Books for Children Ages 8-12

Books are arranged by age appropriateness. To see more children’s book recommendations Click here >

Books for children

Children Just Like Me by UNICEF

“The authors spent two years meeting and photographing youngsters from every continent and more than 140 countries…. This book is factual, respectful, and insightful. It provides just the right balance of information and visual interest for the intended audience.” From a review by Joan Soulliere, Wenham Public Library, MA in School Library Journal.

The Great Global Puzzle Challenge with Google Earth by Clive Gifford

This book is actually a tutorial in using Google Earth and the “challenges” provide practice that takes the learner on a worldwide adventure. While the book does not relate strongly to our criteria for inclusion, the potential for young people to use Google Earth as a tool for becoming global citizens makes it an excellent choice.

Children's books

If The World Were A Village by David Smith

This fascinating book is packed with worldwide data about how people live, their religions, ages, what they eat, and just about everything else a child might want to know.  By comparing  the world to a village of 100 people, the data are easily accessible to children, and the acrylic paintings which form the background to the data draw in readers of all ages. (Most recent edition, 2011)

Kids Make it Better by Suzy Becker

This write-in activity book is brilliant in content and format– read about a problem, read one or two solutions proposed other children, and write your own solution. The problems described are real, from personal problems like nail-biting to global problems like pollution.

From the back cover:  What can we do to clean up our air? Johanna, age 8, has a terrific solution: “Have all the people get a hose and wash the pollution away. It might make a rainbow.” What’s your terrific solution?

Children's books

A Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World by UNICEF

“…A Life Like Mine… profiles 18 children and explores what life is like for them and other young people, spanning 180 countries. Organized into four sections-Survival, Development, Protection and Participation-the handsomely designed volume, with a bounty of photographs that transport readers to exotic lands, stems from the mission set forth by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.”  Publisher’s Weekly

Children's books

One Hen by Katie Smith Milway

A poor Ghanaian community pools its meager savings to give each family in turn a small business loan. When it is   Kojo’s mother’s turn, she gives her son a few coins to buy a hen, from which he gradually builds a successful chicken farming business. The income allows him to go to school, then college, and to ultimately build the largest poultry farm in West Africa. Jobs on his farm provide income to other families who can now afford to buy their own livestock.  The story is based on the life of Kwabena Darko, who used part of his earnings to provide micro-loans to more than 100,000 other Ghanaians.  The story is inspiring and educational; the guidance of a thoughtful adult helps children understand this story in the context of extreme poverty.

Children's books

One Well by Rochelle Strauss

Looking at all the water on Earth—in the atmosphere, the oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, and rain as “One Well” into which all life dips to survive—Strauss presents a timely discussion of the use and abuse of a not-so-limitless resource. Liberally sprinkled with interesting facts…. the readable text informs children of growing demands on a finite supply; increasing pollution; and the intensifying urgency for the conservation, preservation, and protection…. Woods’s delicate paintings keep perfect step and provide a gentle framework for the plentiful statistical snippets. Included is a section for children on “Becoming Well Aware,” and notes for adults about helping youngsters (and themselves) to consider the quality and quantity of the water passing through their lives.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY in School Library Journal.

Additionally, the book speaks to access to water as an equity issue especially in poor countries, making it a good fit to the Global Grandmothers criteria for recommendations.

Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz

This is a wonderful collection of biographies of 25 American women who have made a difference in the lives of all American girls and women (and boys and men!).   These women come from different races, different parts of the country, and different walks of life.  They are or have been leaders and role models for empowering political activists, sports enthusiasts, social justice advocates, entertainers, and world leaders.  A must have reference book for schools and homes, this critically acclaimed collection includes the letter X, for the anonomous women who have changed lives in the past as well as for for those to come who will be inspired and empowered by these stories to be themselves, to stand up for justice, to stand against bullies.

children's books

Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz

Kate Schatz’s recent book, published in 2016, follows the format of Rad American Women A-Z, but with forty biographical sketches of women from every continent and era.  Women from developing countries are well represented here. Those of us who learned world history in a time when male Europeans and royal families dominated the history books, have as much to learn from Rad Women Worldwide as do the children in our lives.

Wonder, By R.J. Palacio (Ages 8 and up) 

In addition to making numerous best book lists, this book about a child born with a facial deformity and the response of others to him, is the #4 bestselling children’s book on Amazon, with over 11,000 reviews averaging 5 stars! (It has also been made into a movie). The potential for discussion at any age from about 8 up is so powerful that it is hard to assign an age range. “Wonder is essentially … a wonder. It’s well-written, engaging, and so much fun to read that the pages almost turn themselves. More than that, Wonder touches the heart in the most life-affirming, unexpected ways… Do yourself a favor and read this book – your life will be better for it.” – Nicholas Sparks

Wonder Girls: Changing our World, Paola Gianturco and Alex Sangster, (Ages 8- adults)

This amazing book, written collaboratively by photojournalist Paola Gianturco and her 11-year-old granddaughter, documents the work of fifteen activist groups worldwide lead by girls under the age of 18. These girls are working on equal rights, education, ending child marriage, domestic violence, and other urgent issues in their communities. The work of these young activists is inspiring, as is the quality of the photographs and the writing. All royalties from the book go to The Global Fund for Women which in turn makes grants to activist women and girls in 177 countries.