Books for Children Ages 3-8

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Children's books

Global Babies, by Global Fund for Children (Ages 6 mo. to 4 yrs)

This board book for toddlers shows babies from around the world.  Older siblings (3-4) will also enjoy the pictures which are a wonderful springboard for discussion.

All the World, by Liz Garten (Ages 2-5)

“Charming illustrations and lyrical rhyming couplets speak volumes in celebration of the world and humankind, combining to create a lovely book that will be appreciated by a wide audience… Perfection.” — School Library Journal (STARRED)

Families of many ethnicities will see themselves and others respectfully reflected in this Caldecott Honor Award winner.

Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Pena (Ages 3-7)

In this Newberry Medal winner, we meet CJ and his grandmother waiting for a bus after going to church. He has many questions and she answers them with patience and wisdom. Through their conversation, it is clear that their family has little income but is rich in many other ways. We don’t know where they are going until the last stop on Market Street, where they get out of the bus to volunteer at a soup kitchen. The relationship between this African-American grandma and her grandson is a model for all of us who want to help raise the next generation of global citizens.

Gracie’s Night, A Hanukkah Story, By Lynn Taylor Gordon (Ages 3-8)

There’s lots of love in Gracie’s and Papa’s lives, but not much money. Gracie finds a resourceful way to buy Papa some well deserved Hanukkah gifts, but an encounter on a bitterly cold night opens her eyes and alters her plans.” (Publisher’s description) This book about generosity speaks to everyone.

The Lion and The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (Ages 3-7)

Through beautiful and meaningful illustrations, and using very few words, the author conveys Aesop’s fable of a lion who spares the life of a mouse and is later saved by him.   The result is a more subtle lesson in generosity than is typical of traditional versions.

Biblioburro, by Jeannette Winter Ages (4-8)

“One person can make a difference, and in this book Luis Soriano makes all the difference in the world…Winter has a gift for creating nonfiction that is accessible to and appeals to very young readers. The story is well told, and the colorful illustrations reflect the flora and fauna of Colombia…Winter ends the book by saying, “A small corner of the world is enriched.” What a terrific way to help children think about their role in doing the same.”–School Library Journal

Malala’s Magic Pencil, by MalalaYousafzai and Kerascoet Ages (4-8)

Malala tells the story of her own childhood to young children in a voice that is both engaging and appropriate to their age. She tells of wishing for a magic pencil that could help people, and coming to realize over time that she could work to help fix the problems she saw around her without a magic pencil. While there are many books about Malala, this one is special in that she is speaking directly to her young audience.

My Name is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream? by Jennifer Fosberry (Ages 4-8)

Isabella pretends to be the women she admires– among them Activist Rosa Parks, sharpshooter Annie Oakley, and her own mother.

“This story…speaks frankly about self-identity and self affirmation as Isabella decides at the end that she is actually herself…because she possesses the best parts of all of the women she looks up to.”
-ForeWord Magazine

What Does It Mean to Be Global, by Rana DiOrio (Ages 4-8)

“Join children from around the world as they play, sing, and travel, trying all types of food and experiencing other traditions. Living respectfully and peacefully with one another, they celebrate diversity, see how their actions affect another person’s experience, and come to understand that being global means being a citizen of the world.”
— Little Pickle Press

Mama Miti, by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Ages 4-9)

There are many biographies written for children about Wangari Maathai (Mama Miti), the Nobel Prize-winning founder of the Greenbelt Movement in Kenya. What makes this one special, in addition to the powerful story, are the beautiful illustrations by Kadir Nelson. Reading this book aloud is as much a treat for adults as for children.

Stone Soup, By Marcia Brown (Ages 5-8)

This Caldecott Medal winner, written in 1947, is a retelling of a traditional French story.  Three hungry soldiers appear in a town and trick the villagers into sharing their food by making stone soup and offering to share it.  Of course, the soup is improved by adding the ingredients that only the villagers have.  In the end, everyone enjoys the cooperatively made meal together.

book cover

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, By Miranda Paul (Ages 5-9) 

”The simple format of this picture book belies the strength of its content, a story lovingly supported by charming collage illustrations. As a girl, Ceesay realized that the goats on which her village relied were dying because they were eating plastic bags. She also saw that people were tossing the used bags on the ground just as they had always thrown away their baskets when no longer useful except the plastic bags, unlike the baskets, weren’t biodegradable. So Ceesay figured out how to use crochet, a skill with which the villagers were already familiar, to make purses out of the plastic bags. The simple but lyrical text conveys this beautiful, thought-provoking tale of ecological awareness and recycling.” (–starred, School Library Journal)

Nelson Mandela, by Kadir Nelson (Ages 5-9)

The strength and of Kadir Nelson’s emotionally packed illustrations perfectly match the importance of Nelson Mandela’s as a change-maker. Told in a simple and truthful voice that is accessible to children as young as age 5.

Zak the Yak with Books on His Back, by John Wood (Ages 6-9)

Up in the mountains of Nepal, the headmaster of a poor school sends his two children with Zak the Yak to find book donations. After much difficulty, Zak and the children are given more than 5000 books and all rejoice when they return to the village.  This charming book is a fundraiser for Room to Read, one of Global Grandmothers’ recommended charities, and it is the fictionalized version of John Wood’s own history.

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote; a Migrant’s Tale, by Duncan Tonatiuh (Ages 6-9) 

When Pancho Rabbit’s father, who has been picking carrots and lettuce in the North to support his family, fails to come home when expected, Poncho sets out to find him. He meets a Coyote—literally and figuratively—who helps him but at too great a price. Luckily, Poncho Rabbit’s father finds him just in time.  This award-winning picture book rings true, and the animal characters make it less scary than human characters would. Duncan Tonatiuh is the author of many excellent books that focus on Latino families.