Countries: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about countries?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to countries. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about countries.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about countries, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Clue of the Black Keys to popular sellers like Mary Poppins to some of our favorite hidden gems like Grandfather’s Journey.

We hope this list of kids books about countries can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About Countries

The Egyptian Cinderella book
#1
The Egyptian Cinderella
Written and illustrated by Shirley Climo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

The Egyptian Cinderella does a superb job of introducing young and old readers alike to one of the first Cinderella tales: the story of the Greek slave girl Rhodopis who married the Egyptian Pharaoh Amasis. It’s a lengthy tale for a children’s book but very well done.

This Egyptian spin on the classic Cinderella tale was initially recorded in the first century by a Roman historian and is retold here by folklorist Shirley Climo.

Poor Rhodopis! She has nothing—no mother or father, and no friends. She is a slave, from the far-off country of Greece. Only the beautiful rose-red slippers her master gives her can make Rhodopis smile.

So when a falcon swoops down and snatches one of the slippers away, Rhodopis is heartbroken. For how is she to know that the slipper will land in the lap of the great Pharaoh himself? And who would ever guess that the Pharaoh has promised to find the slipper’s owner and make her queen of all Egypt?

The Colors of Ancient Egypt book
#2
The Colors of Ancient Egypt
Written and illustrated by Amy Mullen
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

The yellow belly of a toothy green crocodile. An orange reed boat on the blue Nile. The gold in Nefertiti’s headdress. These are just a few of the sweetly simple designs in this board book that will help little ones learn their colors while dipping a toe into the history and culture of ancient Egypt.

Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile book
#3
Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Little William Everett Crocodile and his friend Pete take a class trip to a Cairo museum where they encounter a jewel thief.

Mystery of the Egyptian Scroll book
#4
Mystery of the Egyptian Scroll
Written and illustrated by Scott Peters
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

You, who have dug deep and sifted hard for a story to read, have unearthed an ancient treasure: a mystery from the dusty ages, when a boy could be a hero and fight for the good of all . . . Zet and Kat are in charge, now that their father’s off fighting in Pharaoh’s army. But times are hard. Sales are dead at their family pottery stall. When Zet learns of a reward to capture a thief, he’s determined to win it. At first, the clues seem easy to track. Then he begins to fear things have gone too far. The chase leads them into forbidden temples whispering with the voices of ancient gods, into a web that threatens to crush their family forever. Praise for Scott Peters’ books: HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY: Steve Donoghue says: “Peters is such a natural and gifted storyteller” MIDDLE GRADE FICTION FINDER: Laurie Cameron says: “I recommend this historical novel”

The curse of the cheese pyramid book
#5
The curse of the cheese pyramid
Written by Geronimo Stilton and illustrated by Matt Wolf and Larry Keys
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

I’m off to Egypt! I climbed onboard a crabby old camel that would take me across the desert to the Great Cheese Pyramid. There, among mummies and hieroglyphics, I would learn the secret of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient Mouse World….

Hieroglyphs book
#6
Hieroglyphs
Written by Joyce Milton and illustrated by Charles Micucci
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Children can create hieroglypic messages and “works of art” while learning about the pictograms of Ancient Egypt. Full-color illustrations highlight information about the symbols that have been found on mummy cases, scrolls, and tomb walls.

Skippy jones and mummy trouble book
#7
Skippy jones and mummy trouble
Written and illustrated by Judy Schachner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

El Skippito is back! His doggy pals want to visit the Under Mundo—the underworld—where mummitos rest in peas. But they need El Skippito’s brains and courage to answer the riddle of the Finx and enter the mummy’s tomb. Our hero is up to the task, and he’s in for another whirlwind adventure.

Of numbers and stars book
#8
Of numbers and stars
Written by D. Anne Love and illustrated by Pam Paparone
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This book has a great, strong female lead. I love that it talks about her gaining knowledge and doing something out of the ordinary for her time. This story is a little bit longer, but it’s a fun “history” book about Hypatia.

Presents the life of a Egyptian woman who lived in fifth century Alexandria and became a respected scholar in mathematics and philosophy.

Who Was King Tut? book
#9
Who Was King Tut?
Written by Who HQ and Roberta Edwards and illustrated by True Kelley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Highlights the life of the boy pharaoh, describes the process by which his body and his tomb were prepared for the afterlife, and describes the search and excavation of his tomb in 1922.

We're Sailing Down the Nile book
#10
We're Sailing Down the Nile
Written by Laurie Krebs and illustrated by Anne Wilson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Climb aboard the river boat! We re sailing down the Nile. We ll visit Abu Simbel in just a little while.

Table of Contents
Jump to books about Countries and...

Books About Countries and Egypt

The Egyptian Cinderella book
#1
The Egyptian Cinderella
Written and illustrated by Shirley Climo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

The Egyptian Cinderella does a superb job of introducing young and old readers alike to one of the first Cinderella tales: the story of the Greek slave girl Rhodopis who married the Egyptian Pharaoh Amasis. It’s a lengthy tale for a children’s book but very well done.

This Egyptian spin on the classic Cinderella tale was initially recorded in the first century by a Roman historian and is retold here by folklorist Shirley Climo.

Poor Rhodopis! She has nothing—no mother or father, and no friends. She is a slave, from the far-off country of Greece. Only the beautiful rose-red slippers her master gives her can make Rhodopis smile.

So when a falcon swoops down and snatches one of the slippers away, Rhodopis is heartbroken. For how is she to know that the slipper will land in the lap of the great Pharaoh himself? And who would ever guess that the Pharaoh has promised to find the slipper’s owner and make her queen of all Egypt?

The Colors of Ancient Egypt book
#2
The Colors of Ancient Egypt
Written and illustrated by Amy Mullen
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

The yellow belly of a toothy green crocodile. An orange reed boat on the blue Nile. The gold in Nefertiti’s headdress. These are just a few of the sweetly simple designs in this board book that will help little ones learn their colors while dipping a toe into the history and culture of ancient Egypt.

Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile book
#3
Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Little William Everett Crocodile and his friend Pete take a class trip to a Cairo museum where they encounter a jewel thief.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Mystery of the Egyptian Scroll - You, who have dug deep and sifted hard for a story to read, have unearthed an ancient treasure: a mystery from the dusty ages, when a boy could be a hero and fight for the good of all . . . Zet and Kat are in charge, now that their father’s off fighting in Pharaoh’s army. But times are hard. Sales are dead at their family pottery stall. When Zet learns of a reward to capture a thief, he’s determined to win it. At first, the clues seem easy to track. Then he begins to fear things have gone too far. The chase leads them into forbidden temples whispering with the voices of ancient gods, into a web that threatens to crush their family forever. Praise for Scott Peters’ books: HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY: Steve Donoghue says: “Peters is such a natural and gifted storyteller” MIDDLE GRADE FICTION FINDER: Laurie Cameron says: “I recommend this historical novel”

  2. The curse of the cheese pyramid - I’m off to Egypt! I climbed onboard a crabby old camel that would take me across the desert to the Great Cheese Pyramid. There, among mummies and hieroglyphics, I would learn the secret of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient Mouse World….

  3. Hieroglyphs - Children can create hieroglypic messages and “works of art” while learning about the pictograms of Ancient Egypt. Full-color illustrations highlight information about the symbols that have been found on mummy cases, scrolls, and tomb walls.

  4. Skippy jones and mummy trouble - El Skippito is back! His doggy pals want to visit the Under Mundo—the underworld—where mummitos rest in peas. But they need El Skippito’s brains and courage to answer the riddle of the Finx and enter the mummy’s tomb. Our hero is up to the task, and he’s in for another whirlwind adventure.

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Books About Countries and London

L Is for London book
#1
L Is for London
Written and illustrated by Paul Thurlby
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Discover the best of London from A to Z with award-winning illustrator Paul Thurlby! From A for Abbey Road, K for Kew Gardens, L for London Eye, T for Tower Bridge, to Z for London Zoo and more, this striking book is bursting with the sights, sounds, and energy of London! See familiar landmarks and discover the lesser known charms of the city. London has never been more spectacular!

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor book
#2
Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor
Written by Patricia Valdez and illustrated by Felicita Sala
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets…. While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere—she even brought a crocodile to school!

When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious komodo dragons. There, just like when she was a little girl, Joan hosted children’s tea parties—with her komodo dragon as the guest of honor.

Jane Foster's Cities: London book
#3
Jane Foster's Cities: London
Written by Jane Foster
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Introduce little ones to London in this bold and graphic board book by illustrator and textile designer Jane Foster. In this beautiful and sophisticated board book, children will be introduced to bold images of London, such as Big Ben, Tower Bridge, fish and chips, and more!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Maisy Goes to London: A Maisy First Experiences Book - Little armchair travelers will be happy to join Maisy and friends on a whirlwind tour of the big city of London. It’s Maisy’s first trip to London! There are so many places to see, and so many ways to travel. Maisy and her friends visit lots of important places, like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London. To get around, she and her pals ride a double-decker bus and a water taxi and even squeeze into an underground train! Of course, no sightseeing trip would be complete without taking lots of photos. This friendly introduction to a great city is perfect for little Maisy fans everywhere.

  2. All Aboard! London - From the creators of BabyLit®: Every area of the world can be mapped out for adventure, and brilliant babies love the sophistication of traveling by train. This new board book series written by the husband and wife team of Haily and Kevin Meyers and illustrated by Haily, celebrates the unique qualities of each city while employing a fun primer element to tell the story. These books will have you and baby seeing the world by train and will turn story time into a globetrotting event. Perfect as a souvenir or as part of a geography collection for brilliant babies, the All Aboard! series will be pulling into your station next!

  3. Madeline's Christmas - Everyone gets her Christmas wish when Madeline’s in charge! Something is not right with the famous “twelve little girls in two straight lines.” All are sick in bed except brave Madeline, who must run the school, for even Miss Clavel is not feeling very well. But when Madeline finds help from a magical merchant, the girls embark on a Christmas journey that will surely make them forget their sniffles and sneezes.

  4. The War That Saved My Life - A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.

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Books About Countries and Mexico

Cinderella book
#1
Cinderella
Written by Chloe Perkins and illustrated by Sandra Equihua
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

The classic story of Cinderella gets a fresh twist in this vibrant Mexican spin on the beloved fairy tale! Once upon a time, there was a girl who lived in a little cottage with her stepmother and two stepsisters… The classic tale of Cinderella gets a fresh twist in this debut title of a brand-new board book series, Once Upon a World. With Mexico as the backdrop, and vibrant artwork from Mexican illustrator Sandra Equihua, Cinderella is still the same girl with a fairy godmother and a glass slipper—but she’s totally reimagined. Once Upon a World offers a multicultural take on the fairy tales we all know and love. Because these tales are for everyone, everywhere.

Adelita book
#2
Adelita
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Hace mucho tiempo—a long time ago—there lived a beautiful young woman named Adelita. So begins the age-old tale of a kindhearted young woman, her jealous stepmother, two hateful stepsisters, and a young man in search of a wife. The young man, Javier, falls madly in love with beautiful Adelita, but she disappears from his fiesta at midnight, leaving him with only one clue to her hidden identity: a beautiful rebozo—shawl. With the rebozo in place of a glass slipper, this favorite fairy tale takes a delightful twist. Tomie dePaola’s exquisite paintings, filled with the folk art of Mexico, make this a Cinderella story like no other.

Día de los Muertos book
#3
Día de los Muertos
Written by Hannah Eliot and illustrated by Jorge R. Gutierrez
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

At the end of October each year, it’s time to celebrate an ancient tradition: Dia de los Muertos! With vibrant illustrations by Golden Globe–winning Mexican illustrator Jorge Gutierrez, this festive board book teaches that Dia de los Muertos honors ancestors and loved ones who have passed. From sugar skulls to papel picado, this is a holiday that truly commemorates the cycle of life.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Cuauhtémoc - Inspired by the last Aztec Emperor of the old Mexico, this book introduces children to both shapes and their first English and Spanish words. You and your child will explore the city of Tenochtitlan along side Cuauhtémoc —where you’ll come across the circulo in the Aztec calendar, the triangle in the pyramid, the heart in the shield of an Aztec princess, and more!

  2. The Day of the Dead/ El Dia De Los Muertos - Now even the youngest children can enjoy the ghosts, skeletons and treats of this spirited holiday. With sugar skulls, sweet-smelling marigold petals, and joyful songs, a family welcomes back their beloved ancestors. This lively and colorful (and not too scary) tribute to a unique holiday is in English and Spanish.

  3. A New Home - As a girl in Mexico City and a boy in New York City ponder moving to each other’s locale, it becomes clear that the two cities — and the two children — are more alike than they might think. But I’m not sure I want to leave my home. I’m going to miss so much. Moving to a new city can be exciting. But what if your new home isn’t anything like your old home? Will you make friends? What will you eat? Where will you play? In a cleverly combined voice — accompanied by wonderfully detailed illustrations depicting parallel urban scenes — a young boy conveys his fears about moving from New York City to Mexico City while, at the same time, a young girl expresses trepidation about leaving Mexico City to move to New York City. Tania de Regil offers a heartwarming story that reminds us that home may be found wherever life leads. Fascinating details about each city are featured at the end.

  4. Nine Days to Christmas - Generations of readers have treasured this 1960 Caldecott Medal winner and its tale of a little Mexican girl’s excitement at the approach of Christmas. Ceci eagerly awaits Las Posadas, the traditional nine-day series of yuletide celebrations. This year she’ll lead the candlelight procession that reenacts Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem. Meanwhile, Mother takes her to the old marketplace to choose her very first piñata. Ceci is dazzled by the colorful array of options, and after making her choice has second thoughts about the fate of her piñata once the posada takes place. Graced by evocative illustrations, this international holiday classic is now available in a lovely hardcover edition. “The youngest child will be completely transported by this story,” noted The Atlantic, and readers of all ages will be charmed by the child’s-eye view of Mexican culture.

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Books About Countries and China

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas book
#1
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
Written by Natasha Yim and illustrated by Grace Zong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this Chinese American retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” a careless Goldy Luck wreaks havoc on the home of a family of panda bears. She eats up the littlest panda’s rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and rumples all the blankets on his futon. When Goldy takes responsibility for her actions, she makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!) just in time for Chinese New Year.

Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China book
#2
Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China
Written and illustrated by Ai-Ling Louie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“…A worthwhile addition to picture book collections.” — Booklist.”Executed with chromatic splendor—a unique combination of brilliance and restraint.” — The Horn Book”Every library will be enriched by it.” — School Library Journal.

Grandpa Grumps book
#3
Grandpa Grumps
Written by Katrina Moore and illustrated by Xindi Yan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting from China, and try as she might, Daisy can’t get her grumpy grandpa to smile!

Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting for the first time from China, and Daisy is so excited to meet him! She has big plans for all the fun they’ll have together, like tea parties and snow angels, but when Yeh-Yeh arrives, Daisy finds him less jolly than she imagined. Throughout the week, she tries all sorts of things to get him past his grumpiness. Will she be able to make him smile before he goes home?

Kids will love this funny and heartwarming story about overcoming cultural differences and connecting across generations!

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Empty Pot - The Empty Pot is Demi’s beloved picture book about an honest schoolboy A long time ago in China there was a boy named Ping who loved flowers. Anything he planted burst into bloom. The Emperor loved flowers too. When it was time to choose an heir, he gave a flower seed to each child in the kingdom. “Whoever can show me their best in a year’s time,” he proclaimed, “shall succeed me to the throne!” Ping plants his seed and tends it every day. But month after month passes, and nothing grows. When spring comes, Ping must go to the Emperor with nothing but an empty pot. Demi’s exquisite art and beautifully simple text show how Ping’s embarrassing failure is turned triumphant in this satisfying tale of honesty rewarded. An IRA-CBC Children’s Choice. An American Bookseller “Pick of the Lists.”

  2. The Great Race - Discover how 12 animals competed in a madcap swimming race to help create the lunar calendar! Includes facts about Chinese festivals, the lunar calendar and the animals that rule each year.

  3. Lunar New Year - Learn all about the traditions of Lunar New Year—also known as Chinese New Year—with this fourth board book in the Celebrate the World series, which highlights special occasions and holidays across the globe. After the winter solstice each year, it’s time for a celebration with many names: Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, and Lunar New Year! With beautiful artwork by Chinese illustrator Alina Chau, this festive board book teaches readers that Lunar New Year invites us to spend time with family and friends, to light lanterns, and set off fireworks, dance with dragons, and to live the new year in harmony and happiness.

  4. Bringing in the New Year - A Chinese American family prepares for and celebrates the Lunar New Year, in a book that includes endnotes discussing the customs and traditions of the Chinese New Year.

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Books About Countries and Japan

Grandfather's Journey book
#1
Grandfather's Journey
Written and illustrated by Allen Say
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Lyrical, breathtaking, splendid—words used to describe Allen Say’s Grandfather’s Journey when it was first published. At once deeply personal yet expressing universally held emotions, this tale of one man’s love for two countries and his constant desire to be in both places captured readers’ attention and hearts. Winner of the 1994 Caldecott Medal, it remains as historically relevant and emotionally engaging as ever.

The Funny Little Woman book
#2
The Funny Little Woman
Written by Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

In this Caldecott Medal-winning tale set in Old Japan, a lively little woman who loves to laugh pursues her runaway dumpling—and must outwit the wicked three-eyed oni when she lands in their clutches.

“The pictures are in perfect harmony with the humorous mood of the story. . . . It’s all done with a commendable amount of taste, imagination, and style.”—School Library Journal (starred review)

“A beautifully convincing tale.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Using elements of traditional Japanese art, the illustrator has made marvelously imaginative pictures.”—The Horn Book

“Lent’s pictures are a lively blend of finely detailed, delicate drawings and rip-roaring good humor.”—The Boston Globe

“A good read-aloud with lots of suspense.”—Learning

Awards: ALA Notable Children’s Book Child Study Association Book of the Year The Horn Book Fanfare

Suki's Kimono book
#3
Suki's Kimono
Written by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

On her first day of first grade, despite the objections of her older sisters, Suki chooses to wear her beloved Japanese kimono to school because it holds special memories of her grandmother’s visit last summer.

Honorable Mentions
  1. First Book of Sushi - Miso in my sippy cup, tofu in my bowl! From tekka maki to wasabi, tasty treats await young readers in this colorful, rhyming ode to Japanese cuisine. With pages full of tummy-tempting foods, the books in the World Snacks series are a delicious way to introduce even the littlest eaters to cuisines from all around the globe.

  2. Basho and the River Stones - The great poet Basho lives in the woods and shares the cherries from his cherry tree with the local foxes. But one tricky fox becomes greedy––He uses his magic to turn three river stones into gold coins, and then tricks Basho into giving up all of the cherries. When the fox returns to gloat over his victory, he discovers that Basho is content. Wiser than the fox, Basho knows that a poem inspired by the beauty of the river stones is more valuable than gold. Oki S. Han’s watercolors evoke ancient Japan in this sequel to the New York Times bestseller Basho and the Fox.

  3. Basho and the Fox - There are important lessons to be learned, even by proud poets, in this innovative tale of a fox who thinks he’s a great poet and a great poet who thinks he can outdo a fox! It is the 1600s in Japan. Basho is writing the lovely haiku for which he is famous to this day. Given three chances by the fox, he must write a poem that “needn’t be great—only good.” Confident of his skill, he’s sure he can win the challenge and its prize, the sweet cherries from the tree near his hut. But not all is what it seems as a newly humble Basho discovers! Delicate watercolors convey a truly Eastern sensibility that takes young readers back in time to feudal Japan while their playful perspectives reinforce the mischievous tone of the text.

  4. Take Me Out to the Yakyu - You may know that baseball is the Great American Pastime, but did you know that it is also a beloved sport in Japan? Come along with one little boy and his grandfathers, one in America and one in Japan, as he learns about baseball and its rich, varying cultural traditions. This debut picture book from Aaron Meshon is a home run—don’t be surprised if the vivid illustrations and energetic text leave you shouting, “LET’S PLAY YAKYU!”

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Did you enjoy our countries book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

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Table of Contents
  1. Top 10 Countries Books
  2. + Egypt (7)
  3. + London (7)
  4. + Mexico (7)
  5. + China (7)
  6. + Japan (7)
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