Media Reviews: Recommended Children’s Books Highlighting Travel and Other Cultures

Inspire kids to explore the world with these suggested reads from Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Kiley Orchard
Everything Sad is Untrue (A True Story)

Delicious!: Poems Celebrating Street Food Around the World by Julie Larios, illustrated by Julie Paschkis

Sample street food from around the world! Fourteen vibrantly illustrated poems introduce young readers to tasty treats from across the globe. The book includes a “menu” at the back with bite-sized information to satisfy curious minds. FOR AGES 4-8

My Day With the Panye by Tami Charles, Illustrated by Sara Palacios

In Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fallon wants nothing more than to carry the panye, or basket, on her head just like Manman. But is she ready? Charles’ lyrical language takes you right into the sights, smells and sounds of this capital city, and Palacios’ illustrations burst with color and life. This picture book is a perfect summer storytime read. FOR AGES 5-9

My Day With the Panye

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids, edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith

This short story collection stars numerous Native and First Nations children traveling to the intertribal Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While each story stands alone, discerning readers will enjoy spotting the stories’ recurring characters (including a very clever dog) and other commonalities. Who knows? You might find yourself inspired to drive a few hours north to see this annual powwow for yourself! FOR AGES 8-12

A Wish in the Dark

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat

In Chattana, light is magic, created and controlled by the Governor. The wealthy have lots of it. The poor have almost none. And Pong wants to change that. Set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world, this twist on Les Misérables will keep kids turning the page to find out if Pong and his friends have what it takes to literally light up the dark. Can’t get enough of Thailand? Pair this title with Soontornvat’s award-winning nonfiction book “All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team.” FOR AGES 8-12

Everything Sad is Untrue (A True Story) by Daniel Nayeri

Winner of the 2021 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, this is the true story of Nayeri’s life and family history (as best as he knows it). The book is woven together over time and place (Nayeri describes it as “a patchwork text”), combining Persian history and myth with personal anecdotes both hilarious and heart-wrenching. Whether reading about the saffron fields in Iran, soccer in a refugee camp in Italy or Nayeri’s first sleepover in Oklahoma, you’ll see why this book is being heralded as a modern-day classic. FOR TEENS

Try This Database


CultureGrams is one of Columbus Metropolitan Library’s premier databases, accessible at home with your library card number. It provides reports, videos, recipes, photos and more for over 200 countries around the world. There is a special Kids Edition and one for the U.S. states. Be sure to explore one of CultureGrams’ hidden gems: interviews with children and adults across the globe explaining what their daily life is like. Though CultureGrams is great for homework, it’s great for fun, too!

Kiley Orchard is a youth services librarian at the Northside branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.