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Global Reading: Selected Books for Children and Teens Set in Other Countries

©2021, 2020 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Compiled by Megan Schliesman

This bibliography was designed with U.S. readers in mind, so “other countries” refers to countries other than the United States.

Books on the list are arranged by geographic region of the world as follows:

• Africa
• Americas and the Caribbean
• Asia and Pacific Islands
• Europe and Australia
• Middle East

The regional categories are further subdivided by picture books, novels, and non-fiction.

It should be noted that one of the difficulties regarding the availability of books set in other countries, especially across Mexico, Central and South America, Africa, some parts of Asia and the Middle East, is that they are often narratives illuminating hardship. While it is important for U.S. readers to understand these challenges, it is also important they understand narratives about struggle don’t tell the whole story of any place. Literature can be an important avenue to empathy and understanding, but it is important that children not develop a one-sided impression of other countries. So while we have tried to offer a variety here, books alone do not necessarily provide a balanced understanding of life in other places.

Emphasis has been placed on books published in 2010 or later; a few older books were chosen if they were translated or provide unique content and are still in print. The list includes history as well as contemporary life. See our Recommended Book Search for additional books set in other countries recommended by the CCBC.

Africa

Picture Books

Atinuke, . Baby Goes to Market . Illustrated by Angela Brooksbank. Candlewick, 2017. 32 pages. Ages 2-4

Atinuke, . Catch That Chicken!. Illustrated by Angela Brooksbank. Candlewick, 2020. 32 pages. Ages 2-5

Averbeck, Jim. The Market Bowl. Illustrated by Jim Averbeck. Charlesbridge, 2013. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

Baker, Jeannie. Mirror. Illustrated by Jeannie Baker. Candlewick, 2010. 40 pages. Ages 6-9

Bildner, Phil. The Soccer Fence: A Story of Friendship, Hope and Apartheid in South Africa. Illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson. Putnam, 2014. 40 pages. Ages 7-10

Clarke, Maxine Beneba. The Patchwork Bike. Illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd. Candlewick, 2018. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Isabella, Jude. The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle. Illustrated by Simone Shin. Citizen Kid, 2015. 32 pages. Ages 6-9

Milway, Katie Smith. The Banana-Leaf Ball: How Play Can Change the World. Illustrated by Shane W. Evans. Citizen Kid/Kids Can, 2017. 32 pages. Ages 7-10

Park, Linda Sue. Nya's Long Walk: A Step at a Time. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Novels

Atinuke, . The No. 1 Car Spotter. Illustrated by Warwick Johnson Cadwell. Kane Miller, 2011. 110 pages. Ages 6-9

Atinuke, . Anna Hibiscus. Illustrated by Lauren Tobia. Kane Miller, 2010. 112 pages. Ages 4-8

Nunn, Malla. When the Ground is Hard. Penguin Random House/Putnam, 2019. 257 pages. Age 14 and older

Okorafor, Nnedi. Akata Witch. Viking, 2011. 349 pages. Ages 10-13

Okorafor, Nnedi. Ikenga. Penguin Random House/Viking, 2020. 227 pages. Ages 8-11

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. The Red Pencil. Illustrated by Shane W. Evans. Little, Brown, 2014. 308 pages. Age 12 and older

Raina, Arushi . When Morning Comes. Tradewind, 2017. 221 pages. Age 14 and older

Sullivan, Tara. The Bitter Side of Sweet. Putnam, 2016. 299 pages. Ages 10-14

Tavengerwei, Rutendo. Hope Is Our Only Wing. Soho Teen, 2019. 207 pages. Age 13 and older

Non-Fiction

Diakite, Baba Wague. A Gift from Childhood: Memories of an African Boyhood. Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2010. 134 pages. Ages 11-15

Iftin, Abdi Nor and Max Alexander. Call Me American: The Extraordinary True Story of a Young Somali Immigrant. Delacorte/Random House, 2020. 255 pages. Age 12 and older

Jamieson, Victoria and Omar Mohamed. When Stars Are Scattered. Illustrated by Victoria Jamieson. Dial/Penguin Random House, 2020. 256 pages. Ages 9-13

Kamkwamba, William and Bryan Mealer. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. Dial, 2012. 32 pages. Ages 5-9

Kamkwamba, William and Bryan Mealer. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Illustrated by Anna Hymas. Dial, 2015. 293 pages. Age 12 and older

Paul, Miranda. One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia. Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. Millbrook, 2015. 32 pages. Ages 7-10

Wright, Adrienne. Hector: A Boy, a Protest, and the Photograph That Changed Apartheid. Illustrated by Adrienne Wright. Page Street Kids, 2019. 48 pages. Age 11 and older

Americas and the Caribbean

Picture Books

Buitrago, Jairo. Two White Rabbits. Illustrated by Rafael Yockteng. Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2015. 48 pages. Ages 5-12

Crespo, Ana. The Sock Thief. Illustrated by Nana Gonzalez. Albert Whitman, 2015. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

Croza, Laurel. From There to Here. Illustrated by Matt James. Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2014. 32 pages. Ages 5-9

Engle, Margarita. All the Way to Havana. Illustrated by Mike Curato. Godwin Books/Henry Holt, 2017. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

Grant, Shauntay. Africville. Illustrated by Eva Campbell. Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2018. 32 pages. Ages 6-9

Javaherbin, Mina. Soccer Star. Illustrated by Renato Alarcao. Candlewick, 2014. 32 pages. Ages 6-9

Kunkel, Angela Burke. Digging for Words: Jose Alberto Guierrez and the Library He Built. Illustrated by Paola Escobar. Schwartz & Wade, 2020. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

Latour, Francie. Auntie Luce's Talking Paintings. Illustrated by Ken Daley. Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2018. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

Marshall, Linda Elovitz. Rainbow Weaver = Tejedora del arcoíris. Illustrated by Elisa Chavarri. Lee & Low, 2016. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Paul, Baptiste. The Field. Illustrated by Jacqueline Alcantara. NorthSouth, 2018. 24 pages. Ages 4-8

Novels

Acevedo, Elizabeth. Clap When You Land. HarperCollins/HarperTeen, 2020. 417 pages. Age 13 and older

Acioli, Socorro. The Head of the Saint. Delacorte, 2016. 181 pages. Age 12 and older

Brown, Skila. Caminar. Candlewick, 2014. 193 pages. Ages 9-13

Callender, Kheryn. Hurricane Child. Scholastic, 2018. 214 pages. Ages 10-13

Diaz, Alexandra. The Only Road. Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster, 2016. 308 pages. Ages 9-13

Diederich, Phillippe. Playing for the Devil's Fire. Cinco Puntos, 2016. 254 pages. Age 12 and older

Fajardo, Anika. What If a Fish. Simon & Schuster, 2020. 231 pages. Ages 9-12

Getten, Kereen. When Life Gives You Mangos. Delacorte/Random House, 2020. 193 pages. Ages 9-12

Martins, Vitor. Here the Whole Time. Push/Scholastic, 2020. 273 pages. Age 13 and older

Medina, Juana. Juana & Lucas. Candlewick, 2016. 88 pages. Ages 7-10

Non-Fiction

Ada, Alma Flor. Island Treasures: Growing Up in Cuba. Illustrated by Antonio Martorell. Atheneum, 2015. 240 pages. Age 10 and older

Brown, Monica. Sharuko: Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello = El arqueologo Peruano Julio C. Tello. Illustrated by Elisa Chavarri. Children's Book Press/Lee & Low, 2020. 32 pages. Ages 7-10

Carballido, Jose Luis and Diego Pol. Titanosaur: Discovering the World's Largest Dinosaur. Illustrated by Florencia Gigena. Orchard/Scholastic, 2019. 32 pages. Ages 5-9

Engle, Margarita. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir. Atheneum, 2015. 192 pages. Age 11 and older

Grande, Reyna. The Distance Between Us. Aladdin, 2016. 322 pages. Age 13 and older

Montgomery, Sy. The Tapir Scientist. Houghton Mifflin , 2013. 80 pages. Ages 10-14

Rousseau, Ashley and Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce. I Am a Promise. Illustrated by Rachel Moss. Akashic/Black Sheep, 2020. 24 pages. Ages 5-9

Smith, Monique Gray. Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation. Orca, 2017. 160 pages. Ages 8-13

Tonatiuh, Duncan. Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras. Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh. Abrams, 2015. 40 pages. Ages 8-12

Villalobos, Juan Pablo. The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border. Farrar Straus Giroux/Macmillan, 2019. 147 pages. Age 12 and older

Asia and Pacific Islands

Picture Books

Goldsaito, Katrina. The Sound of Silence. Illustrated by Julia Kuo. Little, Brown, 2016. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Jiang, Ji-li. Red Kite, Blue Kite. Illustrated by Greg Ruth. Disney/Hyperion, 2013. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

Khan, Rukhsana. King for a Day. Illustrated by Christiane Kromer. Lee & Low, 2015. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

Meshon, Aaron. Take Me Out to the Yakyu. Illustrated by Aaron Meshon. Atheneum, 2013. 36 pages. Ages 3-6

Smith, Heather. The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota's Garden . Illustrated by Rachel Wada. Orca, 2019. 32 pages. Ages 5-9

Uegaki, Chieri. Ojiichan's Gift. Illustrated by Genevieve Simms. Kids Can, 2019. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

Yang, Belle. Angel in Beijing. Illustrated by Belle Yang. Candlewick, 2018. 24 pages. Ages 3-7

Novels

Alkaf, Hanna. The Girl and the Ghost. Harper/HarperCollins, 2020. 275 pages. Ages 9-12

Hashimi, Nadia. One Half from the East. Harper/HarperCollins, 2016. 256 pages. Ages 9-13

Hiranandani, Veera. The Night Diary. Dial/Penguin, 2018. 264 pages. Ages 10-13

Kadohata, Cynthia. A Place to Belong. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2019. 405 pages. Ages 9-13

Krishnaswami, Uma. Book Uncle and Me. Illustrated by Julianna Swaney. Groundwood, 2016. 149 pages. Ages 7-10

Lai, Thanhha. Listen, Slowly. Harper, 2015. 260 pages. Ages 10-13

Lee, Julie. Brother's Keeper. Holiday House, 2020. 314 pages. Ages 9-12

Perkins, Mitali. Tiger Boy. Illustrated by Jamie Hogan. Charlesbridge, 2015. 140 pages. Ages 7-10

Ribay, Randy. Patron Saints of Nothing. Kokila/Penguin Random House, 2019. 323 pages. Age 14 and older

Saeed, Aisha. Amal Unbound. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2018. 226 pages. Ages 9-13

Villanueva, Gail D.. My Fate According to the Butterfly. Scholastic Press, 2019. Ages 8-12

Wenxuan, Cao. Bronze and Sunflower. Illustrated by Meilo So. Candlewick, 2017. 386 pages. Ages 7-10

Non-Fiction

Ellis, Deborah. Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending War. Groundwood, 2012. 143 pages. Age 11 and older

Kim, Hyun Sook and Ryan Estrada. Banned Book Club. Illustrated by Hyung-Ju Ko. Iron Circus Comics, 2020. 198 pages. Age 13 and older

Lee, Sungju and Susan McClelland. Every Falling Star. Amulet, 2016. 320 pages. Age 11 and older

Liu, Na. Little White Duck: A Childhood in China. Illustrated by Andres Vera Martinez. Graphic Universe, 2012. 108 pages. Age 12 and older

McCormick, Patricia and Malala Yousafzau. I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Reader's Edition)9. Little, Brown, 2014. 230 pages. Age 12 and older

Rosenstock, Barb. The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art. Illustrated by Claire A. Nivola. Candlewick, 2018. 32 pages. Ages 6-10

Say, Allen. Drawing from Memory. Illustrated by Allen Say. Scholastic Press, 2011. 64 pages. Age 10 and older

Soontornvat, Christina. All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team. Candlewick, 2020. 280 pages. Age 10 and older

Yoo, Paula. Twenty-two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank. Lee & Low, 2014. 40 pages. Ages 7-10

Young, Ed. The House Baba Built. Illustrated by Ed Young. Little, Brown, 2011. 48 pages. Ages 7-14

Europe and Australia

Picture Books

Baker, Jeannie. Mirror. Illustrated by Jeannie Baker. Candlewick, 2010. 40 pages. Ages 6-9

Bunting, Eve. Ballywhinney Girl. Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully. Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. 32 pages. Ages 7-10

Carnesi, Monica. Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic. Illustrated by Monica Carnesi. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, 2012. 32 pages. Ages 5-10

Davies, Nicola. King of the Sky. Illustrated by Laura Carlin. Candlewick, 2017. 48 pages.

Lester, Alison. Sophie Scott Goes South. Illustrated by Alison Lester. Houghton Mifflin , 2013. 32 pages. Ages 5-9

McCutcheon, John. Flowers for Sarajevo. Illustrated by Kristy Caldwell. Peachtree, 2017. 32 pages. Ages 7-10

Novels

Abdel-Fattah, Randa. The Lines We Cross. Scholastic Press, 2017. 400 pages. Age 12 and older

Boyce, Frank Cottrell. The Unforgotten Coat. Candlewick, 2011. 112 pages. Ages 9-12

Fraillon, Zana. The Bone Sparrow. Disney-Hyperion, 2016. 228 pages. Ages 10-13

Lai, Remy. Pie in the Sky. Illustrated by Remy Lai. Henry Holt, 2019. 384 pages. Ages 8-12

Levine, Gail Carson. A Ceiling Made of Eggshells. Harper/HarperCollins, 2020. 371 pages. Ages 10-13

Litvina, Alexandra. The Apartment: A Century of Russian History. Illustrated by Anna Desnitskaya. Abrams, 2019. Ages 9-13

Nesbet, Anne. Cloud and Wallfish. Candlewick, 2016. 385 pages. Ages 10-13

Pung, Alice. Lucy & Linh. Alfred A. Knopf, 2016. 340 pages. Age 13 and older

Stark, Ulf. The Runaways. Illustrated by Kitty Crowther. Gecko, 2019. Ages 7-11

Yelchin, Eugene. Arcady's Goal. Henry Holt, 2014. 234 pages. Ages 8-10

Non-Fiction

Anderson, M. T.. Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad. Candlewick, 2015. 456 pages. Age 14 and older

Barton, Chris. Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion. Illustrated by Victo Ngai. Millbrook, 2017. 36 pages. Ages 7-10

Bascomb, Neal. Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler's Atomic Bomb. Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2016. 307 pages. Age 12 and older

Bascomb, Neal. The Racers: How an Outcast Driver, an American Heiress, and a Legendary Car Challenged Hitler's Best. Scholastic Focus, 2020. 323 pages. Ages 11-14

Fleming, Candace. The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia. Schwartz & Wade, 2014. 292 pages. Age 14 and older

Freedman, Russell. The War to End All Wars: World War I. Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. 176 pages. Age 12 and older

Rappaport, Doreen. Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust. Candlewick, 2012. 228 pages. Age 12 and older

Sabic-El-Rayess, Amra and Laura L. Sullivan. The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival. Bloomsbury, 2020. 370 pages. Age 13 and older

Vaughan, Marcia. Irena's Jars of Secrets. Illustrated by Ron Mazellan. Lee & Low, 2011. 36 pages. Ages 7-11

Wein, Elizabeth. A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2018. 388 pages. Age 13 and older

Middle East

Picture Books

Addasi, Maha. Time to Pray. Illustrated by Ned Gannon. Boyds Mills, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 6-10

Charara, Hayan. The Three Lucys. Illustrated by Sara Kahn. Abrams ComicArts/Lee & Low, 2016. 40 pages. Ages 5-8

Gilani-Williams, Fawzia. Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom, Salaam. Illustrated by Chiara Fedele. Kar-Ben, 2017. 24 pages. Ages 3-7

Javaherbin, Mina. My Grandma and Me. Illustrated by Lindsey Yankey. Candlewick, 2019. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

Kuntz, Doug and Amy Shrodes. Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush's Incredible Journey. Illustrated by Sue Cornelison. Crown, 2017. 40 pages. Ages 6-9

Roth, Susan L. and Karen Leggett Abouraya. Hands around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books. Illustrated by Susan L. Roth. Dial, 2012. 32 pages. Ages 7-12

Novels

Abdel-Fattah, Randa. Where the Streets Had a Name. Scholastic Press, 2010. 320 pages. Age 12 and older

Amir, . Zahra's Paradise. Illustrated by Khalil. First Second, 2011. 255 pages. Age 16 and older

Deracine, Anat. Driving by Starlight. Godwin Books/Henry Holt, 2018. 280 pages. Age 12 and older

Ellis, Deborah. Moon at Nine. Pajama Press, 2014. 223 pages. Age 14 and older

Ellis, Deborah. The Cat at the Wall. Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2014. 144 pages. Ages 10-13

Farizan, Sara. If You Could Be Mine. Algonquin, 2013. 247 pages. Age 13 and older

Nye, Naomi Shihab. The Turtle of Oman. Illustrated by Betsy Peterschmidt. Greenwillow, 2014. 299 pages. Ages 7-10

Saeed, Jamal and Sharon E. McKay. Yara's Spring. Annick, 2020. 298 pages. Age 11 and older

Warga, Jasmine. Other Words for Home. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2019. 352 pages. Ages 8-12

Non-Fiction

Abirached, Zeina. I Remember Beirut. Illustrated by Zeina Abirached. Graphic Universe, 2014. 96 pages. Age 14 and older

Barakat, Ibtisam. Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine. Margaret Ferguson Books, 2016. 2016 pages. Age 12 and older

Latham, Irene and Karim Shamsi-Basha. The Cat Man of Aleppo. Illustrated by Yuko Shimizu. Penguin Random House/Putnam, 2020. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. Pantheon, 2003. 160 pages. Age 15 and older

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Our Recommended Book Search includes subject access to CCBC-recommended titles based on subject headings created by our staff.