Six Beautiful World Geography Picture Books

Read Alouds that Create Global Citizens Through Amazing Illustrations

When I look for good picture books, the illustrations are just as important as the prose. Over the years, I have come across a handful of truly beautiful geography books that have also kept the attention of my littles by exuding the fun and diversity of our great big world. These powerfully illustrated books will surely spark the curiosity of your children as well.

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People by Peter Spier – This is a colorful celebration of the world’s diverse people, costume, and customs. Spier is an amazing illustrator and my little artists like to try to duplicate this book’s many illustrations. Note, there is a page about world religions.

Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World by Selby Beeler – This is a charming book. One day after my son lost his tooth, I was explaining the tooth fairy concept to my Cameroonian neighbor. She told us that children in Cameroon throw their teeth on the roof. Before this conversation I had never considered “tooth traditions”. Later, I found this book at a used book store and couldn’t pass it up. As a bonus, it has simple, child-like drawings with watercolor and other mediums that can only be described as “happy”.

Around the World in a Bathtub: Bathing All Over the Globe by Wade Bradford – I came across this book at the library and fell in love with its bold illustrations and light-hearted story telling. Not only does it creatively describe all the ways children take baths, but it unites the world’s children through their love of bath time and a mother’s challenge getting them into the bath and then, back out again. Note, since this is a book about bath time, some illustrations depict half-naked children, which may impact its suitability in certain situations.

If You Lived Here: Houses of the World by Giles Laroche – This is a beautiful book. It outlines houses in different parts of the world and in different eras. The atypical illustrations are made from cut-paper collages and they are gorgeous…but maybe I already said that. But they are! Each page has a brief description plus geographical and architectural details that could be incorporated into a geography study for an older child.

This Is the Way We Go to School: A Book About Children Around the World by Edith Baer – This book has sweet, quiet, watercolor-style illustrations and very simple prose. It is best for younger children and offers opportunities to talk about how different people live. The story line focuses not on school houses, but on a child’s walk to school and how that looks different around the world.

The Barefoot Book of Children by Strickland, DePalma, and Dean – One day, I purchased this book as an impulse buy. Its illustrations are loud, exciting, and bold. Half of this book is describing how children around the world are similar, and the other half is their differences. The book’s value is its section called “A Closer Look at the Illustrations”. Here, the author breaks down each picture, the country depicted plus relevant information. As a result, this book could be an outline for a complete geography study in itself.

If you have a world geography picture book that should be on this list, leave a comment below.

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