Around the World in 40 Books Cristina neeley

Moses Crosses the Red Sea by: Mary Manz Simon Traditional Literature: Religious Tale

Located between Africa and Asia in the Red Sea

I love this book because it was read to me a lot as a child. I would recommend this for any home or classroom. It is a religious tale but the theme and moral of the story are a very real concept. The book has lively illustrations and I believe that it is a great way to teach students about faith and courage.

The Story of Jonah by: Alice Joyce Davidson Traditional Literature : A book from my childhood

Nineveh, Present Day Mosul, Iraq

This book holds a special place in my heart. It was read to me a thousand times as a child. However, I do not think it would be the smartest decision in your classroom, because it is a biblical tale and this can cause controversy in your classroom. The books illustrations add to the setting of the culture of this time.

Sleeping Beauty Retold by: Mahlon F. Craft Traditional Literature: Fairy Tale

A land far, far away...

The illustrations of this book were so elaborate and detailed that I felt as though I was watching a movie. The language used in the text is relative to the setting of the tale and the culture of the tale. I enjoyed this read because this is my favorite fairy tale movie to watch as a child and I had never read the story behind it.

Rapunzel by: Paul O. Zelinsky Traditional Literature: A book turned into a movie

Tuscan Italy

The illustrations in this book are so detailed and allow children to enter the world Rapunzel and her prince live in. With each turning page, colors pour out and display this beautiful tale. The language of this book is relative to the setting of the tale as well. There is an author’s note at the end of this story explaining the origins of the tale and history of the tale and explains Zelinksy’s retelling. I enjoyed this book because of its in-depth background and the language used in the book.

The Master Cat, or Puss in Boots Traditional Literature: A Beast Tale

London, England

This book has language that supports the time period of the story. The main character, the Master Cat, is obviously an animal. The illustrations do not add too much to the story in this version. I like the book, but it does not have a lesson to be learned, therefore I will not use it in my classroom.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by: Judi Barrett Modern Fantasy: Unusual Circumstances

Town of Chewandswallow

I love this book and the world it creates. The setting is described in great detail and this provides a very vivid scene for readers. I think it is beneficial in a classroom because it teaches students to use their imagination.

Just In Case You Ever Wonder by: Max Lucado Contemporary Fiction: A Book I Remember From My Childhood

Dallas, Texas

I love this book and it holds a special place in my heart because my mom used to read it to me all the time. The theme is worth imparting on students; every student is special and has a purpose whether that is religious or not.

Our Puppies Are Growing by: Carolyn Otto Nonfiction: An Animal Book


The author includes a note at the end of the book to give more information of puppies. I think this would be a very useful book to cover information regarding puppies and the gestational period of dogs. I love this book because I enjoy dogs and I read this book as a child when we got dogs.

Paul Bunyan retold by: Steven Kellogg Traditional Literature: Tall Tale

Bangor, Maine

The vibrant illustrations of this book add an element to the story that keeps you engaged. The illustrations make you feel like you are following right behind Paul Bunyan on his journey. Each page is covered in details. I love this book and I remember reading it when I was in elementary school and it has remained as my favorite tall tale.

The Egyptian Cinderella by: Shirley Climo Traditional Literature: Cinderella Variant


This book had an author’s note present in the back that explained the background of the tale and history of the story. The illustrations present cultural details accurately and this adds to the reader’s enjoyment. I really enjoyed this twist on the classic, Cinderella, and I chose the Egyptian version because of the illustrations displayed on the cover.

The Legend of the Poinsettia Retold by: Tomie dePaola Traditional Literature: A Pourquoi Tale


I absolutely loved this book because Christmas is my favorite holiday and buying poinsettias with my mom is one of my favorite memories. The language of this tale is indicative of the cultural setting of the story. There is also an author’s note present at the end that gives a backstory to the poinsettia and how it arrived in the United States and developed into the symbol that it is.

The Cajun Cornbread Boy by: Dianne de Las Casas Traditional Literature: Fairy Tale

Bayous of Louisiana 

I think this book is so cute and I want this, as well as other fairy tale variants, present in my classroom. The language coincides with the Cajun culture and has an author’s note and glossary at the end of the book. This helps students comprehend all elements of the story. I loved the book and I wish to use it to introduce other culture’s fairy tales.

Bravo, Amelia Bedelia! By: Peggy Parish Contemporary Fiction: A Humorous Story

Stephenville, Texas

This book tells a story that children will enjoy and laugh at. Amelia Bedelia is a funny, lovable individual that everyone can relate to. I loved this book because it was an Amelia Bedelia book that I was not familiar with. When I read it to my book buddy, she said she loved that book and asked if we could read more Amelia Bedelia books.

Amelia Bedelia by: Peggy Parish Contemporary Fiction: A book I remember from my childhood

Rockwall, Texas

The crazy antics of Amelia Bedelia are first introduced in this book. I learned to read using Amelia Bedelia books as a child with my mother. The characters are believable and individuals we see every day. The theme of the story is not directly stated, but rather implied. I enjoyed this story as a child and know that the adventures Amelia Bedelia embarks on are some of my favorites. Children will enjoy these stories and encourage their love for reading.

Ben, King of the River by: David Gifaldi Contemporary Fiction: An Adventure

Your favorite camping spot

I absolutely loved this book, because it addresses the situation of having a disabled sibling. This theme is very relative in children’s lives and can be use even if you do not have a disabled sibling. The characters are very real, the story was enjoyable and I loved the theme it is worth providing it to children. I want to use this book in my classroom in the future, because I think it does a phenomenal job of addressing this topic in an age-appropriate manner.

The Gift of the Magi Adapted by: O’ Henry Contemporary Fiction :A book made into a movie

New York City, New York

This is one of my favorite stories and I liked this retold version of it. The characters are believable and not stereotypical. The theme emerges from the story and is one worth learning. The book is age appropriate for all ages and it can help students in their own relationships.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by: Shel Silverstein Poetry/ Others : A collection of poems

Your favorite spot to read

These poems are very reflective of a child’s thinking and perspective. The poems are original, unique and imaginative. The poems are presented in a fun way with illustrations that are relative to the themes or subjects of the poems. This book is a very stimulating collection of poems that can help students think creatively and uniquely.

Texas Night Before Christmas by: James Rice Poetry/ Others :A book I remember from my childhood

Rockwall, Texas

This book displays the culture of Texas in a spin off The Night Before Christmas. The book is unique and expresses “isms” of Texas. The pictures add to the literary experience. The language is easy and has a southern drawl. The book portrays Texas and Christmas in a very southern manner. My dad read this to me and my brothers as a child every Christmas Eve and I hold it very near and dear to my heart.

Benjamin Banneker by: Isabel Martin Biography:A book about someone I have never heard off

Baltimore County, Maryland 

This book is a great biography for younger children transitioning into independent research to use. There are additional research websites in the back as well as a glossary. This book is included in a series titled Great African Americans. This book should be used as an introductory independent research book. The facts surrounding Benjamin Banneker are clearly displayed.

Stargazer’s Alphabet Night-Sky Wonders from A to Z by: John Farrell Nonfiction: A science book

The Night Sky

This book displays information in a very clear, organized manner that makes attaining information very easy. The author provides an acknowledgement at the beginning of the book that thanks an astronomy and physics professor at Saint Mary’s University for his assistance in making the book. The illustrations of the book assist in students’ understanding of the concepts.

Polar Bear Math by: Ann Whitehead Nagda and Cindy Bickel Nonfiction: A math book

The Denver Zoo

This book does not show any signs of solid credibility. There is not a reference list or list of other useful cites. There is not an author’s note or any information that outlines the authors’ credibility concerning mathematics. The information is broken into mathematics on one page and biology on alternating pages. I would have to check the credibility of this book in more depth before I made the decision of using it in my classroom. However, I like that this book incorporates math and biology and children could make connections concerning these topics.

Big Red Lollipop by: Rukhsana Khan Contemporary Fiction: A book about family

Your Home

The characters of this story are believable and relatable. The lesson of including and loving younger siblings is something many children can take away from. I thought the story was sweet and I liked that it was not an everyday story.

Little Red Writing by: Joan Holub Modern Fantasy: Fractured Fairy Tale

A Deep Dark Forrest 

The setting and characters of this tory are a very unique twist on little red riding hood. This story personifies pencils and other inanimate objects. The illustrations of the story are vibrant and were one of my favorite parts. I loved this fractured fairy tale.

Desmond and the Very Mean World by: Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams: 20th Century Historical Fiction

South Africa

The story is a very relatable, tender story focused on teaching forgiveness. I loved the book and would use it in my classroom in the instance of bullying or prevention of bullying. The book contains an author’s note at the back that describes who the book is based on and the instance that inspired the book. The book deals with issues concerning race around this time period in South Africa, but this book may be applied to issues now and in any country.

Mudball by: Matt Tavares Historical Fiction: 20th Century

Minneapolis, Minnesota

This tells a valuable tale of not letting physical characteristics define you. I loved this cute story and there is an author’s note and bibliography present in the back of the book. They explain who Andy Oyler was and some history of baseball myths.

Molly Bannaky by: Alice McGill Historical Fiction: 17th Century


This book has a historical note present in the back that explain the truth around the story and the characters. The pictures are historically accurate and make you feel as though you have traveled back in time. I really enjoyed this book and its connection with my biography over Benjamin Banneker. The book was engaging and the theme of the story is timely and still relevant.

Testing the Ice by: Sharon Robinson Memoir: About A Sports Figure


The plot of this story helps people understand the risks Jackie Robinson took by breaking the color barrier in major league baseball and ultimately society. The author is Robinson’s daughter and therefore an expert on the subject. The story contains facts and accurately portrays Jackie Robinson’s home and life.

Fog by: Carl Sandburg Poetry: A Poem I Want To Share

Stephenville, Texas

This poem is unique and does not rhyme. It uses natural language that can be construed any way. The poem does not preach at the students and allows them to think freely. I did not like this poem at first, but the more I have read it, the more I like it. I like being able to pull from it whatever I want.

Madeline by: Ludwig Bemelmans Contemporary Fiction: A Book I Remember From My Childhood

Paris, France

Madeline's plot is age appropriate and tells a story students will enjoy. The charcaters are convincing, and the rhyme of the book gives it an easy, fun tone. I enjoyed this book as a child and I still enjoy it now.

Calico Dorsey Mail Dog of the Mining Camps Historical Fiction: 19th Century

Calico, California 

There is an author's note and bibliogrpahy present in the back of the book that dives into the history of Calico Dorsey and the mining camps. I loved the book and thought it was a great way to introduce the topic of mining and mining camps in a fun, cute way.

The Book Itch by: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson Historical Fiction: 20th Century

Harlem, New York

The characters of this book are believable and well-rounded. the style the book is written in is veryengaging and unique. I really liked this book and the fact that it addressed a topic that I have never heard of. I love learning about the history of Harlem and its rich culture, so I really enjoyed this book.

One Smile by: Cindy McKinley Contemporary Fiction

Your Bad Day 

I actually read this book when I was very stressed out and trying to just go through my checklist of things to do. I loved the message of a simple smiling making someone else's day better. The charcters were real and natural. The theme is a little directly stated, but I still think it would be a great book for a classroom.

Pinkerton, Behave! by: Steven Kellogg Contemporary Fiction

Garland, Texas

The charcters are believable and relatable in this cute tale of a family and their dog. The content is age appropriate and would be a fun read for someone learning to train their dog.

Anansi and the Magic Stick by: Eric A Kimmel Traditional Literature: A Fairy Tale


In this book, the names of the animals are all African. The theme of the story is easily grasped and emerges from the story. I kept thinking of the opening scene of Fantasia when I read this book, it sounded like a familair story. I loved the bright illustrations of the story as well.

Volcano by: Patricia Lauber Nonfiction: Geography Book 

Mount St. Helen, Washington 

This book is very factual and provides citations for even the illustrations. There is an index present at the back of teh book as well to direct students through the eruption of Mount St. Helen. I think the book is useful, and I enjoyed getting to learn about Mount St. Helen.

A Christmas Like Helen's by: Natalie Kinsey-Warnock Biography


This book was written by Helen's granddaughter and has a note in the back of the book that gives a little more background on Helen. The book discusses where Helen lived, worked, and played. I enjoyed the story and its storyline. I thought this book was a sweet tribute to Natalie's grandmother.

Landed by: Milly Lee Historical Fiction: 20th Century

San Francisco, California

I liked this book and the fact that it addressed a topic I did not really receive instruction on in school. The dialogue is natural, the characters are believable. There is also an author's note present in the back of the book that describes the treatment of Chinese immigrants in America in the early 20th century.

Armadillo Tattletale by: Helen Ketteman Fantasy: Animal Fantasy

Chihuahuan Desert

The animals in this book possess human qualities and abilities. I thought this book was very cute and conveyed a lesson about eavesdropping in a very real life situation using fun characters. The theme is meaningful and has a place in the classroom. I enjoyed the book and its western desert theme.

Mutt Dog by: Stephen Michael King Fantasy: Animal Fantasy

The homeless shelter in the inner city

The dog is slightly personified in this story. The plot unfolds in a logical manner and the setting is believable. I liked the book, because I love dogs. However, the book is not very original and there is not a clear theme or lesson.

You're All My Favorites by: Sam McBratney Fantasy: Animal Fantasy

Your House

This book was one of my mother’s favorites to read to my brothers and me. The family of bears display human qualities and the theme of the story is meaningful, especially in family with multiple children. The characters and their ideas did develop over the course of the story. I encourage this book because it is a sweet way to learn there’s plenty of love to give to everyone.

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