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Places And Regions: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about places and regions?

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

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 places and regions, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The House of Sixty Fathers to popular sellers like Anne of Green Gables (Puffin in Bloom) to some of our favorite hidden gems like From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

We hope this list of kids books about places and regions 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 Places And Regions

Stuart Little book
#1
Stuart Little
Written & illustrated by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A hardcover edition of this treasured story, for which Garth Williams’s original black-and-white line drawings for the jacket of Stuart Little have been colorized by the celebrated illustrator Rosemary Wells. Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he’s shy and thoughtful, he’s also a true lover of adventure. Stuart’s greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend?

Dear Zoo book
#2
Dear Zoo
Written & illustrated by Rod Campbell
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Rod Campbell’s classic lift-the-flap book Dear Zoo has been a firm favorite with toddlers and parents alike ever since it was first published in 1982.

Young readers love lifting the flaps to discover the animals the zoo has sent—a monkey, a lion, and even an elephant! But will they ever find the perfect pet?

With bright, bold artwork, a catchy refrain, and a whole host of favorite animals, Dear Zoo is a must for every child’s bookshelf.

My Heart Is Like a Zoo book
#3
My Heart Is Like a Zoo
Written & illustrated by Michael Hall
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

LOVE this book! First off, it includes animals that are less commonly used in books. Second, all of the illustrations use hearts in creating their shapes! Third, the similes on each page are tender and sweet!

Thoughts from The Goodfather

While it’s the creativity of the illustrations of zoo animals that really makes this a great addition to a young reader’s library, the text is also smart and wraps up very well with a clever ending that ties the whole book together.

board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

The New York Times bestseller My Heart Is Like a Zoo features bright colors, simple sentences, playful animals, and more than 300 hearts for children to count and enjoy. Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick says, “Starting with one simple shape, Michael Hall shows us a nearly infinite number of ways to make a menagerie of love.”

This board book edition of the award-winning picture book is perfect for little hands and the very youngest readers, who will learn that a heart can be hopeful, silly, happy, rugged, snappy, or lonely. A heart holds every different feeling, and author-artist Michael Hall captures each one with his bold, graphic artwork. An ideal springboard for conversations about emotions, and for introducing concepts, math, and art projects in the classroom and at home. School Library Journal called it an “outstanding choice for one-on-one sharing.”

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler book
#4
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Written by E.L. Konigsburg
Thoughts from The Goodfather

I have fond memories of this book from my own elementary days and look forward to sharing it with my own kids. The setting of the story in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art makes it especially attractive to any readers who love the city.

chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved classic From the Mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

In this winner of the Newbery Medal from E.L. Konigsburg, when suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere—to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant.

Twenty-one Elephants and Still Standing book
#5
Twenty-one Elephants and Still Standing
Written by April Jones Prince & illustrated by Francois Roca
Thoughts from The Goodfather

This story memorably presents such an inspiring moment in the history of the Brooklyn Bridge. It also touches on the general history of the bridge. The soft illustration style helps create the memorable and inspiring feel of the story. This is a great book about New York City!

picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

After fourteen years of construction, the Brooklyn Bridge was completed, much to the delight of the sister cities it connected: Brooklyn and New York City.

Fireworks and top hats filled the air in celebration when the magnificent bridge opened in 1883. But some wondered just how much weight the new bridge could hold. Was it truly safe?

One man seized the opportunity to show people in Brooklyn, New York and the world that the Brooklyn Bridge was in fact strong enough to hold even the heaviest of passengers. P. T. Barnum, creator of “The Greatest Show on Earth,” would present a show too big for the Big Top and too wondrous to forget.

Her Right Foot book
#6
Her Right Foot
Written by Dave Eggers & illustrated by Shawn Harris
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this book about the statue of liberty! The illustrations are completely gorgeous, and the book is fact-filled and full of great vocabulary. While some of the words might go over the heads of little ones, I really like the diction choice to help introduce new words. The story tells a lot of the history and meaning behind the statue, and I learned a lot of new things from this book, myself. The story starts with the history of the statue, moves towards more facts and details about the building of the statue, and ends with what the statue represents about freedom, liberty, and immigration.

picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

If you had to name a statue, any statue, odds are good you’d mention the Statue of Liberty. Have you seen her? She’s in New York. She’s holding a torch. And she’s taking one step forward. But why? In this fascinating, fun take on nonfiction, uniquely American in its frank tone and honest look at the literal foundation of our country, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris investigate a seemingly small trait of America’s most emblematic statue. What they find is about more than history, more than art. What they find in the Statue of Liberty’s right foot is the powerful message of acceptance that is essential to an entire country’s creation. Can you believe that?

Good Night, Gorilla book
#7
Good Night, Gorilla
Written & illustrated by Peggy Rathmann
Thoughts from Grammy

With spare text and rich illustrations, Peggy Rathman walks us through the zookeeper’s bidding the animals at the zoo goodnight. There are many funny details to seek and find on each page. The clever ending contains a bit of irony; So many toddlers take a favorite stuffy to bed, why not a gorilla?

Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

What can you say about such a beloved classic? It’s humorous and doesn’t spell every little thing out, but provides just enough clues that my 2.5-year-old was able to piece together what was happening. As we’ve read it several times over, he enjoys pointing out how the gorilla is going to help the other animals from their cages.

board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

A must-have board book for all babies.

Good night, Gorilla. Good night, Elephant.

It’s bedtime at the zoo, and all the animals are going to sleep. Or are they? Who’s that short, furry guy with the key in his hand and the mischievous grin?

Good night, Giraffe. Good night, Hyena.

Sneak along behind the zookeeper’s back, and see who gets the last laugh in this riotous good-night romp.

1, 2, 3 to the Zoo book
#8
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo
Written & illustrated by Eric Carle
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Each car on the train has one more zoo animal than the one before, from the first car with an elephant to the last with ten birds.

Animal Patterns book
#9
Animal Patterns
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Introduce little ones to all sorts of different patterns seen on animals! In Animal Patterns, little ones will be asked which patterns belong to which animals. The pages of this book are filled with familiar, kid-friendly animals, such as giraffes, zebras, tortoises, leopards, and more, rendered in a soft colors that make this an even more enjoyable experience for babies. Each page includes embossed animal patterns, creating a tactile experience for tiny hands. And on the last spread, all the animals appear with their correct patterns!

Checkers and Dot at the Zoo book
#10
Checkers and Dot at the Zoo
Written by J. Torres & illustrated by J. Lum
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Checkers and Dot visit the zoo, where they meet many different animals with interesting patterns.

Table of Contents
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Books About Places And Regions and Mexican Americans (chicanos)

Cinderella
Written by Chloe Perkins & 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.

Día de los Muertos (Celebrate the World)
Written by Hannah Eliot & illustrated by Jorge Gutierrez
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Learn all about the traditions of Día de los Muertos with this second book in the brand-new board book series Celebrate the World, which highlights special occasions and holidays across the globe. At the end of October each year, it’s time to celebrate an ancient tradition: Día de los Muertos! With vibrant illustrations by Golden Globe–winning Mexican illustrator Jorge Gutierrez, this festive board book teaches that Día 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.

Día de los Muertos
Written by Hannah Eliot & 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. Stella Diaz Never Gives Up - From award-winning author Angela Dominguez, comes the novel Stella Diaz Never Gives Up, a novel about a shy Mexican-American girl who becomes an environmental activist and makes a difference in her community. Stella gets a big surprise when her mom plans a trip to visit their family in Mexico! Stella loves marine animals, and she can’t wait to see the ocean for the first time . . . until she arrives and learns that the sea and its life forms are in danger due to pollution. Stella wants to save the ocean, but she knows she can’t do it alone. It’s going to take a lot of work and help from old and new friends to make a difference, but Stella Díaz never gives up! This is the second middle-grade novel from award-winning picture book author and illustrator Angela Dominguez. Based on the author’s experiences growing up Mexican-American, this infectiously charming character comes to life through relatable story-telling including simple Spanish vocabulary and adorable black-and-white art throughout.

  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. The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes - Award-winning author Duncan Tonatiuh reimagines one of Mexico’s cherished legends. Princess Izta had many wealthy suitors but dismissed them all. When a mere warrior, Popoca, promised to be true to her and stay always by her side, Izta fell in love. The emperor promised Popoca if he could defeat their enemy Jaguar Claw, then Popoca and Izta could wed. When Popoca was near to defeating Jaguar Claw, his opponent sent a messenger to Izta saying Popoca was dead. Izta fell into a deep sleep and, upon his return, even Popoca could not wake her. As promised Popoca stayed by her side. So two volcanoes were formed: Iztaccíhuatl, who continues to sleep, and Popocatépetl, who spews ash and smoke, trying to wake his love.

  4. Gift For Abuelita / Un regalo para Abuelita: Celebrating the Day of the Dead/En celebracion del Dia de los Muertos (English, Multilingual and Spanish Edition) - The love and rituals surrounding the Mexican folk holiday― The Day of the Dead.

Books About Places And Regions and Fairy Tales

Two of Everything
Written & illustrated by Lily Toy Hong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When old Mr. Haktak digs up a curious brass pot in his garden, he has no idea what use it can be. On his way home, Mr. Haktak decides to carry his coin purse in the mysterious pot. But when Mrs. Haktak’s hairpin accidentally slips into the pot and she reaches in to retrieve it, the magic of the pot is revealed. Not only are there two hairpins inside, but there are also two purses!

Adelita
Written & 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.

Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China
Written & 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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Rapunzel - The classic story of Rapunzel gets a fresh twist in this vibrant Indian spin on the beloved fairy tale! Once upon a time, there was a girl with long, long hair, who lived in a tall, tall tower… The classic tale of Rapunzel gets a fresh twist in this third book of a brand-new board book series, Once Upon a World. With India as the backdrop, and vibrant artwork from illustrator Archana Sreenivasan, Rapunzel is still the same girl who lets down her beautiful hair—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.

  2. The Persian Cinderella - In this jewel-like version of a classic story, popular folklorist Shirley Climo tells the tale of Settareh, the Persian Cinderella.

  3. The Korean Cinderella - This is an enchanting and magical variant of the favorite fairy tale. Like the tree planted to honor her birth, Pear Blossom is beautiful, and the pride of her elderly mother and father. But then her mother dies, and her father remarries. Pear Blossom’s stepmother resents her new daughter’s beauty. Out of jealousy, she makes Pear Blossom perform impossible chores while her own daughter, Peony, watches idly. But fortunately, Pear Blossom is not alone. With the help of magical creatures—togkabis—she can accomplish each task, and triumph over her stepmother’s cruelty.

  4. The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes - Ming Da is only nine years old when he becomes the emperor of China, and his three advisors take advantage of him by stealing his stores of rice, gold, and precious stones. But Ming Da has a plan. With the help of his tailors, he comes up with a clever idea to outsmart his devious advisors: He asks his tailors to make “magical” new clothes for him. Anyone who is honest, the young emperor explains, will see the clothes’ true splendor, but anyone who is dishonest will see only burlap sacks. The emperor dons a burlap sack, and the ministers can’t help but fall for his cunning trick.

Books About Places And Regions and Science And Nature

Chirri and Chirra, In the Tall Grass
Written & illustrated by Yuki Kaneko and Kaya Doi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-8

In their second adventure to reach the US market, Chirri & Chirra become very small, and so are able to explore the magical world hidden away in a mound of tall grass. Filled with friendly, industrious bees and equally inventive bugs, this is a book that brings the lovely particularity of life in Japan––marked by food and nature––to young readers here.

Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom
Written by Teresa Robeson & illustrated by Rebecca Huang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on beta decay. Along the way, she earned the admiration of famous scientists like Enrico Fermi and Robert Oppenheimer and became the first woman hired as an instructor by Princeton University, the first woman elected President of the American Physical Society, the first scientist to have an asteroid named after her when she was still alive, and many other honors.

Titan and the Wild Boars
Written by Pathana Sornhiran and Susan Hood & illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Don’t miss the breathtaking true story of the international rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand! One afternoon, eleven-year-old Titan, his friends from the Wild Boars soccer team, and their coach rode their bikes to explore local caves. They crawled through the narrow tunnels in the dark to reach the center of the cave. When they turned to go home, heavy rains had flooded the tunnel. They were trapped! With rising waters and monsoon season upon them, time and oxygen were running out. The world watched with bated breath as rescuers from around the globe joined forces to try to free the boys. After eighteen harrowing days, in an unprecedented effort of international teamwork, they were finally saved. Award-winning author Susan Hood and journalist Pathana Sornhiran based this picture book on Sornhiran’s first-hand reporting of the event, and Dow Phumiruk’s beautiful illustrations bring the story to life. The book also includes a timeline and back matter with additional resources.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Mountain Chef - The true story of a Chinese American mountain man who fed thirty people for ten days in the wilderness—and helped inspire the creation of the National Park Service. Tie Sing was born in the mountains. The mountains were in his blood. But because he was of Chinese descent at a time in America when to be Chinese meant working in restaurants or laundries, Tie Sing’s prospects were limited. But he had bigger plans. He began cooking for mapmakers and soon built a reputation as the best trail cook in California. When millionaire Stephen Mather began his quest to create a national park service in 1915, he invited a group of influential men—writers, tycoons, members of Congress, and even a movie star—to go camping in the Sierras. Tie Sing was hired to cook. Tie Sing planned diligently. He understood the importance of this trip. But when disaster struck—twice!—and Tie Sing’s supplies were lost, it was his creative spirit and quick mind that saved the day. His sumptuous menus had to be struck and Tie Sing had to start over in order to feed the thirty people in the group for ten whole days. His skills were tested and Tie Sing rose to the challenge. On the last night, he fed not just the campers’ bodies, but also their minds, reminding them to remember and protect the mountains. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, created by Congress on August 25, 1916. Today, you can hike to Sing Peak, named for Tie Sing, in Yosemite National Park.

  2. They Say Blue - A young girl describes where she finds colors in both the world around her and beyond what she can see.

  3. A Big Mooncake for Little Star - A Caldecott Honor Book! A gorgeous picture book that tells a whimsical origin story of the phases of the moon, from award-winning, bestselling author-illustrator Grace Lin Pat, pat, pat… Little Star’s soft feet tiptoed to the Big Mooncake. Little Star loves the delicious Mooncake that she bakes with her mama. But she’s not supposed to eat any yet! What happens when she can’t resist a nibble? In this stunning picture book that shines as bright as the stars in the sky, Newbery Honor author Grace Lin creates a heartwarming original story that explains phases of the moon.

  4. The Year of the Garden - In this prequel to The Year of the Book, join Anna in a year of discovery, new beginnings, friendships, and growth.

Books About Places And Regions and Hard Work

Ruby's Wish
Written by Shirin Yim Bridges & illustrated by Sophie Blackall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Ruby is unlike most little girls in old China. Instead of aspiring to get married, Ruby is determined to attend university when she grows up, just like the boys in her family. Based upon the inspirational story of the author’s grandmother and accompanied by richly detailed illustrations, Ruby’s Wish is an engaging portrait of a young girl who’s full of ambition and the family who rewards her hard work and courage.

Manjhi Moves a Mountain
Written by Nancy Churnin & illustrated by Danny Popovici
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dashrath Manjhi used a hammer and chisel, grit, determination, and twenty years to carve a path through the mountain separating his poor village from the nearby village with schools, markets, and a hospital. Manjhi Moves a Mountain shows how everyone can make a difference if your heart is big enough.

Feast of Peas
Written by Kashmira Sheth & illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Hard-working Jiva might not be the only one anticipating a delicious feast of peas from his garden. Every morning, Jiva works in his garden until the sun turns as red as a bride’s sari. He plants peas and beans, potatoes and tomatoes, eggplants and okra in his vegetable patch. When his friend Ruvji admires his plants Jiva sings, Plump peas, sweet peas, Lined- up-in-the-shell peas. Peas to munch, peas to crunch A feast of peas for lunch. But each time Jiva is ready to pick the peas for his feast, they’re already gone. What has happened? From the award-winning author and illustrator team who created Tiger in My Soup, this original story set in India features a deliciously amusing mystery about gardening, anticipation, hard work, and generosity.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl - It’s talent show time at school, and eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is excited to show her stuff. But as she thinks about her strengths—tree-climbing, mochi making, collage—none of them feel quite right to perform on-stage. Jasmine’s friends already have a talent: Tommy yo-yo’s, Daisy dances, and Linnie plays piano. Plus, Maggie Milsap (aka Miss Perfect) is saying she’ll have the best talent. When Jasmine’s mom introduces her to the taiko, a traditional Japanese drum, Jasmine finally finds an activity that feels just right. But will she be good enough at taiko in time to beat Maggie Milsap? Join Jasmine as she discovers her talent—and the difference between being the best and trying your best.

  2. Cartwheel Katie - Katie is enrolled in a gymnastics class, but when she has trouble doing some of the moves she gets discouraged and considers dropping out.

  3. Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy - Extreme weather affects two children’s lives in very different ways and shows how the power of nature can bring us together. One girl. One boy. Their lives couldn’t be more different. While she turns her shoulder to sandstorms and blistering winds, he cuffs his pants when heavy rains begin to fall. As the weather becomes more severe, their families and animals must flee to safety—and their destination shows that they might be more alike than they seem. The journeys of these two children experiencing weather extremes in India highlight the power of nature and the resilience of the the human spirit.

  4. Holy Squawkamole! - This tasty takeonthe classic Little Red Hen story has a deliciously spicy twist! Yum, guacamole! That’s what Little Red Hen craves, and she could use some help gathering and mashing the ingredients. So she asks her friends, including an armadillo, snake, and iguana, to lend a hand. Every one just says “no.” But after Little Red Hen works hard to make the scrumptious fresh guac, all the animals want a taste. In a fun departure from the original tale, Little Red Hen cooks up a comeuppance for the slackers that they’ll never forget!

Want to see books about hard work?

Books About Places And Regions and Chinese New Year

The Nian Monster
Written by Andrea Wang & illustrated by Alina Chau
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Tong tong! The legendary Nian monster has returned at Chinese New Year. With horns, scales, and wide, wicked jaws, Nian is intent on devouring Shanghai, starting with Xingling! The old tricks to keep him away don’t work on Nian anymore, but Xingling is clever. Will her quick thinking be enough to save the city from the Nian Monster?

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
Written by Natasha Yim & 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.

The Runaway Rice Cake
Written by Ying Chang Compestine & illustrated by Tungwai Chau
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

It’s the Chinese New Year, and the Chang Family has only enough rice flour to make one nián-gão, a special New Year’s rice cake, for the entire family to eat. But this delicious little nián-gão has other ideas. “Ai yo! I don’t think so!” it cries, coming to life and escaping. Ming, Cong, little Da and their parents chase the nián-gão all over the village until it runs into a hungry, old woman and sends her tumbling to the ground. Though Da is a small boy, his heart is big enough to share the treat with her, even though that leaves Da’s family with nothing to eat for their own celebration. But the Changs’ generosity doesn’t go unnoticed. When they return home, they find the Kitchen God has left a wonderful surprise for them. Ying Chang Compestine’s heartwarming story conveys an important and poignant message about sharing and compassion. Tungwai Chau’s soft and evocative illustrations complete this tender holiday story.

Honorable Mentions
  1. 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.

  2. 12 Lucky Animals: A Bilingual Baby Book - Vickie Lee and Joey Chou’s illustrated 12 Lucky Animals is a young, dual-language animal concept book introducing Chinese characters and the animals of the Chinese zodiac…

  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. The Runaway Wok - On Chinese New Year’s Eve, a poor man who works for the richest businessman in Beijing sends his son to market to trade their last few eggs for a bag of rice, but instead he brings home an empty -but magic- wok that changes their fortunes forever.

Books About Places And Regions and Cooking

Tacos!: An Interactive Recipe Book
Written & illustrated by Lotta Nieminen
board book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

For kids who cook in a play kitchen or a real kitchen, this interactive recipe book invites readers to chop the vegetables, mash the avocado, warm the tortillas, and more - all inside the book! Step one: Cut the chicken into cubes and toss it in a bowl with the spices. Step two: Warm oil on a skillet on the stove, then add the chicken. Step three: While the chicken cooks, chop the scallions, slice the radishes, shred the cabbage, mince the cilantro. Simple yet accurate recipe text takes readers through the steps of cooking tacos, while the interactive novelty features such as pull tabs, sliders, wheels, and pop-out pieces invite them to participate in the process. Perfect for kids who love to help in the kitchen, or any child who prefers to “do it myself.” This is the third title in the COOK IN A BOOK series.

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
Written by Kat Zhang & illustrated by Charlene Chua
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Meet the funny, fierce, and fearless Amy Wu, who is determined to make a perfect bao bun today. Can she rise to the occasion?

Amy loves to make bao with her family. But it takes skill to make the bao taste and look delicious. And her bao keep coming out all wrong.

Then she has an idea that may give her a second chance…Will Amy ever make the perfect bao?

First Book of Sushi
Written & illustrated by Amy Wilson Sanger
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen - The first book in a new chapter book series featuring a spunky Japanese-American heroine! Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is a flamingo fan, tree climber, and top-notch mess-maker! She’s also tired of her big sister, Sophie, always getting to do things first. For once, Jasmine wishes SHE could do something before Sophie—something special, something different. The New Year approaches, and as the Toguchi family gathers in Los Angeles to celebrate, Jasmine is jealous that her sister gets to help roll mochi balls by hand with the women. Her mom says that Jasmine is still too young to join in, so she hatches a plan to help the men pound the mochi rice instead. Surely her sister has never done THAT before. But pounding mochi is traditionally reserved for boys. And the mochi hammer is heavier than it looks. Can Jasmine build her case and her mochi-making muscles in time for New Year’s Day?

  2. Boy Dumplings: A Tasty Chinese Tale - Enjoy this hilarious and fun-filled tale, now with extra illustrations! In long ago China, a ghost can’t wait to sink his teeth into his next meal. Luckily he finds a plump boy! But can the child think fast enough to avoid becoming a midnight snack? Maybe so, if the ghost tries cooking the tricky recipe for “boy dumplings”…

Want to see books about cooking?

Books About Places And Regions and Siblings

Tikki Tikki Tembo
Written by Arlene Mosel & illustrated by Blair Lent
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An illustrated Chinese folk tale describes how the Chinese came to give all of their children short names.

Lon Po Po
Written & illustrated by Ed Young
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

WINNER OF THE RANDOLPH CALDECOTT MEDAL, AWARDED TO THE ARTIST OF THE MOST DISTINGUISHED AMERICAN PICTURE BOOK OF THE YEAR

“(Young’s) command of page composition and his sensitive use of color give the book a visual force that matches the strength of the story and stands as one of the illustrator’s best efforts.” —Booklist

“Absolutely splendid.” — Kirkus Reviews. “An extraordinary and powerful book.” — Publisher’s Weekly

The now-classic Chinese retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and one of the most celebrated picture books of our time.

The Dragon Warrior
Written by Katie Zhao
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Inspired by Chinese mythology, this high-action middle-grade fantasy follows an outcast as she embarks on a quest to prove herself—perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and The Serpent’s Secret. As a member of the Jade Society, twelve-year-old Faryn Liu dreams of honoring her family and the gods by becoming a warrior. But the Society has shunned Faryn and her brother Alex ever since their father disappeared years ago, forcing them to train in secret. Then, during an errand into San Francisco, Faryn stumbles into a battle with a demon—and helps defeat it. She just might be the fabled Heaven Breaker, a powerful warrior meant to work for the all-mighty deity, the Jade Emperor, by commanding an army of dragons to defeat the demons. That is, if she can prove her worth and find the island of the immortals before the Lunar New Year. With Alex and other unlikely allies at her side, Faryn sets off on a daring quest across Chinatowns. But becoming the Heaven Breaker will require more sacrifices than she first realized . . . What will Faryn be willing to give up to claim her destiny? This richly woven contemporary middle-grade fantasy, full of humor, magic, and heart, will appeal to readers who love Roshani Chokshi and Sayantani DasGupta.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Soccer on Sunday - Next stop for the New York Times bestselling Magic Tree House series? The World Cup in Mexico City! Goal! Jack and Annie have tickets to one of the most exciting soccer games ever—the 1970 World Cup! They are sure the famous soccer player Pelé will tell them a “secret of greatness.” The game is nonstop action and the stands are packed. But how will they find Pelé in a crowd of 100,000 soccer fans? Have they failed their mission? Or will the answer come when they least expect it? Have more fun with Jack and Annie on the Magic Tree House® website at MagicTreeHouse.com. From the Hardcover edition.

  2. Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! - Ling and Ting are twins. They have the same brown eyes. They have the same pink cheeks. They have the same happy smiles. Ling and Ting are two adorable identical twins, and they stick together, whether they are making dumplings, getting their hair cut, or practicing magic tricks. But looks are deceiving—people can be very different, even if they look exactly the same.

  3. Clever Little Witch - Magical mayhem and hilarity ensue when a clever little witch tries to turn her baby brother into a goldfish in this funny and imaginative picture book about sibling rivalry. Little Linh is the cleverest little witch on Mãi Mãi island. She has everything she could need: a trusty broomstick, a powerful spell book, and a magical pet mouse. She also has a new brother named Baby Phu, and she does not like him one bit. He crashes her broomstick, eats pages out of her spell book, and keeps her up all night. Little Linh tried giving Baby Phu away, but nobody will take him, not even the Orphanage for Lost and Magical Creatures. So, she’ll just have to try something else…like turning him into a goldfish. The only problem is, Baby Phu ate the second half of the spell. Still, there’s a reason Little Linh is the cleverest little witch. She can guess the second half of the spell…but it might take a few tries.

  4. Hazel and Twig: the Birthday Fortune - A delightful debut about two sisters with big dreams provides a charming introduction to the doljabi, a Korean first birthday tradition. Twig’s first birthday is coming up, and her whole family — especially her older sister, Hazel — is eager to see what she will choose at her doljabi. Whatever item Twig chooses will tell her fortune: Will she pick a hammer and grow up to be a builder? Will she pick a lute and grow up to be a musician? Hazel is hoping that Twig will choose the yarn, just like she did when she was Twig’s age. When the big day arrives and Twig makes an unexpected choice, will Hazel be able to help figure out what the future might hold for her little sister? Sweet, serious Hazel and the adorable Twig are certain to win the hearts of readers, who will long to enter their cozy woodland world.

Want to see books about siblings?

Books About Places And Regions and Spanish

I Remember Abuelito: A Day of the Dead Story / Yo Recuerdo a Abuelito: Un Cuento del Día de los Muertos (Spanish and English Edition)
Written by Janice Levy & illustrated by Miguel Arisa and Loretta Lopez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s the Day of the Dead! It’s time to celebrate! In this bilingual book, a young girl is busy helping her family prepare to honor those who have died—especially her grandfather. She misses him very much and is excited for his spirit to visit that night. Es el Día de los Muertos. ¡Es tiempo de celebrar! En este libro biligua una niña joven esta ocupada ayudando a su familia preparar en los que han muerto―especialmente su abuelo. Ella lo estraña mucho y está con mucho emoción que su espirito venga de visita está noche.

Cuauhtémoc
Written by Ariana Stein and Patty Rodriguez & illustrated by Citlali Reyes
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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!

Zapata: Colors - Colores (Bilingual: English / Spanish)
Written by Ariana Stein and Patty Rodriguez & illustrated by Citlali Reyes
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

“Inspired by Emiliano Zapata, a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, this book will introduce your little ones to their first English and Spanish words”—page [4] of cover.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Not a Bean - A Mexican jumping bean isn’t a bean at all. It’s a fascinating home and food source for a special kind of caterpillar! With Spanish vocabulary and a clever counting concept, this poetic story shares the life cycle of a Mexican jumping bean. This curious jumping insect is actually a seedpod from a shrub called yerba de la flecha, into which a caterpillar burrows, living inside the pod until it builds a cocoon and breaks out as a moth. Perfect for preschoolers and prereaders, this creative picture book explores the Mexican jumping bean’s daily life and eventual transformation and escape from the pod.

  2. Festival of Bones / El Festival de las Calaveras: The Little-Bitty Book for the Day of the Dead (English and Spanish Edition) - Mexico’s Day of the Dead fascinates U.S readers, whether for its joyful celebration of an unusual tradition or because it simply feels like home. San Vicente lets children join the celebration as they watch the skeletons rock, rattle, and roll those long old bones as they get ready for the biggest event of their social calendar. A short and fun essay, directed toward young readers, will explain this important Mexican holiday.

Want to see books about spanish?

Books About Places And Regions and Multigenerational

Our Favorite Day
Written & illustrated by Joowon Oh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Charmingly detailed illustrations help tell a touching tale of the bond between grandparent and grandchild in a quiet yet powerful debut. “Thursdays are my favorite days.” “Mine, too.” Every morning Papa follows his normal routine. He drinks his tea, waters his plants, tidies up, and takes the bus into town. Papa enjoys his daily tasks, but there’s one day each week that is extra special. That’s the day he might visit the craft store, get two orders of dumplings to go, and possibly pick some flowers he sees along the path. With its spare text and wonderfully warm watercolor and cut-paper illustrations just begging to be pored over, Joowon Oh’s tale of the singular love between a grandfather and granddaughter will nestle within the heart of every reader.

Federico and the Wolf
Written by Rebecca J. Gomez & illustrated by Elisa Chavarri
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Clever Federico outsmarts el lobo in this fresh and funny Mexican-American take on Little Red Riding Hood.

With his red hoodie on and his bicycle basket full of food, Federico is ready to visit Abuelo. But on the way, he meets a hungry wolf. And now his grandfather bears a striking resemblance to el lobo. Fortunately, Federico is quick and clever—and just happens to be carrying a spicy surprise! Federico drives the wolf away, and he and Abuelo celebrate with a special salsa. Recipe included.

Leila in Saffron
Written by & illustrated by Rukhsanna Guidroz and Dinara Mirtalipova
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A colorful journey of self-discovery and identity, this sweet, vibrant picture book follows young Leila as she visits her grandmother’s house for their weekly family dinner, and finds parts of herself and her heritage in the family, friends, and art around her. Sometimes I’m not sure if I like being me. When Leila looks in the mirror, she doesn’t know if she likes what she sees. But when her grandmother tells her the saffron beads on her scarf suit her, she feels a tiny bit better. So, Leila spends the rest of their family dinner night on the lookout for other parts of her she does like. Follow Leila’s journey as she uses her senses of sight, smell, taste, touch to seek out the characteristics that make up her unique identity, and finds reasons to feel proud of herself, just as she is.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin - Hana has signed up to play the violin at the talent show, even though sheÍs only had three lessons. Her brothers predict disaster. But Hana practices and practices, inspired by her grandfather, or Ojiichan, who played the violin every day when she visited him in Japan. As Hana takes the stage, doubt is all she can hear, until she recalls her grandfatherÍs words of encouragement, and shows the audience how beautiful music can take many forms.

  2. A Gift from Abuela - In her first book for children, Cecilia Ruiz illuminates how things can change — and the importance of holding on to our dearest relationships when they do. The first time Abuela holds Nina, her heart overflows with tenderness. And as Nina grows up, she and Abuela spend plenty of time together. Abuela can’t help thinking how much she’d like to give Nina a very special treat, so she saves a little bit of her money every week — a few pesos here, a few pesos there. When the world turns upside down, Abuela’s dream of a surprise for Nina seems impossible. Luckily, time spent together — and the love Abuela and Nina have for each other — could turn out to be the very best gift of all. With a soft and subtle hand, author-illustrator Cecilia Ruiz draws from her own history to share a deeply personal tale about remembering what’s most important when life starts to get in the way.

Books About Places And Regions and School

Danbi Leads the School Parade
Written & illustrated by Anna Kim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Meet Danbi, the new girl at school!

Danbi is thrilled to start her new school in America. But a bit nervous too, for when she walks into the classroom, everything goes quiet. Everyone stares. Danbi wants to join in the dances and the games, but she doesn’t know the rules and just can’t get anything right. Luckily, she isn’t one to give up. With a spark of imagination, she makes up a new game and leads her classmates on a parade to remember! Danbi Leads the School Parade introduces readers to an irresistible new character. In this first story, she learns to navigate her two cultures and realizes that when you open your world to others, their world opens up to you.

Spy School Goes South
Written by Stuart Gibbs
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Ben is taken to Mexico by his nemesis in the hopes that he’ll finally be able to take down SPYDER in this latest addition to the New York Times bestselling Spy School series. Thirteen-year-old Ben Ripley has been caught in the snares of SPYDER more than once and knows well enough to be suspicious of anything that seems too good to be true—despite needing special tutoring in advanced survival techniques. So when Murray Hill finally breaks his silence with an offer to hand over the SPYDER elite, Ben knows that there must be something going on. But his hesitation doesn’t stop the assignment. The Mission: Follow Murray Hill to an undisclosed location with no one else but Erica Hale to identify SPYDER leadership. Once found, contact the CIA to sweep in and finish the job. DO NOT CONTACT SPYDER DIRECTLY. However, as Ben suspected, nothing goes as planned, and what should be an easy mission quickly turns deadly. Now, Ben and Erica will have to face rogue agents, trained killers, and even very hungry crocodiles in a race against the clock to find out what SPYDER is up to this time—and thwart their evil plans.

All Our Wild Wonder
Written by Sarah Kay & illustrated by Sophia Janowitz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

All Our Wild Wonder is a vibrant tribute to extraordinary educators and a celebration of learning. The perfect gift for the mentors in our lives, this charming, illustrated poem reminds us of the beauty in, and importance of, cultivating curiosity, creativity, and confidence in others.

Honorable Mentions
  1. My Name Is Yoon -

  2. Ten Cents a Pound - A young girl and her mother have a loving, passionate conversation with each other. The girl is torn between her desire to stay home with her family and the familiarity of their village, and her desire to go to school and discover the world beyond the mountains that surround them. Every time the girl insists that she will stay, her mother repeats that she must go, that there is more to life than the labor in the coffee trees.

  3. Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of Ghosts - Don’t call him scaredy cat! After an unfortunate incident in the Space Museum, Sam goes on a mission to prove that he’s not afraid of ANYTHING—just like the heroes on his favorite show, Space Blasters. And when it looks like his house is haunted, Sam may just get to prove how brave he is. A funny tale of ghost hunting, escaped pet snakes, and cats with attitude!

  4. Katie Finds a Job - As Career Day at school approaches, Katie has great ideas for helping her friends present their future professions, but cannot think of a job that she would like to do.

Want to see books about school?

Books About Places And Regions and Dia De Los Muertos (day Of The Dead)

Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
Written & illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Funny Bones tells the story of how the amusing calaveras—skeletons performing various everyday or festive activities—came to be. They are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not the politicians. He continued to draw cartoons throughout much of his life, but he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. Juxtaposing his own art with that of Lupe’s, author Duncan Tonatiuh brings to light the remarkable life and work of a man whose art is beloved by many but whose name has remained in obscurity.

Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book
Written & illustrated by Jeanette Winter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Every year Don Pedro and his family make papier-mâché skeletons, or calaveras, for Mexico’s Day of the Dead fiesta. From the Angel and Doctor to the Mariachi and Unicornio, there’s a special calavera for each letter of the alphabet. Come dance with them! Includes a glossary of Spanish words and an author’s note.

Dia de Los Muertos
Written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong & illustrated by Carles Ballesteros
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and children throughout the pueblo, or town, are getting ready to celebrate! They decorate with colored streamers, calaveras, or sugar skulls, and pan de muertos, or bread of the dead. There are altars draped in cloth and covered in marigolds and twinkling candles. Music fills the streets. Join the fun and festivities, learn about a different cultural tradition, and brush up on your Spanish vocabulary, as the town honors their dearly departed in a traditional, time-honored style. ¡Es el Día de los Muertos y todos los niños del pueblo y ciudad están listos para celebrar! Decoran con calaveras lo calavera de azucar, pan de muertos y banderas. Hay altares cubriertos de manta con muchas flores, y velas parpadiendo. Musica llena las calles. Hay que unirse con los festivales y abrender una diferente cultura y traduciones y repasar el vocabulario en español, mientras el pueblo honra sus queridos en una tradución con el transcurso y con el estilo del tiempo.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Just a Minute!: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book (Pura Belpre Medal Book Illustrator (Awards)) - In this original trickster tale, Senor Calavera arrives unexpectedly at Grandma Beetle’s door. He requests that she leave with him right away. “Just a minute,” Grandma Beetle tells him. She still has one house to sweep, two pots of tea to boil, three pounds of corn to make into tortillas — and that’s just the start! Using both Spanish and English words to tally the party preparations, Grandma Beetle cleverly delays her trip and spends her birthday with a table full of grandchildren and her surprise guest. This spirited tribute to the rich traditions of Mexican culture is the perfect introduction to counting in both English and Spanish. The vivacious illustrations and universal depiction of a family celebration are sure to be adored by young readers everywhere.

  2. The Dead Family Diaz - A fresh, funny take on the Day of the Dead that’s packed with kid appeal! Every skeleton in the Land of the Dead is excited to celebrate el Día de los Muertos with the Living. But not Angelito. His big sister has told him all about their horrifying bulgy eyes and squishy skin. So when Angelito is separated from his family in the Land of the Living, he’s petrified—until he makes a new friend who is just as terrified of THEM as Angelito is. Then his new buddy turns out to be (gulp!) a living boy! Angelito runs as fast as his bony feet can carry him. Fortunately the traditions of the Day of the Dead reunite the two boys, just in time for some holiday fun. Full of wild, Tim Burton-esque art, this clever tale is sure to become un libro favorito for the Day of the Dead, Halloween season, and beyond.

Books About Places And Regions and Death

Grandpa's Stories
Written by Joseph Coelho & illustrated by Allison Colpoys
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

One young girl reflects on a year with her beloved grandpa. She remembers the fields and parks they explored in the springtime and the old toys they fixed up in the summer. She remembers the handmade gifts they exchanged in the fall and the stories Grandpa told by the fi re each winter. But this year, the girl must say good-bye to Grandpa. In the face of her grief, she is determined to find a way to honor him. She decides to record her Grandpa stories in the notebook he made for her and carry Grandpa with her as she grows. An honest and relatable depiction of loss, Grandpa’s Stories celebrates life and the ways in which love lives on.

Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead
Written by Judy Goldman & illustrated by Rene King Moreno and Judy Goldman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

A family celebrates Día de Muertos, a holiday for remembering those who have passed. When the monarch butterflies return to her Mexican countryside, Lupita knows that Día de Muertos, “the Day of the Dead,” is near. She and her favorite uncle watch the butterflies flutter in the trees. When a butterfly lands on Lupita’s hand, her uncle reminds her that she should never hurt a monarch because they are believed to be the souls of the departed. Lupita and her family get ready for the holiday. When the first of November arrives, the family will go to the cemetery to honor the memories of their loved ones. But this year is different—Lupita’s uncle cannot join them. Now, Lupita learns the true meaning of the celebration.

The Night Diary
Written by Veera Hiranandani
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota's Garden - When the tsunami destroyed Makio’s village, Makio lost his father…and his voice. The entire village is silenced by grief, and the young child’s anger at the ocean grows. Then one day his neighbor, Mr. Hirota, begins a mysterious project—building a phone booth in his garden. At first Makio is puzzled; the phone isn’t connected to anything. It just sits there, unable to ring. But as more and more villagers are drawn to the phone booth, its purpose becomes clear to Makio: the disconnected phone is connecting people to their lost loved ones. Makio calls to the sea to return what it has taken from him and ultimately finds his voice and solace in a phone that carries words on the wind. Inspired by the true story of the wind phone in Otsuchi, Japan, following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

  2. Kira-Kira - kira-kira (kee ra kee ra): glittering; shining Glittering. That’s how Katie Takeshima’s sister Lynn makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And so are people s eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia it’s Lynn who explains to her why people stop on the street to stare. And it’s Lynn who with her special way of viewing the world teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill and the whole family begins to fall apart it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering — kira-kira — in the future.

  3. The Spirit of Tio Fernando: A Day of the Dead Story - It’s the Day of the Dead and Nando and his mother are going to honor Tío Fernando. Nando, named for Uncle Fernando, listens as his mother tells him that later, at the cemetery, they will meet with Tío Fernando’s spirit. Es el Día de los Muertos y Nando y su Madre van a honrar a Tío Fernando. Nando, nombrado en honor de Tío Fernando, escucha a su Madre decirle que mas adelante en el cementerio se van a encontrarse con el espirito de Tío Fernando.

Want to see books about death?

Books About Places And Regions and Diversity

Bilal Cooks Daal
Written by Aisha Saeed & illustrated by Anoosha Syed
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Six-year-old Bilal introduces his friends to his favorite dish—daal!—in this charming picture book that showcases the value of patience, teamwork, community, and sharing. Six-year-old Bilal is excited to help his dad make his favorite food of all-time: daal! The slow-cooked lentil dish from South Asia requires lots of ingredients and a whole lot of waiting. Bilal wants to introduce his friends to daal. They’ve never tried it! As the day goes on, the daal continues to simmer, and more kids join Bilal and his family, waiting to try the tasty dish. And as time passes, Bilal begins to wonder: Will his friends like it as much as he does? This debut picture book by Aisha Saeed, with charming illustrations by Anoosha Syed, uses food as a means of bringing a community together to share in each other’s family traditions.

Katie Woo's Neighborhood
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Laura Zarrin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie Woo loves her community. But it’s not just the parks, stores, and services that make the neighborhood great—it’s the all of the people who build the community and make it work. With every new neighbor Katie meets, she’s inspired to find new ways to be an awesome neighbor herself!

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: This Book Is a Classic
Written by Susan Tan & illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Priscilla Cilla Lee-Jenkins has just finished her (future) bestselling memoir, and now she s ready to write a Classic. This one promises to have everything: Romance, Adventure, and plenty of Drama like Cilla s struggles to be more Chinese, be the perfect flower girl at Aunt Eva s wedding, and learn how to share her best friend.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire - Cilla Lee-Jenkins is 50% Chinese, 50% Caucasian, and 100% destined for literary greatness! Priscilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins is on a tight deadline. Her baby sister is about to be born, and Cilla needs to become a bestselling author before her family forgets all about her. So she writes about what she knows best—herself! Stories from her bestselling memoir include: - How she dealt with being bald until she was five - How she overcame her struggles with reading - How family traditions with her Grandma and Grandpa Jenkins and her Chinese grandparents, Nai Nai and Ye Ye, are so different Debut author Susan Tan has written a novel bursting with love and humor, as told through a bright, irresistible biracial protagonist who will win your heart and make you laugh.

  2. Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire - Priscilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins is on a tight deadline. Her baby sister is about to be born, and Cilla needs to become a bestselling author before her family forgets all about her. So she writes about what she knows best―herself! Stories from her bestselling memoir, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire, include:

    • How she dealt with being bald until she was five
    • How she overcame her struggles with reading
    • How family traditions with her Grandma and Grandpa Jenkins and her Chinese grandparents, Nai Nai and Ye Ye, are so different
    Debut author Susan Tan has written a novel bursting with love and humor, as told through a bright, irresistible biracial protagonist who will win your heart and make you laugh.

Want to see books about diversity?

Books About Places And Regions and Indian

Festival of Colors
Written by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal & illustrated by Vashti Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-8

Youngsters can learn all about Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors, in this lush picture book from a “New York Times”-bestselling mother-and-son duo. Full color.

P Is for Poppadoms!
Written by Kabir Sehgal & illustrated by Hazel Ito
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

From C for chai to Y for yoga, this fresh, rhyming alphabet book takes young readers on a spirited journey to discover the people, places, lifestyles, and language of India. Lush illustrations from debut illustrator Hazel Ito bring to life the beauty, wonder, and diversity of this vast and vibrant country.

Thread of Love
Written by Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal & illustrated by Zara González Hoang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

Three siblings enjoy the Indian festival of Raksha Bandhan—a celebration of the special relationship between brothers and sisters—in this vibrant reinterpretation of the classic song Frère Jacques (Are You Sleeping) from New York Times bestselling mother/son duo Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal. It’s time for the Indian festival of Raksha Bandhan, the celebration of the special lifelong relationship shared by brothers and sisters everywhere. Join two sisters as they lovingly make rakhi—thread bracelets adorned with beads, sequins, sparkles, and tassels—for their brother. And then see their brother present them with toys and sweets and special gifts! New York Times bestselling authors Surishtha and Kabir Sehgals’ irresistible text, set to the tune of the classic song Frère Jacques (Are You Sleeping), will have little ones singing along while they learn about Indian culture. And the vibrant illustrations by Zara Gonzalez Hoang will have readers wishing they could step right into the characters’ colorful crafting world. This enchanting picture book includes instructions for making rakhi!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Outside In - “A compassionate story of homelessness and friendship, recycled art and community.” —Kirkus Reviews A twelve-year-old boy living on the streets of Chandigarh, India, stumbles across a secret garden full of sculptures and sees the possibility of another way of life as he bonds with the man who is creating the garden in this searingly beautiful novel—based on a true story. Twelve-year-old Ram is a street boy living behind a sign on a building’s rooftop, barely scraping by, winning games of gilli for money, occasionally given morsels of food through the kindness of Mr. Singh, a professor and father of his friend Daya. But his prowess at gilli (an outdoor game similar to cricket) is what gets him into big trouble. One day, when he wins against some schoolboys fair and square, the boys are infuriated. As they chase Ram across town, he flings his small sack of money over a factory gate where no one can get it, and disappears into the alleyways. But someone does get the money, Ram discovers when he sneaks back later on to rescue what is his—a strange-ish man on a bike who also seems to be collecting…rocks? Ram follows the man into the jungle, where he finds something unlike anything he’s seen—statues, hundreds of statues…no, thousands of them! Gods and goddesses and buildings, all at half scale. What is this place? It seems that the rock collecting man, Nek, has built them all! When Nek discovers that Ram has followed him, he has no choice but to let the boy stay and earn back the money Nek has already spent. How else can he keep him quiet? For his creations lie on land that isn’t technically his to build on. As Ram and Nek hesitantly become friends, Ram learns the true nature of this hidden village in the jungle, as well as the stories of Shiva and Lord Rama, stories of gods and goddesses that in strange ways seem to parallel Ram’s…and Nek’s. Based on the true story of one of India’s most beloved artists and modern day folk heroes, Nek Chand was a real man—a man displaced from his home in the midst of war and conflict; a man who missed his home so terribly he illegally reconstructed his entire village in miniature out of found objects and rock, recreating mosaic statues and sculptures spanning acres of jungle. Though Ram is a fictionalized character, Nek’s artwork is real. Intertwined with mythology and the sociopolitics of India, this is an exquisitely wrought, unexpected, and singular tale about the connection of community and how art can help make us human.

  2. Shubh Diwali! - Diwali has arrived! Rangoli art decorates the floor and strings of flowers hang around the doors. Now it’s time to ring the bells, light the lamps, and welcome the new year with family and friends. A sweet introduction to the Hindu festival of lights.

  3. Mahatma Gandhi: My First Mahatma Gandhi - This board book version of _Mahatma Gandhi_—from the critically acclaimed, mulitimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series—introduces the youngest dreamers to the incredible life of the father of India. As a young teenager in India, Gandhi led a rebellious life and went against his parents’ values. But as a young man, he started to form beliefs of his own that harked back to the Hindu principles of his childhood. Gandhi began to dream of unity for all peoples and religions. Inspired by this idea, he led peaceful protests to free India from British rule and unite the country—ending violence and unfair treatment. His bravery and free-thinking made him one of the most iconic people of peace in the world, known as Mahatma, meaning “great soul.” Babies and toddlers will love to snuggle as you read to them the engaging story of this amazing activist, and will also enjoy exploring the stylish and quirky illustrations of this sturdy board book on their own. Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream. This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children. Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!

  4. Embrace the Chicken - Even though she only left Mumbai a few months ago, Shivani isn’t feeling like such an outsider anymore. She likes her new school. She finally has a best friend. But when her mother volunteers for the school’s annual fundraiser, Shivani is sure she will completely embarrass her. Especially if she cooks one of the “stinky” dishes that Shivani loves but is too ashamed to eat in front of her friends. On the day of the fair, the moment Shivani walks into the gym she knows her worst fears have come true: the unmistakable scent of Indian spices is in the air. But then she sees that dozens of people are lined up at her mom’s stall. It’s the most popular one!

Want to see books about Indian?

Books About Places And Regions and Feelings And Emotions

A Nervous Night
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie is nervous about a sleepover at her grandparents’ house.

A Different Pond
Written by Bao Phi & illustrated by Thi Bui
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A 2018 Caldecott Honor Book that Kirkus Reviews calls “a must-read for our times,” A Different Pond is an unforgettable story about a simple event - a long-ago fishing trip. Graphic novelist Thi Bui and acclaimed poet Bao Phi deliver a powerful, honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son - and between cultures, old and new. As a young boy, Bao and his father awoke early, hours before his father’s long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. Thi Bui’s striking, evocative art paired with Phi’s expertly crafted prose has earned this powerful picture books six starred reviews and numerous awards.

Two Drops of Brown in a Cloud of White
Written by Saumiya Balasubramaniam & illustrated by Eva Campbell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A little girl and her mother walk home from school on a snowy winter day.

“So much snow,” says Ma. “So monochromatic.”

“Mono crow what?” her daughter replies.

Ma misses the sun, warmth and colors of their faraway homeland, but her daughter sees magic in everything — the clouds in the winter sky, the “firework” display when she throws an armful of snow into the air, making snow angels, tasting snowflakes. And in the end, her joy is contagious. Home is where family is, after all.

This gently layered, beautifully illustrated story that unfolds as a conversation between a mother and daughter will resonate with readers young and old.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh - Harpreet Singh has a different color for every mood and occasion, from happy sunny yellow to courageous red. He especially takes care with his patka—his turban—making sure it always matches his outfit. But when Harpreet’s mom finds a new job in a snowy city and they have to move, everything just feels gray. Can he find a way to make life bright again?

  2. Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of the Dark - Sam Wu is NOT afraid of the dark. But it’s hard to prove you’re brave when you’re about to face your greatest challenge: camping. That means confronting terrifying things like grizzly bears, vampire bats, aliens, and the worst person in the WHOLE UNIVERSE—Ralph ZInkerman! When something starts haunting the woods, can Sam and his crew band together to become Masters of the Dark? And could they even have . . . FUN?

  3. Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of Sharks - On a class trip to the aquarium, certified ghost hunter Sam Wu encounters something even scarier than ghosts: a giant shark who TOTALLY tries to eat him. Sam has no intentions of taking any more chances with these people-eating creatures. But then his classmates plan a birthday bash . . . on the BEACH! Can Sam overcome his fear of becoming fish food before he misses out on the fun?

  4. Moving Day - Katie Woo’s family is moving to a new house. Katie will miss her old room, and she thinks her new house seems a little weird. Her parents say it will feel like home soon enough, but she’s just not sure.

Books About Places And Regions and Hawaii

Ohana Means Family
Written by Ilima Loomis & illustrated by Kenard Pak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

**Join the family, or ohana, as they farm taro for poi to prepare for a traditional luau celebration with a poetic text in the style of The House That Jack Built**.**

“This is the land that’s never been sold, where work the hands, so wise and old, that reach through the water, clear and cold, into the mud to pick the taro to make the poi for our ohana’s luau.”

Acclaimed illustrator and animator Kenard Pak’s light-filled, dramatic illustrations pair exquisitely with Ilima Loomis’ text to celebrate Hawaiian land and culture.

The backmatter includes a glossary of Hawaiian terms used, as well as an author’s note.

Let’s Call Him Lauwiliwili
Written by Tim J Myers & illustrated by Daryl Arakaki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When two proud fish of different species marry and have a baby fish, an argument erupts over what to name the child. The new parents learn to work together and teach young readers about cooperation and compromise.

In the Deep Blue Sea
Written by Bill Nye & illustrated by Gregory Mone and Bill Nye
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

New York Times–bestselling authors Bill Nye the Science Guy and Gregory Mone take middle-grade readers on a scientific adventure in Book 2 of the exciting new Jack and the Geniuses series. The series combines real-world science along with a mysterious adventure that will leave kids guessing until the end, making the books ideal for STEM education. In the second installment, In the Deep Blue Sea, Jack, his genius siblings Ava and Matt, and inventor Dr. Hank Witherspoon travel to the Hawaiian island home of Ashley Hawking, a technology billionaire. Hawking and engineer Rosa Morris have built a revolutionary electricity plant that harvests energy from the deep ocean, but someone has been sabotaging the project. In their search for the culprit, Jack and crew navigate an unusual world of characters and suspects, including Hawking and her obnoxiously intelligent son, Steven; a family of surfers who accuse the billionaire of trespassing on sacred land; an ex–Navy SEAL with a fondness for cat photos; and a cigar-chomping man who calls himself the Air-Conditioning King of Hawaii. Readers will learn about the mysteries of the deep ocean, the scientific process, and the potential of green energy as Jack and his brilliant siblings use all their brainpower to survive. Integrating real science facts with humor and suspense and featuring a multiethnic cast of boy and girl characters, this engaging series is an irresistible combination for middle-grade readers. With easy-to-read language presented in a fun and accessible way, these books are great for both inquisitive kids and reluctant readers. In the Deep Blue Sea: Jack and the Geniuses Book 2 includes information about the science discussed and used to solve the mystery, as well as a cool project that kids can do at home or in the classroom.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Junie B., First Grader: Aloha-ha-ha! - Meet the World’s Funniest First Grader—Junie B. Jones! Junie B. and her family are going on a vacation to Hawaii! And ha! Mr. Scary is giving Junie a real, actual camera to keep a photo journal of her trip! But taking good vacation pictures is not always easy. ’Cause what if there is an unfortunate inner tube incident at the swimming pool? (And, oh my! Let’s not even mention what happens if a tropical bird gets tangled in your hair!) Will Junie B.’s vacation end up picture-perfect? Or will her trip to Hawaii be aloha-horrible?

  2. High Tide in Hawaii - Catch the wave! That’s what Jack and Annie do when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to a Hawaiian island of long ago. They learn how to surf and have a great time—until strange things start happening. Jack and Annie soon discover the cause: A tidal wave is headed their way! Can they help save their new friends in time?

  3. The Bottle Imp - In the magical South Seas, a man named Keawe buys a bottle that grants all wishes but condemns the owner to hell, but he soon discovers the redemptive power of love through his courtship of beautiful Kokua.

Want to see books about Hawaii?

Books About Places And Regions and 20th Century

Junko Tabei Masters the Mountains
Written by Rebel Girls & illustrated by Montse Galbany
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

From the world of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls comes the historical novel based on the life of Junko Tabei, the first female climber to summit Mount Everest.

Junko is bad at athletics. Really bad. Other students laugh because they think she is small and weak. Then her teacher takes the class on a trip to a mountain. It’s bigger than any Junko’s ever seen, but she is determined to make it to the top. Ganbatte, her teacher tells her. Do your best

After that first trip, Junko becomes a mountaineer in body and spirit. She climbs snowy mountains, rocky mountains, and even faraway mountains outside of her home country of Japan. She joins clubs and befriends fellow climbers who love the mountains as much as she does. Then, Junko does something that’s never been done before… she becomes the first woman to climb the tallest mountain in the world.

Write to Me
Written by Cynthia Grady & illustrated by Amiko Hirao
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Dear Miss Breed . . .”

A touching story about Japanese American children who corresponded with their beloved librarian while they were imprisoned in World War II internment camps.

When Executive Order 9066 is enacted after the attack at Pearl Harbor, children’s librarian Clara Breed’s young Japanese American patrons are to be sent to prison camp. Before they are moved, Breed asks the children to write her letters and gives them books to take with them. Through the three years of their internment, the children correspond with Miss Breed, sharing their stories, providing feedback on books, and creating a record of their experiences. Using excerpts from children’s letters held at the Japanese American National Museum, author Cynthia Grady presents a difficult subject with honesty and hope.

Raid of No Return (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #7)
Written & illustrated by Nathan Hale
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Nathan Hale tackles a topic fans have been asking about for years: World War II. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, officially bringing the United States into World War II. A new generation of pilots were recruited to fly bombing missions for the United States, and from that group, volunteers were requested for a dangerous secret assignment. For the first time in American history, Army bombers would be launched from an aircraft carrier. Once at sea, they were told their mission was a retaliation strike against targets in Tokyo. But on the day of the raid, a Japanese patrol boat spotted them and they had to launch early, with barely enough fuel to get them past their target. After the bombing, some pilots crashed, some were captured, and many ended up in mainland China and were carried to safety by Chinese villagers, being hunted by Japanese forces all the while. With tales of high-flying action and bravery, Raid of No Return is a story of heartbreak and survival during wartime.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Barbed Wire Baseball - Traces the childhood dream of Japanese-American baseball pioneer Kenichi Zenimura of playing professionally and his family’s struggles in a World War II internment camp where he introduces baseball to raise hope.

  2. Gandhi - Mohandas Gandhi’s 24-day March to the Sea, from March 12 to April 5, 1930, was a pivotal moment in India’s quest to become an independent country no longer ruled by Great Britain. With over 70 marchers, Gandhi walked from his hometown near Ahmedabab to the sea coast by the village of Dandi. The march was a non-violent means to protest the taxes that Great Britain had imposed on salt — not the salt that the Indians could get from the sea, but the salt that Great Britain forced them to buy. Gandhi believed that peaceful protests were an effective way to challenge British law, and his peaceful but ultimately successful movement became known as Satyagraha.

  3. Dust of Eden - In 1942, 13-year-old Mina Masako Tagawa and her Japanese American family are sent from their home in Seattle to an internment camp in Idaho. All they can do is wonder when America will remember that they, too, are Americans. This memorable and powerful novel in verse, written by award-winning author Mariko Nagai, explores the nature of fear, the beauty of life, and the hope of acceptance triumphing over bigotry.

  4. Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos - Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra, is based on the life of one of the world’s most influential painters, Frida Kahlo, and the animals that inspired her art and life. The fascinating Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is remembered for her self-portraits, her dramatic works featuring bold and vibrant colors. Her work brought attention to Mexican and indigenous culture and she is also renowned for her works celebrating the female form. Brown’s story recounts Frida’s beloved pets—two monkeys, a parrot, three dogs, two turkeys, an eagle, a black cat, and a fawn—and playfully considers how Frida embodied many wonderful characteristics of each animal.

Books About Places And Regions and Multicultural

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story
Written by Susan Tan & illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The beloved Cilla Lee-Jenkins returns for a third book in this middle-grade series about family, heritage, and overcoming great obstacles through love.

Pricilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins has already written a “Bestseller” and a “Classic”—now it’s time for her to write an Epic Story. Epics are all about brave heroes overcoming Struggles to save the world, and this year, Cilla is facing her toughest struggles yet:

· Cilla is in fifth grade and, unlike her classmates, not at all ready to start middle school. · She has two younger sisters to look after now and they don’t exactly get along. · Her beloved grandfather YeYe has had a stroke and forgotten his English, and it’s up to Cilla to help him find his words again.

With humor, heart, and her mighty pen, Cilla Lee-Jenkins will use her powers to vanquish every foe (the mean girls in her class), help every citizen (especially Ye Ye), and save the world.

The Nameless City: The Divided Earth
Written & illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-14

The Nameless City—held by the rogue Dao prince Erzi—is under siege by a coalition of Dao and Yisun forces who are determined to end the war for the Nameless City once and for all. And the people of the city—the “Named”—are caught in between. Meanwhile, Rat and Kai must infiltrate Erzi’s palace and steal back the ancient and deadly formula for napatha, the ancient weapon of mass destruction Erzi has unearthed—before he can use it to destroy everything Rat and Kai hold dear! In her third and final installment in the Nameless City trilogy, Faith Erin Hicks delivers a heart-thumping conclusion. With deft world-building, frantic battle scenes, and a gentle and moving friendship at its heart, the Nameless City has earned its place as one of the great fantasy series of our time.

The Nameless City
Written & illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Every time it is invaded the City gets a new name, but to the natives in is the Nameless City, and they survive by not letting themselves get involved—but now the fate of the City rests in the hands of Rat, a native, and Kaidu, one of the Dao, the latest occupiers, and the two must somehow work together if the City is to survive.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Boo, Katie Woo! - Disappointed that her monster costume does not frighten anyone, Katie Woo still finds a way to have a happy Halloween.

  2. No Valentines for Katie (Katie Woo) - Katie Woo’s class had a special celebration for Valentine’s Day. Katie had lots of fun reading the little candy hearts that her teacher handed out. But when everyone got a special valentine except her, she felt terrible. Could it be that nobody likes Katie Woo?

  3. Cinnamon - A talking tiger is the only one who may be able to get a princess to speak in this beautiful picture book set in a mythic India by the Newbery Medal-winning and New York Times bestselling author of American Gods and _Norse Mythology,_ Neil Gaiman, and illustrated in bold colors by Divya Srinivasan. This stunning picture book will transport readers to another time and place and will delight parents and children alike. “Full of Gaiman’s wit and whimsy, this one is great for reading aloud (and looks pretty lovely on the shelf as well). Gorgeous, with lush illustrations by Divya Srinivasan” (Brightly.com). Previously available only as an audio book, Cinnamon has never been published in print before, and Divya Srinivasan’s lush artwork brings Neil Gaiman’s text to life.

Books About Places And Regions and Kindness

The Seed of Compassion: Lessons from the Life and Teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Written by His Holiness The Dalai Lama & illustrated by Bao Luu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

For the first time ever, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate His Holiness the Dalai Lama addresses children directly, sharing lessons of peace and compassion, told through stories of his own childhood.

One of today’s most inspiring world leaders was once an ordinary child named Lhamo Thondup. In a small village in Tibet, his mother was his first great teacher of compassion. In everyday moments from his childhood, young readers begin to see that important lessons are all around us, and that they, too, can grow to truly understand them.

With simple, powerful text, the Dalai Lama shares the universalist teachings of treating one another with compassion, which Bao Luu illustrates beautifully in vibrant color. In an increasingly confusing world, The Seed of Compassion offers guidance and encouragement on how we all might bring more kindness to it.

Samurai Scarecrow
Written & illustrated by Rubin Pingk
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It is Halloween, and Yukio is excited to celebrate! But whatever Yukio does, his younger sister Kashi follows. When Yukio carves a pumpkin, Kashi carves a similar one. When Yukio maps out his trick-or-treat route, Kashi maps the same one. But when Kashi goes too far, Yukio says some things he doesn’t really mean.

Rice from Heaven
Written by Tina Cho & illustrated by Keum Jin Song
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Rice from Heaven is a true story about compassion and bravery as a young girl and her community in South Korea help deliver rice via balloons to the starving and oppressed people in North Korea. “We reach a place where mountains become a wall. A wall so high, no one dares to climb. Beyond that wall and across the sea live children just like me, except they do not have food to eat.” Yoori lives in South Korea and doesn’t know what North Korea is like, but her father (Appa) does. Appa grew up in North Korea, where he did not have enough food to eat. Starving, he fled to South Korea in search of a better life. Yoori doesn’t know how she can help as she’s only a little “grain of rice” herself, but Appa tells her that they can secretly help the starving people by sending special balloons that carry rice over the border. Villagers glare and grumble, and children protest feeding the enemy, but Yoori doesn’t back down. She has to help. People right over the border don’t have food. No rice, and no green fields. With renewed spirit, volunteers gather in groups, fill the balloons with air, and tie the Styrofoam containers filled with rice to the tails of the balloons. With a little push, the balloons soar up and over the border, carrying rice in the darkness of the night over to North Korea.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Katie's Lucky Birthday - Katie looks forward to celebrating her birthday at school, and then finds a way to make it even more special when her friend Pedro mentions that he has a summer birthday.

  2. Grandfather Gandhi - Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson tells the story of how his grandfather taught him to turn darkness into light in this uniquely personal and vibrantly illustrated tale that carries a message of peace. How could he—a Gandhi—be so easy to anger? One thick, hot day, Arun Gandhi travels with his family to Grandfather Gandhi’s village. Silence fills the air—but peace feels far away for young Arun. When an older boy pushes him on the soccer field, his anger fills him in a way that surely a true Gandhi could never imagine. Can Arun ever live up to the Mahatma? Will he ever make his grandfather proud? In this remarkable personal story, Arun Gandhi, with Bethany Hegedus, weaves a stunning portrait of the extraordinary man who taught him to live his life as light. Evan Turk brings the text to breathtaking life with his unique three-dimensional collage paintings.

  3. Farmer Falgu Goes to the Kumbh Mela - In this third book from the wildly popular series, Farmer Falgu heads to the Kumbh Mela festival in Allahabad. There are plenty of sights to see and events to experience, but his plans go awry when he stops to lend a helping hand to anyone who asks. This charming tale by Chitra Soundar is about being kind even when it’s not the easy choice. Kanika Nair’s striking illustrations capture the colorful chaos and celebration that the Kumbh Mela really is, and as always, the reader is rooting for the lovable farmer who always sees the glass half full.

Want to see books about kindness?

Books About Places And Regions and America

Take Me Out to the Yakyu
Written & illustrated by Aaron Meshon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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!”

The Stone Heart
Written & illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Kaidu and Rat have only just recovered from the assassination attempt on the General of All Blades when more chaos breaks loose in the Nameless City: deep conflicts within the Dao nation are making it impossible to find a political solution for the disputed territory of the City itself. To complicate things further, Kaidu is fairly certain he’s stumbled on a formula for the lost weapon of the mysterious founders of the City. . . . But sharing it with the Dao military would be a complete betrayal of his friendship with Rat. Can Kai find the right solution before the Dao find themselves at war?

Red, White, and Blue and Katie Woo!
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

As Katie, her parents, and friends celebrate Independence Day with a parade, games, a picnic, and fireworks, the few things that go wrong do not interfere with their fun.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Carlos Santana - Discover the childhood story of Carlos Santana in Gary Golio’s “”Sound of the Heart, Song of the World””, featuring illustrations by Rudy Gutierrez, the internationally celebrated artist who created the iconic Santana “”Shaman”” CD cover. Carlos Santana grew up surrounded by music. His father, a beloved mariachi performer, teaches his son how to play the violin when he is only six years old. But when Carlos discovers American blues, he is captivated by the raw honesty of the music. Unable to think of anything else, he loses all interest in the violin. When Carlos finally receives his first guitar, his whole life begins to change. From his early exposure to mariachi to his successful fusing of rock, blues, jazz, and Latin influences, here is the childhood story of a legendary musician.

  2. Dumpling Dreams - “The story of how Joyce Chen, a girl born in Communist China, immigrated to the United States and popularized Chinese cooking.”—

  3. A Life Made by Hand - Ruth Asawa (1926-2013) was an influential and award-winning sculptor, a beloved figure in the Bay Area art world, and a devoted activist who advocated tirelessly for arts education. This lushly illustrated book by collage artist Andrea D’Aquino brings Asawa’s creative journey to life, detailing the influence of her childhood in a farming family, and her education at Black Mountain College where she pursued an experimental course of education with leading avant-garde artists and thinkers such as Anni and Josef Albers, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, and Robert Rauschenberg. Delightful and substantial, this engaging title for young art lovers includes a page of teaching tools for parents and educators.

Books About Places And Regions and Family Life

Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth
Written by Debbi Michiko Florence & illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The second heartfelt story of friendship and sisterhood in this charming new chapter book series, starring a Japanese-American girl! It’s a big weekend for Jasmine Toguchi! She’s excited to celebrate Girl’s Day—a Japanese holiday honoring women and girls—with her sister, mother, and best friend, Linnie. On Friday after school, Linnie comes over to plan their outfits for the Girl’s Day celebrations. And Jasmine’s neighbor, Mrs. Reese, lets them search through her old clothes for the perfect accessories. But the clothes are in her dark garage, which is kind of scary. And Linnie decides to go home early, which is kind of weird. And Jasmine’s big sister, Sophie, doesn’t seem to want to join in the Girl’s Day fun this year, which is kind of confusing. WHAT is going on? As her big weekend plans start to unravel, Jasmine must use her sleuthing skills to spot the clues around her—and within herself. Then maybe, just maybe, she can put everything back in order before Girl’s Day is over!

Camp Tiger
Written by Susan Choi & illustrated by John Rocco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

A talking tiger approaches a family during their annual end-of-summer camping trip and is befriended by the youngest, a boy who does not feel ready for first grade.

Tiger Boy
Written & illustrated by Mitali Perkins
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

“One of the new tiger cubs has escaped from the reserve!”

When a tiger cub escapes from a nature reserve near Neel’s island village, the rangers and villagers hurry to find her before the cub’s anxious mother follows suit and endangers them all. Mr. Gupta, a rich newcomer to the island, is also searching—he wants to sell the cub’s body parts on the black market. Neel and his sister, Rupa, resolve to find the cub first and bring her back to the reserve where she belongs.

The hunt for the cub interrupts Neel’s preparations for an exam to win a prestigious scholarship at a boarding school far from home. Neel doesn’t mind—he dreads the exam and would rather stay on his beloved island in the Sunderbans of West Bengal with his family and friends.

But through his encounter with the cub, Neil learns that sometimes you have to take risks to preserve what you love. And sometimes you have to sacrifice the present for the chance to improve the future.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Mulan's Lunar New Year - It’s the Lunar New Year, and it happens to be Mulan’s favorite festival! There is a lot to do to prepare for this important celebration, and for the first time, Mulan is old enough to help out. But everything Mulan does seems to turn out wrong. . . . Follow along with Mulan in this special Lunar New Year story that captures the unique sense of magic, imagination, and possibility that surrounds the holiday!

  2. The Emperor's Riddle - During a family trip to China, eleven-year-old Mia Chen and her older brother Jake follow clues and solve riddles in hopes of finding their missing Aunt Lin and, perhaps, a legendary treasure.

Books About Places And Regions and Farms

La nina de los gorriones / The sparrow girl
Written by Sara Pennypacker & illustrated by Yoko Tanaka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

When the ruler of China declares a “Sparrow War” against the birds that are eating the farmers’ crops, little Ming-Li makes it her mission to save the unwanted birds from certain destruction.

Sparrow Girl
Written by Sara Pennypacker & illustrated by Yoko Tanaka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Ming-Li looked up and tried to imagine the sky silent, empty of birds. It was a terrible thought. Her country’s leader had called sparrows the enemy of the farmers—they were eating too much grain, he said. He announced a great “Sparrow War” to banish them from China, but Ming-Li did not want to chase the birds away.
As the people of her village gathered with firecrackers and gongs to scatter the sparrows, Ming-Li held her ears and watched in dismay. The birds were falling from the trees, frightened to death! Ming-Li knew she had to do something—even if she couldn’t stop the noise. Quietly, she vowed to save as many sparrows as she could, one by one…

Farmer Falgu Goes on a Trip
Written by Chitra Soundar & illustrated by Kanika Nair
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Farmer Falgu has had enough of his noisy farm! He goes out looking for silence, does he find it?!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Farmer Falgu Goes to the Market - When unexpected things happen to Farmer Falgu’s cargo for the market, he must come up with a plan to salvage what he can. The next of the successful Farmer Falgu series follows the hardworking farmer as he turns a succession of obstacles into an incredible opportunity. Chitra Soundar’s onomatopoeic text makes this read-aloud riot a delight for both the reader and the listener. Falgu’s relentless optimism, the enticing food and vividly described smells, and Kanika Nair’s evocative illustrations showcasing life in rural India make this an authentic and entertaining picture book about the power of hope.

  2. The Story of Kites - Ting, Pan, and Kùai are tired of working in the rice fields, protecting the harvest from the birds. They try everything — they bang pots, blow whistles, and wave their arms. If only they could fly, they’d drive those birds away forever! Then the boys get an idea: if they made wings, they could fly! Using paper, straw, and feathers, the boys try to launch themselves into the sky from the hilltop above the rice fields. Kersplash! What else can the Kang boys come up with to keep those naughty birds away from their rice? Enjoy the third adventure of the Kang brothers who discovered some of China’s most amazing inventions — now with a new bilingual Chinese translation!

Want to see books about farms?

Epilogue

32 books that are just too good to leave off of our places and regions list.
  1. Zoo Day - Beloved author Anne Rockwell celebrates animals of all kinds with a gorgeous new picture book about a child’s first visit to the zoo! A young boy and his family visit the zoo for the very first time. From gorillas to lions, polar bears to parrots, Anne Rockwell and her daughter, artist Lizzy Rockwell, celebrate a day he will never forget. With simple, lyrical text and bright illustrations that jump off the page, Zoo Day brings the joys of visiting the zoo vividly to life.

  2. If I Ran the Zoo - If Gerald McGrew ran the zoo, he’d let all the animals go and fill it with more unusual beasts—a ten-footed lion, an Elephant-Cat, a Mulligatawny, a Tufted Mazurka, and others.

  3. The Way to the Zoo - Discovering a magical door in her bedroom that leads her to the zoo, a little girl is tempted to bring just one little bear back to her room, and then a menagerie of smaller animals, and then an irresistible medley of big animals, until pandemonium ensues.

  4. The Egyptian Cinderella - 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.

  1. The Giggly Giraffe - Zoe loves living at her uncle’s rescue zoo because there’s always something exciting going on. And Zoe also has an amazing secret: she can talk to the animals. A giraffe has been born. Jamie baby giraffe’s wobbly walk on his long legs makes everyone laugh, and he just loves to play tricks! But his tricks can cause trouble, and with the Best Zoo Competition coming up, can Zoe help Jamie behave and have fun?

  2. Little Elliot, Big City - Mom of Boys - This book has beautiful illustrations. It is very fun as it is set in New York City. The story is darling about a little elephant that feels small until he finds someone even smaller than himself that he can help. It turns the story around to show how helping others and friendship can make our life meaningful.

  3. Jungle Animals - The Tiny Touch board books series teaches concepts to little ones in a stimulating and interactive manner! Little ones will love learning about jungle animals in this interactive board book! Embossed pages create a tactile experience for tiny hands.

  4. Blackout - When a busy family’s activities come to a halt because of a blackout, they find they enjoy spending time together and not being too busy for once.

  1. The Colors of Ancient Egypt - 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.

  2. Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile - Little William Everett Crocodile and his friend Pete take a class trip to a Cairo museum where they encounter a jewel thief.

  3. 1, 2 at the Zoo - Mom of Boys - This is a fun book. My boys really love reading it. It is so simple and repeats the counting of 1 to 2 as it shows different animals and things at the zoo.

  4. Color Zoo Board Book - Nine animals, nine shapes, and sixteen shades of color’everyone can have fun discovering them all by turning Color Zoo’s full-color pages and watching a lion turn into a goat, an ox into a monkey, a tiger into a mouse. . . . 1990 Caldecott Honor Book Notable Children’s Books of 1989 (ALA) 1990 Fanfare Honor List (H)

  1. My Little Cities: New York - In this delightful series written by BabyLit author Jennifer Adams and illustrated by kidlit darling Greg Pizzoli, each book showcases a different city with lighthearted baby-appropriate text and ridiculously charming illustrations. Take a whirlwind tour of the Big Apple: cheer with the roaring crowds at Yankee Stadium, chug along peacefully on the Staten Island Ferry, wonder at the bright lights of Times Square, and say good night to the famous New York City skyline.

  2. Al Capone Does My Shirts - A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards’ families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister Natalie. A Newbery Honor Book & ALA Notable Book. Reprint. Jr Lib Guild & Children’s BOMC.

  3. The One and Only Ivan - Soon to be a major motion picture! This Harper Classic edition of the Newbery Medal winner and #1 New York Times bestseller includes an author’s note, a letter from the real Ivan’s caretaker at Zoo Atlanta, Ivan’s “signature,” discussion questions, and more. This unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendship. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated book is told from the point of view of Ivan himself. Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes. In the tradition of timeless classics such as Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. Katherine Applegate’s novel blends humor and poignancy to create this incredible tale of friendship, art, and hope. The One and Only Ivan was named to multiple state lists, received three starred reviews, and was hailed as a best book of the year by Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Amazon. Plus don’t miss Katherine Applegate’s Endling series!

  4. Al Capone Throws Me a Curve - Moose has his hands full during the summer of 1936 watching his autistic sister, Natalie, and the warden’s daughter, Piper, and trying to get on a baseball team by proving he knows Al Capone.

  1. The Cricket in Times Square - Tucker is a streetwise city mouse. He thought he’d seen it all. But he’s never met a cricket before, which really isn’t surprising, because, along with his friend Harry Cat, Tucker lives in the very heart of New York City—the Times Square subway station. Chester Cricket never intended to leave his Connecticut meadow. He’d be there still if he hadn’t followed the entrancing aroma of liverwurst right into someone’s picnic basket. Now, like any tourist in the city, he wants to look around. And he could not have found two better guides—and friends—than Tucker and Harry. The trio have many adventures—from taking in the sights and sounds of Broadway to escaping a smoky fire. Chester makes a third friend, too. It is a boy, Mario, who rescues Chester from a dusty corner of the subway station and brings him to live in the safety of his parents’ newsstand. He hopes at first to keep Chester as a pet, but Mario soon understands that the cricket is more than that. Because Chester has a hidden talent and no one—not even Chester himself—realizes that the little country cricket may just be able to teach even the toughest New Yorkers a thing or two. The Cricket in Times Square is a 1961 Newbery Honor Book.

  2. A Thief at the National Zoo - KC and Marshall investigate the theft of a precious emerald, brought by representatives of the Chinese government to bring luck to two baby tigers born at the National Zoo.

  3. New York Baby - A fast-paced tour of the Big Apple from the viewpoint of local babies showcases where they live and play while introducing famed attractions and iconic landmarks. By the author of the Cool Counting Books series.

  4. 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”

  1. Freddie Ramos Rules New York - Freddie and his mom are visiting Uncle Jorge in New York City! Just before they leave, Mr. Vaslov gives Freddie a new pair of zapatos to replace the ones that were getting too small. But Freddie worries if his new zapatos will work as well as his old ones. Will Freddie be able to save the day when Uncle Jorge misplaces an engagement ring in the middle of a New York City traffic jam?

  2. 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.

  3. 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….

  4. Breakout! Escape from Alcatraz - An easy-to-read study of Alcatraz, “The Rock,” describes how America’s renowned prison housed some of the country’s most notorious criminals.

  1. 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.

  2. Of numbers and stars - 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.

  3. Put Me in the Zoo - Spot believes he deserves to be in the zoo with the other amazing animals. In this Beginner Book edited by Dr. Seuss, Spot shows two young friends all the exciting things he can do with his spots. From changing their color and juggling them to moving them onto everything around him, you won’t believe what Spot can do. Beginning readers will be delighted by Robert Lopshire’s lively tale that proves there is a special spot for everyone. Originally created by Dr. Seuss, Beginner Books encourage children to read all by themselves, with simple words and illustrations that give clues to their meaning.

  4. Al Capone Does My Shoes - What do you do when your neighbors are a bunch of hit men, con men, and mad dog murderers? Well, if you’re Moose Flanagan, you ask the most notorious convict of them all, Al Capone, for help. But when that convict comes through for you-and then asks you for a favor in return-suddenly it’s a whole different ball game. Picking up where the Newbery-Honor winning Al Capone Does My Shirts left off, this lively second romp featuring Moose, his friends, and some of Alcatraz’s “finest” is just as satisfying as the first.

  1. Animal Strike at the Zoo. It's True! - There’s an animal strike at the zoo! oh no, oh my! What’s a zookeeper to do when the lions and tigers and bears refuse to roar and prowl and growl? And when little Sue, who has been waiting all year for this trip to the zoo, enters the gate, will the animals decide to give their strike a break? Karma Wilson’s fun, playful text paired with Margaret Spengler’s bright and lively pastels create an unforgettable, irresistible zoo of chaos and fun!

  2. Who Was King Tut? - 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.

  3. The Secret Zoo - Something strange is happening at the Clarksville City Zoo. Late at night, monkeys are scaling the walls and searching the neighborhood— but what are they looking for? Noah, his sister Megan, and their best friends, Richie and Ella, live next door to the zoo. Megan is the first to notice the puzzling behavior of some of the animals. One day Megan disappears, and her brother and their friends realize it’s up to them to find her. Their only choice is to follow a series of clues and sneak into the zoo. But once inside, will they discover there’s much more to the Clarksville City Zoo than they could ever have guessed?

  4. The View At The Zoo - A new format for this humorous twist on a visit to the zoo, just who has the more interesting view? As morning dawns, the zookeeper makes his rounds, exhorting the animals to wake up, comb their hair, and stand up straight. Soon their human visitors arrive, and the observations begin to flow: My, what silly things they do, all these creatures at the zoo. Walking on all kinds of feet, dancing to an inner beat. Babies riding on their backs, on their bellies, snug in sacks. Hear the silly sounds they speak, as they howl and squawk and shriek! But just who is talking about whom? With a clever twist of text and bright and festive illustrations, this picture book will have children begging for a trip to the zoo. Ages 4-8.

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