Picture Books about Camping

31 Jul

Picture Books Featuring CampingThere’s plenty of summer left, and many families are making the most of it by heading for the great outdoors! Whether you’re camping in the wilderness or in your own backyard – or even your living room! – these camping-themed picture books are sure to be a hit! Don’t forget the s’mores!

Bailey Goes CampingBailey Goes Camping by Kevin Henkes

Bailey’s brother and sister are going on a camping trip, but Bailey is too young to go with them. To cheer him up Bailey’s parents let him go camping indoors, complete with a tent, bathtub fishing, and roasting marshmallows on the stove. The emotions in this book will resonate with kids, and the illustrations are absolutely charming. This is a sweet story that will inspire toddlers and preschoolers to have their own indoor camping adventures. Don’t forget the marshmallows!

Just Me and My DadJust Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer

Little Critter and his dad take a camping trip – just the two of them. They have a few mishaps along the way, but Dad is always there to smooth things out. This endearing tale of a father-son camping trip is packed with humor and heart.

Toasting MarshmallowsToasting Marshmallows by Kristine O’Connell George and Kate Kiesler

This beautiful collection of poems – 30 in all – bring to life all the wondrous aspects of camping in the great outdoors. The poems – sometimes humorous, often heartfelt, and always magical – are accompanied by gorgeous painted illustrations. This book will call forth memories of camping trips past, or inspire you to create new ones.

Curious George Goes CampingCurious George Goes Camping by Margret Rey and H.A. Rey

In this entertaining installment in the Curious George series, George and the man with the yellow hat go on a camping trip. On his way to fetch a bucket of water for their campsite, George wanders off and gets himself into a whole heap of mischief. But when George spots a small forest fire, he acts quickly and ends up saving the day!

Camping Spree with Mr. MageeA Camping Spree With Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen

Early one morning, Mr. Magee and his dog Dee hitch up the trailer and head for the great outdoors. But they get more than they bargained for when a curious bear finds their campsite! I’m a huge Chris Van Dusen fan and this book does not disappoint. The rhymes are energetic and the hand-painted illustrations are vivid and detailed.

Picture Books Around the World: Mexico

17 Sep

The eighth and final installment in the Picture Books Around the World series is our first stop in North America… we’re heading to Mexico!

Picture Books about Mexico

What was your favorite stop on the picture book world tour? Was there a country you wish had been included? Let me know in the comments!

Tortilla FactoryThe Tortilla Factory

This is the story of the people who make tortillas; from the farmers who work the soil and plant the corn, to the factory workers who operate the machinery. Featuring rich oil paintings, this book is not only a lovely portrait of Mexico, but a delightful lesson on where food comes from.

Saturday MarketSaturday Market

This book tells the story of a Mexican Saturday market, with each page introducing a new vendor and what they are selling. Throughout the story, readers are introduced to many Spanish words. The illustrations, full-page acrylic paintings, capture the rich culture of the people and the energetic atmosphere of this weekly event.


This sparsely-worded, bilingual story shows of group of children preparing for a birthday party. This book is perfect for very young readers.

Cinco de MayoCinco de Mayo

With cartoony, kid-friendly illustrations, this book is a wonderful first look at the history of the Mexican Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo. The book also has lots of great information about the food, music, clothing, and customs of Mexico.

Off We Go To MexicoOff We Go to Mexico

Vibrantly illustrated and featuring entertaining rhyming text, this book is an excellent introduction to Mexico. It includes a map, a fact sheet, and plenty of Spanish vocabulary.

Book FiestaBook Fiesta!

This energetic book introduces readers to two Mexican holiday (both celebrated on April 30) Children’s Day and Book Day. The colorful painted illustrations are absolutely stunning and make this book a must-read!

Excerpt from "Book Fiesta!"

Excerpt from “Book Fiesta!”

I hope you enjoyed our trip around the world!

Picture Books Around the World: Africa

15 Sep

Today we are paying a visit to the diverse continent of Africa!

Picture Books about Africa

Africa is the world’s second-largest continent, and it is made up of 53 different countries. The books on this list highlight seven African countries: Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, and Uganda.

One HenOne Hen

[Ghana] When Kojo’s father dies, he must leave school to help earn money for his family. One day Kojo receives a small loan, which he uses to buy a hen. He uses the money he earns from selling the eggs to buy more hens, and eventually earns enough money to return to school. This inspiring, beautifully-illustrated book shows how one small bit of aid – when put to good use – can make a huge impact.

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti PlainBringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain

[Kenya] This book is a retelling of a traditional Nandi folktale. The enchanting story and rhythmic text make this an excellent read-aloud. Painterly illustrations depict the picturesque landscapes of Africa’s Kapiti Plain.

Mama Panya's PancakesMama Panya’s Pancakes

[Kenya] Mama Panya is planning a pancake dinner for her and her son, Adika, but when Adika invites all of their friends in the village, Mama worries that she won’t have enough to go around. Kids and adults will enjoy the universal message about the rewards of generosity.

For You are a Kenyan ChildFor You Are a Kenyan Child

[Kenya] This lively and vividly illustrated book follows a day in the life of a Kenyan boy. While the book deftly demonstrates Kenyan culture (and even includes some Swahili words) it also illuminates the similarities between Kenyan children and children all over the world.

I Lost My Tooth in AfricaI Lost My Tooth In Africa

[Mali] A young girl who is visiting relatives in Africa hopes that her loose tooth will fall out so she can leave it for the African tooth fairy. The book’s vibrant illustrations are the work of the author’s father, a Mali native.

Beatrice's GoatBeatrice’s Goat

[Uganda] In this uplifting book, a girl and her family receive a goat which they use to dramatically change their lives for the better. This story is based on the real-life organization Heifer International, through which families in developing countries receive donations of livestock that can help them lift themselves out of poverty.

The Boy Who Harnessed the WindThe Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

[Malawi] When his village is nearly destroyed by drought, a teenager builds a windmill to produce electricity and pump water. This book is gorgeously illustrated using a stunning combination of oil paint and cut paper.

At the CrossroadsAt the Crossroads

[South Africa] In a small town in South Africa, children gather in anticipation of the return of their fathers, who have been away for months working in the mines. The love that these children have for their fathers is universally recognizable, allowing children from any part of the world to relate to this story.

The Butter ManThe Butter Man

[Morocco] While a young girl waits eagerly for dinner, her father passes the time by sharing a story of his childhood in Morocco, and the time he spent waiting for his father to return home with food during a famine. The story is based on the personal experience of one of the authors.

Picture Books Around the World: South America

10 Sep

Today’s “Picture Books Around the World” installment takes us to the diverse continent of South America!

Picture Books about South America

This continent is made up of 12 independent countries and three territories. The books in this list feature four South American countries: Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, and Peru.

BiblioburroBiblioburro: A True Story from Colombia

This is the true story of a Colombian man named Luis, who loved books so much that his book collection began taking up his entire house. So Luis decided that he would use two burros to travel into the faraway hills and bring his books to people who had none. He calls his endeavor Biblioburro – “The Burro Library.” This inspiring tale is illustrated with vibrant acrylic paintings and makes an excellent read-aloud.

Up and Down the AndesUp and Down the Andes: A Peruvian Festival Tale

In this inviting book, people travel from every corner of Peru to the city of Cusco, to attend Inti Raymi – the festival of the sun. Part of what makes this book so distinctive is the impressive artwork. The bold, colorful paintings evoke a post-impressionist feel. Eight pages of endnotes includes facts about the history and culture of Peru.

The Magic Bean TreeThe Magic Bean Tree: A Legend from Argentina

In the midst of a massive drought, a young boy goes on a quest to find rain and save his village. In this charming retelling of a traditional folk tale, soft, beautiful, full-page paintings depict the rich landscapes of Argentina.

The Rainforest Grew All AroundThe Rainforest Grew All Around

This singsong, rhyming poem, cunningly adapted from the song The Green Grass Grew All Around, teaches children about some of the unique wildlife and vegetation of the rainforest. Fact-filled sidebars provide deeper learning for older readers as well.

Carolina's GiftCarolina’s Gift: A Story of Peru

A young girl living in a village in Peru visits the Sunday market in search of a birthday gift for her grandmother. Richly detailed illustrations artfully depict not only the bustle of the market, but also the vibrant culture of the people.

Soccer StarSoccer Star

In this uplifting and beautifully illustrated story, a young Brazilian boy dreams of one day becoming a famous soccer player and lifting his family out of poverty.

Picture Books Around the World: India

8 Sep

It’s week three in the “Picture Books Around the World” series, and we’ve already visited Australia, Japan, Italy, and France! Today’s stop on the picture book world tour is India.

Picture Books about India

India is one of the largest countries in the world, ranking 7th in land area and 2nd in population. Here are my favorite picture books set in India.


With great anticipation, a young girl describes the days leading up to the arrival of the monsoon rains. This charming story is accompanied by gorgeous painted illustrations that depict day-to-day life in India.

Elephant DanceElephant Dance: Memories of India

In this colorfully illustrated book, a grandfather shares tales of his life in India with his grandchildren. Full of information on India’s geography, culture, foods, and animals, this book is a delightful introduction to the country.

The Road to MumbaiThe Road to Mumbai

In this fantastical adventure, a girl and her pet monkey travel across India on a flying bed to attend a monkey wedding in Mumbai. Along the way, they encounter many of the people and animals native to this beautiful country. Complete with superb full-page paintings, this book is a must-read!

The Story of Little BabajiThe Story of Little Babaji

This updated version of The Story of Little Black Sambo (1899) has been given new illustrations to accurately depict the Indian setting. The book tells a humorous and magical tale of a boy who has a strange encounter with a group of tigers.

Mama's SarisMama’s Saris

A little girl is fascinated by her mother’s collection of beautiful saris (a traditional Indian dress), and longs to wear one herself. This affectionate story of a mother and daughter is an excellent introduction to Indian culture.

Monsoon AfternoonMonsoon Afternoon

On a dull, rainy day during monsoon season, a young boy searches for someone to play with him. His mother, father, brother, and grandmother are all too busy, but his grandfather accepts the invitation to play and the two spend a delightful afternoon together. Soft watercolor paintings of the Indian setting enhance this lighthearted story.


Picture Books Around the World: France

3 Sep

For the fourth installment of our eight-part “Picture Books Around the World” series, we’ll be stopping in beautiful France!

Picture Books about France

France is a country beloved by many, so there is no shortage of books written about it. Here are some of my favorites.

Adele and SimonAdèle & Simon

When Adele picks up her younger brother, Simon, from school, she makes him promise not to lose anything. Even so, Simon’s things manage to disappear one by one as the pair make their way home. Readers will love poring over the gorgeous pen-and-ink drawings of early 20th century Paris – and trying to spot Simon’s missing possession on each page.

A Walk in ParisA Walk in Paris

A young girl and her grandfather explore Paris in this lively picture book. Younger children will love the colorful, detailed drawings of this beautiful city, while older readers are sure to enjoy the snippets of Paris trivia on every page.


Charming, humorous verse tells the story of twelve little girls at a Paris boarding school. The smallest girl, Madeline, is also the bravest and the spunkiest, and she keeps teacher Miss Clavel on her toes.

LinneaLinnea in Monet’s Garden

Linnea loves flowers, and enjoys reading about French artist Claude Monet. She is delighted to travel to Paris to see Monet’s garden in person. The beautiful painted illustrations of Linnea on her journey to France are mixed together with real photographs of Monet’s home and the famous garden.

The Cat Who Walked Across FranceThe Cat Who Walked Across France

A cat whose owner has passed away travels across France in search of a new home. Vivid, painterly, full-page illustrations depict the French countryside in all its glory.

Everybody BonjoursEverybody Bonjours!

Friendly, rhyming text describes the many ways the French say “bonjour” (hello). Colorful mixed media illustrations depict an American girl sightseeing around Paris, including visits to the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Latin Quarter, Notre Dame, and more. A section titled “Out and About in Paris” contains additional information on the 16 landmarks featured.

The Boy Who Wanted to CookThe Boy Who Wanted to Cook

Pierre longs to be a chef like his father, who owns a restaurant in a small town in the South of France. Pierre’s father thinks that he is too young to cook, but when Pierre learns that an important food critic plans the restaurant he sees an opportunity to prove himself. The book includes an afterword about dining in France and a glossary.

So far on our world tour we’ve visited France, Australia, Italy, and Japan. Check back next week to see where we’re headed next!

Picture Books Around the World: Italy

1 Sep

Last week, we visited Australia and Japan. Next up in our trip around the world… Italy!

Picture Books about Italy

This beautiful country is known for many things, including its history, architecture, and fabulous food! I’m part-Italian (on my mom’s side) and Italian culture has always been a part of my life. Which is probably why I had so much fun creating this list!

This is RomeThis is Rome

Miroslav Sasek’s classic picture books are a must-own for any armchair travel enthusiast, young or old. Originally written in 1960, this book was reissued in 2007 for a new generation of readers to enjoy. Sasek’s fantastically detailed paintings and clever prose artfully describe the history, culture, and architecture of this great city.

This is VeniceThis Is Venice

A year after taking readers on a whirlwind tour of Rome, Miroslav Sasek took on another celebrated Italian city: Venice. This book is a wonderful introduction to the people and places of this gorgeous waterfront city.

Gabriella's SongGabriella’s Song

This charming tale about the power of music, appropriately set in Venice – a city famous for its music – features a young girl who hears a song everywhere she goes. Everything from church bells to pigeon wings sounds musical to Gabriella. She begins humming a tune inspired by these sounds, and soon everyone in town is singing Gabriella’s song.

Zoe Sophia's ScrapbookZoe Sophia’s Scrapbook: An Adventure in Venice

In this fictional diary, a nine-year-old girl takes a trip to Italy to visit her aunt. The pair visit museums, eat Italian food, ride a gondola, and enjoy some of the sightseeing that the city of Venice has to offer. This is the perfect book to inspire wanderlust in children, and it may even inspire them to keep a scrapbook of their own adventures!

Guido's GondolaGuido’s Gondola

Guido enjoys spending his days taking tourists around Venice in his gondola. The rhyming text and whimsical characters of this book will appeal to even the youngest readers.

Madeline and the Cats of RomeMadeline and the Cats of Rome

This modern follow-up to the 1939 classic Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans was penned by the author’s grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano. Madeline and her friends leave their schoolhouse in Paris and travel to Rome for spring vacation.

Olivia Goes to VeniceOlivia Goes to Venice

The adorable pig Olivia and her family take a vacation to Venice, full of sightseeing, gondola rides, and lots and lots of gelato. Author/illustrator Ian Falconer uses photographs of Venice as the backdrop for his hand-drawn characters.


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