Culture Study Books

The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World

by Lonely Planet

A beautifully illustrated, two-page spread on every country of the world, with overview information about the country.  A great, inspirational tome to generate interest in further study.


Children Just Like Me

by Anabel & Barnabas Kindersley  

Mini biographies (by way of heavily illustrated, DK-style paragraphs) of children from around the world.



Tsion’s Life

by Stacy Bellward.

About the everyday life of a young girl in Ethiopia.




Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions

by Margaret Musgrove

A beautifully illustrated alphabet book in which each letter leads to a description of a tale or belief or cultural tradition of a different African people.



World Alphabets Books

A delightful series of books put out by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.  This entire series presents beautifully photographed overviews of the cultural realities of modern day life in the country named in the title. Each volume contains an “author’s note” giving an introduction to the country in question, then for each letter, A-Z, there is a brief paragraph describing some aspect of the culture. Fascinating content, for example, in “M is for Mexico”: A for Algeria (a popular sweet treat made of seeds and honey), Q for Quinceanera, etc. Great jumping-off points for further reading and research on the country. Great for seeding the imagination with concrete images of real people, to help make map-studies come alive, and to help inspire travel planning. Nothing at all even remotely violent or dramatic, either emotionally, socially, or physically, so a very safe choice for highly sensitive young readers. Highly recommended. I only wish they had more countries in the series.  The ones we have include:


Ryan and Jimmy: and the Well in Africa that Brought Them Together

by Herb Shoveller

A beautifully photo-documented story about a young Canadian boy who raised money to dig a well in Uganda, and the relationship he built with his pen-pal in the town where the well was built.



Mrs. Harkness and the Panda

by Alicia Potter

A biographical picture-story book about the woman who led the first successful expedition into the mountains of China, to bring back a giant panda for study.



Satchmo’s Blues

by Alan Schroeder

A biographical picture-story book about the early life of Louis Armstrong — famous trumpeter and American jazz pioneer.



Wangari’s Trees of Peace

by Jeanette Winter

A biographical picture-story book about the life of Wangari Maathai, who fought deforestation in Kenya, and enlisted local women to help replant thirty million trees.



One Hen

by Katie Smith Milway

A biographical picture-story book (based on the life of Kwabena Darko in Ghana) about a young boy who uses a micro loan from his village to buy one hen, with which he starts an egg business, that eventually lifts his family and many others in their village out of poverty.


The Good Garden

by Katie Smith Milway

A biographical picture-story book (based on the life of teacher Don Elias Sanchez, and the families that he helped), about a subsistence-farming family in the hills of Honduras who applied new knowledge of organic farming principles to go from hunger to growing more than enough to eat.


Lives of the Explorers

by Kathleen Krull & Kathryn Hewitt

An illustrated book of short biographies of great explorers throughout the ages.  Includes explorers hailing from many races and cultures of the world, both the kindly, open-minded, scholarly types, and those of the nastier, conquest-oriented persuasion.


The Wright Brothers: Pioneers of American Aviation

by Quentin Reynolds

A brilliant work of historical storytelling, which presents the lives of the Wright brothers, from their childhood experiments in sled and kite design, to the national presentation and flight demonstration of their first, perfected airplane to the United States military.