGregor.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit - World Picture Book Booklist

European Royalty

The Duchess Bakes a Cake by Virgina Kahl©1950

Told in verse this amusing story tells about a Duchess who doesn’t follow a recipe.

The Duchess bakes A Cake - World Picture Book Booklist

Europe in Wartime

A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert © 1988

A fresh and moving story of a mother’s dedication to acquire a coat for her daughter in post-World War II hard times. Anna’s mother decides to trade the few valuables she has left for wool and for the services of a spinner, a weaver, and a tailor.

A New Coat For Anna - World Picture Book Booklist

France to England

The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot by Alice and Martin Provensen ©1984

This is a biography of Louis Bleriot who built and airplane and flew it across the English Channel in 37 minutes.

The Glorious Flight - World Picture Book Booklist

India

Finders Keepers?: A True Story by Robert A. Arnett ©2003

Gopal, found a dropped wallet. It contained enough money for Gopal to be set for quite some time, but he not only returned the wallet, he refused a reward.

Finders Keepers - World Picture Book Booklist

Italy – Venice

Papa Piccolo by Carol Talley ©1992

Piccolo, the tomcat, leads a life of adventure and possibilities until two homeless kittens adopt him. Piccolo shows boys and girls about sharing their strength with those who are smaller, younger or weaker.

Papa Piccolo - World Picture Book Booklist

Japan

A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno ©1960

A child’s delight in a new pair of shoes is the same all over the world. For Mako, a little Japanese girl, the new shoes were clogs painted with red lacquer that shone beautifully. This is the story of what happened after she cracked the new clogs playing the weather-telling game and so longed for a bright, shiny new pair to replace them that she almost did a dishonest thing.

A pair of red clogs- World Picture Book Booklist

Israel

Chicken Man by Michelle Edwards

Rody lives on a kibbutz in Israel and works with chickens. When he worked in the kibbutz chicken house, he sang so loudly that everyone began to think the chicken house must be the place to work. So Rody was moved to the laundry and Bracha took over the poultry. Can the chickens find a way to bring Rody back to them? Winner of the National Jewish Book Award from the Jewish Book Council.

Picture book about Israel

South America

Isabella’s Bed by Alison Lester ©1992

Our family must have borrowed this book 20 times. We love it! When Anna and Luis stay at Grandmother’s house they love to look through her souvenirs from South America. One night they go there on Isabella’s bed and they understand new things about their grandmother.

Isabella's Bed - World Picture Book Booklist

Spain

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf ©1936

A true classic with a timeless message, The Story of Ferdinand has enchanted readers since it was first published in 1936. All the other bulls would run and jump and butt their heads together. But Ferdinand would rather sit and smell the flowers. So what will happen when our pacifist hero is picked for the bullfights in Madrid?

Ferdinand - World Picture Book Booklist

New Zealand-Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Diary by Lynley Dodd ©1983

A little black dog and his canine pals get up to mischief.

Hairy Maclary - World Picture Book Booklist

Kiwi Moon by Gavin Bishop ©2006

This is the story of a little white kiwi. When he is born his mother doesn’t recognise him because he’s not brown. Little Kiwi looks to the moon as his mother instead because it is white and bright and round. In the background of this story we see the changing times of a nearby pa. Through illustrations only we see intertribal warfare, the death of the chief, English soldiers arriving and then the burning of the pa. This fire spreads and the two stories become one as the white kiwi’s habitat is razed to the ground.On the surface this is a very simple story but it also contains themes of intertribal warfare, European colonisation of New Zealand, Maori/Pakeha relations, and conservation.

Kiwi Moon - World Picture Book Booklist

Russia

Pictures at an Exhibition by Anna Harwell Celenza © 2003

Modest Mussorgsky and his friends, Victor Hartmann and Vladimir Stasov, dream of showing the glories of Russia in the 1880s to the world. When Victor suddenly dies, composer Modest Mussorgsky is deeply saddened. But, with the help of his friends, and through his own music, Modest finds a way to keep Victor’s spirit alive. Children of all ages will enjoy reading the inspirational story behind the composition of Pictures at an Exhibition. Bright, colourful illustrations incorporate elements of Russian folk art and traditional symbols.

Pictures at an exhibition - World Picture Book Booklist