Archive for the ‘Countries’ Category

Australia-Oceania – Fiction

August 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Picture books which take place in specific nations of Australia / Oceania:
American Samoa ; Ashmore and Cartier Islands ; Australia ; Baker Island ; Christmas Island ; Cocos (Keeling) Islands ; Cook Islands ; Coral Sea Islands ; Fiji ; French Polynesia ; Guam ; Howland Island ; Jarvis Island ; Johnston Atoll ; Kingman Reef ; Kiribati ; Marshall Islands ; Federated States of Micronesia ; Midway Islands ; Nauru ; New Caledonia ; New Zealand ; Niue ; Norfolk Island ; Northern Mariana Islands ; Palau ; Palmyra Atoll ; Pitcairn Islands ; Samoa ; Solomon Islands ; Tokelau ; Tonga ; Tuvalu ; United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges ; Vanuatu ; Wake Island ; Wallis and Futuna



When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah (Scholastic, 2017)
Michael’s parents are leaders of a new anti-immigrant political party called Aussie Values which is trying to halt the flood of refugees from the Middle East; Mina fled Afghanistan with her family ten years ago, and just wants to concentrate on fitting in and getting into college–but the mutual attraction they feel demands that they come to terms with their family’s concerns and decide where they stand in the ugly anti-Muslim politics of the time.

The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2018)
Terribly shy, India Wimple is brilliant at spelling and her loving family will do whatever it takes to help her compete in a televised national spelling bee in Sydney, Australia.

On the Run by Tristan Bancks (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2015)
Twelve-year-old Ben, who aspires to be a police officer, struggles to do the right thing when his parents suddenly take him and his little sister “on vacation,” and he learns they took a large amount of money that was mistakenly deposited in their bank account.

The Harper Effect by Taryn Bashford (Skyhorse, 2018)
Sixteen-year-old Harper acquires a new tennis coach who immediately partners her with the moody Cole, but between Cole’s secrets and her love for sister’s ex-boyfriend, can Harper make her tennis dreams come true?

Out of This Place by Emma Cameron (Candlewick, 2013)
Follows three teens who struggle with hardscrabble realities, from Luke, who works at the local supermarket and tries to stay out of trouble; to Bongo, who drinks to avoid his abusive family; to Casey, who longs to escape her controlling father.

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (Knopf, 2017)
Teenagers Rachel and Henry find their way back to each other while working in an old bookstore full of secrets and crushes, love letters and memories, grief and hope.

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon (Disney Hyperion, 2016)
Subhi’s contained world as a refugee in an Australian permanent detention center rapidly expands when Jimmie arrives on the other side of the fence and asks him to read her late mother’s stories to her.

Everlasting by Angie Frazier (Scholastic, 2010)
In 1855, seventeen-year-old Camille sets out from San Francisco, California, on her last sea voyage before entering a loveless marriage, but when her father’s ship is destroyed, she and a friend embark on a cross-Australian quest to find her long-lost mother who holds a map to a magical stone.

The Other Side of Summer by Emily Gale (Harper, 2017)
Summer’s father moves their family to Australia after the sudden death of her brother Floyd, and the only thing that keeps her grounded is Floyd’s guitar, which was miraculously unharmed in the bombing that killed him.

Sam, Grace, and the Shipwreck by Michelle Gillespie (Fremantle, 2011)
When the steamship Georgette sinks off Western Australia in 1876, Sam Isaacs, a stockman, sixteen-year-old Grace Bussell, and their horses go to the rescue of the passengers and crew from an overturned lifeboat, in a tale based on a true story.

Get it Together, Delilah by Erin Gough (Chronicle, 2017)
Seventeen-year-old Delilah Green is doing her best to deal with a chaotic life–she is running the family café, The Flywheel, by herself because her father is on a vacation trying to get over his wife deserting him; she is getting flack at school because she is a lesbian, and one of the “in-girls” has started to come on to her, and she is hopelessly attracted to a girl named Rosa, who dances the flamingo outside the café every evening.

Munro vs. the Coyote by Darren Groth (Orca, 2017)
In this novel for teens, Munro Maddux goes to Australia on a student exchange in order to try and deal with his younger sister’s death.

The Blue-Eyed Aborigine by Rosemary Hayes (Frances Lincoln, 2011)
Tells the story of a cabin boy called Jan Pelgrom and a soldier involved in a notorious mutiny after the shipwreck of the Batavia off Western Australia in 1629.

Girl Defective by Simmone Howell (Atheneum, 2014)
Friendship, love, and a mystery fill the life-changing summer of fifteen-year-old Sky, who lives with her unconventional family in a run-down record store in St. Kilda, a seaside suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil (Peachtree, 2018)
Told from two viewpoints, Sophia, seventeen, a Sri Lankan-Australian math prodigy with social anxiety, is panicking about her future when classmate and amateur magician Joshua proclaims his love for her.

The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis (Harlequin Teen, 2017)

Timber Creek Station by Ali Lewis (Carolrhoda Lab, 2016)
Thirteen-year-old Danny Dawson lives on a cattle station in the Australian outback, where his family struggles to cope with the accidental death of his older brother a year earlier and his sister’s pregnancy by an Aboriginal.

Lucy at Sea by Barbara Mariconda (HarperCollins, 2013)
Lucy travels to Australia in her magical house-turned-ship to find her long-lost Aunt Pru and solve the mystery of the curse on her family

Every Breath by Ellie Marney (Tundra, 2014)
Reluctantly assisting her friend Mycroft’s investigation into the murder of a homeless man, Rachel Watts realizes her attraction to her bad-boy partner before finding herself targeted by the killer.

Bob by Wendy Mass (Feiwel and Friends, 2018)
Visiting her grandmother in Australia, Livy, ten, is reminded of the promise she made five years before to Bob, a strange, green creature who cannot recall who or what he is.

Sister Heart by Sally Morgan (Fremantle, 2015)
After being removed from her home, a young Aboriginal girl is placed in an institution, but manages to overcome the death of a close friend and make a new life for herself.

Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray (Knopf, 2017)
Molly longs for normalcy but when her mother accidentally turns herself into a tree, Molly must embrace all the things she has tried to run away from.

Into That Forest by Louis Nowra (Skyscape, 2013)
Two girls survive a flood in the Tasmanian bush and are rescued by two tigers who raise them in the wild for four years, but when the girls return to civilization, both have trouble adapting to being fully human after their experience.

Frankie by Shivaun Plozza (Flatiron Books, 2017)
When a boy claiming to be Frankie’s half brother disappears, Frankie searches for him and the truth about her past.

Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung (Knopf, 2016)
In Australia, Lucy tries to balance her life at home surrounded by her Chinese immigrant family, with her life at a pretentious private school.

Long Dark Dusk by J. P. Smythe (Quercus, 2017)
When the violent intersteller transport ship Australia crashes back to Earth, seventeen-year-old Chan finds herself living in poverty on a planet she has never known but always dreamed of, and as she tries to muster the will to survive, Chan learns that Mae, the little girl she once rescued on Australia, could be alive.

Way Down Dark by J. P. Smythe (Quercus, 2016)
Seventeen-year-old Chan, whose ancestors left a dying Earth hundreds of years ago, lives on the violent interstellar transport ship Australia, filled with murderous gangs and twisted cults, but Chan’s discovery of a possible way to return the Australia to Earth, which may still be uninhabitable, puts her life and those of her loved ones in terrible danger.

Don’t Forget Me by Victoria Stevens (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2018)
Forced to leave her mother, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s, in a nursing home in England and move to Australia to live with the father she has never met, seventeen-year-old Hazel Clarke struggles to build a new life for herself until she is befriended by Red and his quiet, grieving twin brother Luca, who help her learn to love her new home and realize the importance of honesty and family.

Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan (Scholastic, 2018)
A collection of illustrated short stories, each one about the relationship of humans and the animals, both wild and domestic, that share the urban environment of the inner city.

Cloudwish by Fiona Wood (Little Brown, 2016)
Vietnamese-Australian teenager Vân Uoc Phan, the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, doesn’t believe in magic until the day an absent-minded wish actually comes true and she attracts the attention of her longtime crush

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood (Little, Brown, 2015)
Fourteen-year-old Dan Cereill’s life is turned upside-down when his father announces he is gay and leaves Dan and his mother with nothing, forcing them to move to an aunt’s house, Dan to enroll in public school, and his mother to try to start a business, but the top thing on Dan’s list is kissing Estelle, the girl next door.

Velocity by Chris Wooding (Scholastic, 2017)
Cassica and Shiara have grown up in Coppermouth, a dust choked town in the Outback, but now they hope to use their skills as race driver and mechanic to take on the Widowmaker, an off-road rally through some of the most dangerous places on Earth, to win fame and fortune–provided they survive the race.

The Protected by Claire Zorn (Sourcebooks Fire, 2017)
Nearly a year after her popular older sister’s accidental death, Hannah meets Anne, a guidance counselor, and Josh, a potential new friend, who offer her the chance to move forward.


Keeper of the Night by Kimberly Willis Holt (Henry Holt, 2003)
Thirteen-year-old Isabel, a girl living on the island of Guam, and her family try to cope with the suicide of Isabel’s mother.

Songs of Papa’s Island by Barbara Kerley (Houghton Mifflin, 1995)
A mother tells her daughter a series of stories about life on Guam before the daughter was born and when she was a baby.

No Surrender Soldier by Christine Kohler (Merit Press, 2014)
Fifteen-year-old Kiko wants to prove that he is a man, so he decides to avenge his mother’s rape by a Japanese soldier during World War II by murdering the old Japanese soldier living in the Guamanian jungle behind his house.







Hunter by Joy Cowley (Philomel, 2004)
A Maori boy in 1805 and a plane crash survivor marooned on a deserted island in 2005 experience interconnecting visions.

Into the River by Ted Dawe (Polis, 2016)
Wanting more than the Maori customs and rituals provide Te Arepa believes his prayers are answered when he is awarded a scholarship to a boarding school across the country.

The 10 p.m. Question by Kate de Goldi (Candlewick, 2010)
Twelve-year-old Frankie Parsons has a quirky family, a wonderful best friend, and a head full of worrying questions that he shares with his mother each night, but when free-spirited Sydney arrives at school with questions of her own, Frankie is forced to face the ultimate ten p.m. question.

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey (Little, Brown, 2010)
Eighteen-year-old New Zealand boarding school student Ellie Spencer must use her rusty tae kwon do skills and new-found magic to try to stop a fairy-like race of creatures from Maori myth and legend that is plotting to kill millions of humans in order to regain their lost immortality.

The Shattering by Karen Healey (Little, Brown, 2011)
When a rash of suicides disturbs Summerton, an oddly perfect tourist town on the west coast of New Zealand, the younger siblings of the dead boys become suspicious and begin an investigation that reveals dark secrets and puts them in grave danger.

Take it Easy by David Hill (Dutton, 1997)
Sent by his father on a five-day wilderness hike in the rugged New Zealand mountains, Rob and five other less-experienced teenagers must go it alone when their leader suddenly dies.

River Song by Belinda Hollyer (Holiday House, 2008)
Jessye loves living with her grandmother in a traditional Maori village, but when her free-wheeling mother comes back into her life, Jessye must decide whether to stay or move to the city.

The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (Harcourt, 2003)
As her beloved grandfather, chief of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, struggles to lead in difficult times and to find a male successor, young Kahu is developing a mysterious relationship with whales, particularly the ancient bull whale whose legendary rider was their ancestor.

The Boy Who Returned From the Sea by Clay Morgan (Dutton, 2007)
Jack is reunited with his beloved sheepdog Moxie on the island where they first met, but the dangerous Blackburn Jukes is there too, searching for valuable amber that is hidden in the island’s bogs.

The Boy Who Spoke Dog by Clay Morgan (Dutton, 2003)
After being marooned on an island near New Zealand, Jack, an orphaned cabin boy from San Francisco, becomes allied with a group of dogs who protect the local sheep from wild dogs.

NOTE: Red numbers denote how many holdings are noted in reQuest. An asterisk means that the book is available at the State Library Service Centers.

Categories: Countries

East & Southeast Asian Countries – Fiction

August 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Picture books which take place in specific East & Southeast Asian nations.
Brunei ; Burma ; Cambodia ; China ; Hong Kong ; Indonesia ; Japan ; North Korea ; South Korea ; Laos ; Macau ; Malaysia ; Mongolia ; Papua New Guinea ; Paracel Islands ; Philippines ; Singapore ; Spratly Islands ; Taiwan ; Thailand ; Timor-Leste ; Vietnam


Little, Brother by Allan Baillie (Viking, 1992)
In Cambodia after the Vietnamese War, Vithy learns to overcome social upheaval, a hostile jungle, and his own inability to trust, in order to rescue his older brother.

Gathering the Dew by Minfong Ho (Orchard, 2003)
After the Communists take over Cambodia and her family is torn from their city life, twelve-year-old Nakri and her older sister attempt to maintain their hope as well as their classical dancing skills in the midst of their struggle to survive.

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick (Balzer + Bray, 2012)
Cambodian child soldier Arn Chorn-Pond defied the odds and used all of his courage and wits to survive the murderous regime of the Khmer Rouge.


Anya’s War by Andrea Alban (Feiwel and Friends, 2011)
In 1937, the privileged and relatively carefee life of a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, whose family emigrated from Odessa, Ukraine, to Shanghai, China, comes to an end when she finds an abandoned baby, her hero, Amelia Earhart, goes missing, and war breaks out with Japan. Based on the author’s family history. [Ukrainians in China]

The City of Sand by Tianxia Bachang (Delacorte, 2017)
Teens Tianyi, his best friend Kai, and Julie, a wealthy American, join with Professor Chen and local guide Asat Amat seek the lost city of Jinjue, hindered by lethal creatures and an evil force.

Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth (Algonquin, 2018)
After her parents are arrested by Chinese soldiers because of their religious beliefs, twelve-year-old Tash and her best friend Sam travel from their home in Tibet across the Himalayas to India in order to seek the help of the Dalai Lama.

Bronze and Sunflower by Wenxuan Cao (Candlewick, 2017)
Taken in by a poor family in a rural village after the death of her father, Sunflower bonds with the family’s only child, Bronze, who has not spoken since being traumatized by a terrible fire.

In the Eye of War by Margaret and Raymond Chang (McElderry, 1990)
During the final days of the Japanese occupation of China, Shao-shao celebrates his tenth birthday, observes traditional holidays with his family, and befriends the daughter of a traitor.

Sword by Da Chen (Laura Geringer, 2008)
When Miu Miu turns fifteen, she learns the truth about her father’s violent death and discovers that she must avenge his murder before she can marry the man to whom she is betrothed. Based on a story told to the author by a former prisoner during China’s Cultural Revolution.

Wandering Warrior by Da Chen (Delacorte, 2003)
Eleven-year-old Luka, destined to become the future emperor of China, is trained in the ways of the kung fu wandering warriors by the wise monk Atami.

A Banquest for Hungry Ghosts: A Collection of Deliciously Frightening Tales by Ying Chang Compestine (Henry Holt, 2009)
Presents and eight-course banquet of ghost stories centering around Chinese cooking and culture. Each story is followed by a recipe and historical notes.

Revolution is Not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine (Henry Holt, 2007)
Starting in 1972 when she is nine years old, Ling, the daughter of two doctors, struggles to make sense of the communists’ Cultural Revolution, which empties stores of food, homes of appliances deemed “bourgeois,” and people of laughter.

Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier by Ying Chang Compestine (Amulet, 2014)
Through the stories of a terra-cotta soldier who has survived through the centuries, thirteen-year-old Ming, a village boy in 1970s China, learns the history of Emperor Qin, known both for building the Great Wall of China and for burying scholars alive, and how and why the terra-cotta soldiers came to be.

Shen and the Treasure Fleet by Ray Conlogue (Annick Press, 2007)
After rebel forces seize the Chinese royal city of Nanjing in 1403, thirteen-year-old Shen and his younger sister Chang take refuge with a traveling acrobat troupe who gains passage on a vast fleet of ships setting sail to explore the world.

Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin (Viking, 2019)
Lillia, fifteen, flees Warsaw with her father and baby sister in 1940 to try to make a new start in Shanghai, China, but the conflict grows more intense as America and Japan become involved. [Polish in China]

Sign of the Qin by Laura Geringer (Hyperion, 2004)
In long-ago China, Prince Zong, the mortal young Starlord chosen to save humankind from destruction, joins the twin outlaws, White Streak and Black Whirlwind, to fight the Lord of the Dead and his demon hordes.

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin (Little, Brown, 2014)
As Jin Ling tries to save her sister, Mei Yee, from the Brotherhood of the Red Dragon in Hak Nam Walled City, one boy, Dai, can reunite them and save their lives–but only if he’s willing to risk his own.

Spilled Water by Sally Grindley (Bloomsbury, 2004)
After her father’s death, Lu Si-Yan’s uncle sells her to a rich family who expect her to work as their servant until she is old enough to marry their son, but when she runs away things only get worse.

Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan by Hildi Kang (Tanglewood, 2011)
Called to follow the wind and search for information about his father who disappeared many years ago, thirteen-year-old Chengli, carrying a piece of jade with strange writing that had belonged to his father, joins a caravan charged with giving safe passage to the Emperor’s daughter as it navigates the constant dangers of the Silk Road in 630 A.D.

Moon Princess by Barbara Laban (Scholastic, 2017)
After her mother disappears and her mean housekeeper starts to act suspiciously, Sienna and her invisible dog Rufus set out to find answers and encounter Feng and other companions on their journey.

Factory Girl by Josanne La Valley (Clarion, 2017)
In order to save her family’s farm, Roshen, sixteen, must leave her rural home to work in a factory in the south of China. There she finds arduous and degrading conditions and contempt for her minority (Uyghur) background. Sustained by her bond with other Uyghur girls, Roshen is resolved to endure all to help her family and ultimately her people.

The Vine Basket by Josanne La Valley (Clarion, 2013)
Life has been hard for fourteen-year-old Mehrigul, a member of the Uyghur tribal group scorned by the Chinese communist regime, so when an American offers to buy all the baskets she can make in three weeks, Mehrigul strives for a better future for herself and her family despite her father’s opposition.

Little Pear: The Story of a Little Chinese Boy by Eleanor Frances Lattimore (Harcourt, Brace & World, 1931)
The adventures of Little Pear, a mischievous five-year-old boy living in China in the early 1900s.

The Dragon’s Pearl by Julie Lawson (Clarion, 1993)
During a terrible drought, a cheerful, dutiful son finds a magic pearl which forever changes his life and the lives of his mother and neighbors.

Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis (HRW, 1932)
In the 1920’s, a Chinese youth from the country comes to Chungking with his mother where the bustling city offers adventure and his apprenticeship to a coppersmith brings good fortune.

The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim (Scholastic, 2017)
After being sold as a bride to a wealthy family that treats her poorly, eleven-year-old Jing, with the help of her animal friends, runs away.

Girls on the Line by Jennie Liu (Carolrhoda Lab, 2018)
Told in two voices, Luli and Yun, raised in an orphanage to age sixteen, work together in a factory until Yun, pregnant, disappears and Luli must confront the dangers of the outside world to find her. Includes facts about China’s One-Child Policy and its effects.

Year of the Tiger by Alison Lloyd (Holiday House, 2010)
In ancient China, two boys forge an unlikely alliance in an effort to become expert archers and, ultimately, to save their city from invading barbarians.

Along the River by Adeline Yen Mah (Delacorte, 2009)
CC suffers a bad fall and, in order to treat her injuries, she undergoes hypnotherapy that reveals her connection to an eleventh-century girl named Mei Lan, who defied convention to befriend a household servant who was a brilliant artist. Includes glossary and pronunciation of Chinese words, and author’s note on the background of the story.

Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society by Adeline Yen Mah (HarperCollins, 2005)
During the Japanese occupation of parts of China, twelve-year-old Ye Xian is thrown out of her father’s and stepmother’s home, joins a martial arts group, and tries to help her aunt and the Americans in their struggle against the Japanese invaders. Includes historical notes.

The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean (HarperCollins, 2002)
In thirteenth-century China, after trying to save his widowed mother from a horrendous second marriage, twelve-year-old Haoyou has life-changing adventures when he takes to the sky as a circus kite rider and ends up meeting the great Mongol ruler Kublai Khan.

The Shanghai Incident by Bryan Methods (Carolrhoda, 2017)
In the early 1900s, an English schoolboy and his criminal mastermind butler travel to Paris and then race to Shanghai to solve a dangerous kidnappng case and unravel a plot to attack the child emperor of China.

Operation Red Jericho by Joshua Mowll (Candlewick, 2005)
The posthumous papers of Rebecca MacKenzie document her adventures, along with her brother Doug, in 1920s China as the teenaged siblings are sent to live aboard their uncle’s ship where they become involved in the dangerous activities of a mysterious secret society called the Honourable Guild of Specialists.

Under the Broken Sky by Mariko Nagai (Henry Holt, 2019)
When Soviet troops invade Japanese-occupied Manchuria during the last days of World War II, twelve-year-old Natsu Kimura must care for her younger sister as they struggle to survive and return to Japan.

An Ocean Apart, A World Away by Lensey Namioka (Delacorte, 2002)
Despite the odds facing her decision to become a doctor in 1920’s Nanking, China, teenaged Yanyan leaves her family to study at Cornell University where, along with hard work, she finds prejudice and loneliness as well as friendship and a new sense of accomplishment.

Ties That Bind, Ties That Break by Lensey Namioka (Delacorte, 1999)
Ailin’s life takes a different turn when she defies the traditions of upper class Chinese society by refusing to have her feet bound.

Bound by Donna Jo Napoli (Atheneum, 2004)
In a novel based on Chinese Cinderella tales, fourteen-year-old stepchild Xing-Xing endures a life of neglect and servitude, as her stepmother cruelly mutilates her own child’s feet so that she alone might marry well.

A Grain of Rice by Helena Clare Pittman (Delacorte, 2018, c1986)
A clever, cheerful, hard-working farmer’s son wins the hand of a Chinese princess by outwitting her father the Emperor, who treasures his daughter more than all the rice in China.

Threads by Ami Polonsky (Disney Hyperion, 2016)
An American girl finds a note written by a Chinese girl forced to work in a factory in Beijing.

Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon (Greenwillow, 2011)
When Ai Ling leaves her home and family to accompany Chen Yong on his quest to find his father, haunted by the ancient evil she thought she had banished to the underworld, she must use her growing supernatural powers to save Chen Yong from the curses that follow her.

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon (Greenwillow, 2009)
With her father long overdue from his journey and a lecherous merchant blackmailing her into marriage, seventeen-year-old Ai Ling becomes aware of a strange power within her as she goes in search of her parent.

Chenxi and the Foreigner by Sally Rippin (Annick Press, 2009)
When Anna, an Australian art student, moves to Shanghai for her studies, she feels alienated as a foreigner until she befriends Chenxi, her fellow student and guide, and becomes entangled in his political activism. [Australians in China]

Shanghai Shadows by Lois Ruby (Holiday House, 2006)
From 1939 to 1945, a Jewish family struggles to survive in occupied China; young Ilse by remaining optimistic, her older brother by joining a resistance movement, her mother by maintaining connections to the past, and her father by playing the violin that had been his livelihood.

Child Bride by Ching Yeung Russell (Boyds Mills, 1999)
In the 1940’s in southeastern China, eleven-year-old Ying will do whatever it takes to avoid the marriage arranged for her by a grandmother she barely knows because it would take her away from the grandmother who is raising her.

Lichee Tree by Ching Yeung Russell (Boyds Mills, 1997)
In the late 1940’s in southeastern China, ten-year-old Ying can’t wait for her lichee tree to bloom so she can sell the fruit for money to help her family.

Marco? Polo! by Jon Scieszka (Viking, 2006)
The Time Warp Trio find themselves in a desert in China, and in order to retrieve their magical book from the court of Kublai Khan, they must pose as astrologers and join the caravan of Marco Polo and his father.

Red Butterfly by A. L Sonnichsen (Simon & Schuster, 2015)
In China, a foundling girl with a deformed hand raised in secret by an American woman must navigate China’s strict adoption system when she is torn away from the only family she has ever known.

Dragon by Jeff Stone (Random House, 2010)
Thirteen-year-old Long, a dragon-style kung fu master and the oldest of the five survivors of the destroyed Cangzhen, must get to the Forbidden City before Tonglong declares himself emperor.

Chu Ju’s House by Gloria Whelan (HarperCollins, 2004)
In order to save her baby sister, fourteen-year-old Chu Ju leaves her rural home in modern China and earns food and shelter by working on a sampan, tending silk worms, and planting rice seedlings, while wondering if she will ever see her family again.

Rebel: A Tibetan Odyssey by Cheryl Aylward Whitesel (HarperCollins, 2000)
Although he rebels against life in the Tibetan Buddhist monastery where he had been sent, fourteen-year-old Thunder comes to some amazing realizations about himself.

Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson (Hyperion, 2005)
An orphan slave girl becomes a Dragon Keeper when she heroically comes to the aid of an aging dragon and both go on a dangerous journey across China to protect a mysterious stone vital to the dragon’s legacy.

Dragon Moon by Carole Wilkinson (Hyprion, 2008)
In China during the Han Dynasty, young Ping must take Kai, the dragon she rescued, on a long and perilous journey to the ancient haven of the dragons following cryptic clues left by the wise dragon, Danzi, and aided by old friends.

Garden of the Purple Dragon by Carole Wilkinson (Hyperion, 2007)
In China during the Han Dynasty, young Ping, doubting that she is the true dragonkeeper, struggles to care for the baby dragon, Kai, in the desolate mountains of Tai Shan, until fate leads her back to the Imperial Palace and the Garden of the Purple Dragon, but even in the safety of the palace, enemies abound and tempt her to try to escape her destiny.

The Dragon’s Gate by Barry Wolverton (Walden Pond, 2016)
Recused by archaeologist Lady Jean Barrett, the survivors of the Albatross embark on a journey into the heart of China to find the buried tomb of the first emperor.

The Golden Rat by Don L. Wulffson (Bloomsbury, 2007)
When sixteen-year-old Baoliu is wrongfully accused of murdering his stepmother, his father pays someone else to die in his place, leaving Baoliu to fend for himself on the streets of twelth-century China.

Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang (Delacorte, 2011)
Emmajin, the sixteen-year-old eldest granddaughter of Khublai Khan, becomes a warrior and falls in love with explorer Marco Polo in thirteenth-century China.

The Bone Collector’s Son by Paul Yee (Marshall Cavendish, 2004)
In 1907 Vancouver, Canada, after helping unearth a skeleton to be returned for burial in China, fourteen-year-old Bing experiences strange events that cause him to confront his fear of both ghosts and of his father.

The Dragon’s Child: A Story of Angel Island by Laurence Yep (HarperCollins, 2008)
In 1922, ten-year-old Gim Lew reluctantly leaves his village in China to accompany his father to America, but before they go he must prepare for a grueling test that he must pass–without stuttering–at California’s Angel Island, where strict officials strive to keep out unwanted immigrants. Includes facts about immigration from China and the experiences of the author’s family.

Dragons of Silk by Laurence Yep (Harper, 2011)
Four generations of Chinese and Chinese-American girls, beginning in 1835, are tied together by the tradition of raising silkworms and the legacy of the legendary Weaving Maid.

Lady of Ch’iao Kuo: Warrior of the South by Laurence Yep (Scholastic, 2001)
In 531 A.D., a fifteen-year-old princess of the Hsien tribe in southern China keeps a diary which describes her role as liaison between her own people and the local Chinese colonists, in times of both peace and war.

Spring Pearl: The Last Flower by Laurence Yep (Pleasant Company, 2002)
Called boyish by her new family for being able to read and write, twelve-year-old, orphaned Spring Pearl’s “odd ways” help save the family during the 1857 Opium War in Canton, China.

Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing by Guo Yue and Clare Farrow (Barefoot Books, 2008)
In Communist China in 1966, eight-year-old Leap Forward learns about freedom while flying kites with his best friend, by trying to get a caged wild bird to sing, and through the music he is learning to play on a bamboo flute. Includes author’s notes on his childhood in Beijing, life under Mao Zedong, and the Cultural Revolution.

The Emperor’s Riddle by Kat Zhang (Aladdin, 2017)
During a family trip to China, eleven-year-old Mia Chen and her older brother, Jake, follow clues and solve riddles in hopes of finding their missing Aunt Lin and, perhaps, a legendary treasure.


The Year of the Fortune Cookie by Andrea Cheng (HMH, 2014)
Eleven-year-old Anna takes a trip to China and learns more about herself and her Chinese heritage.

The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong by L. Tam Holland (Simon & Schuster, 2013)
Vee’s history assignment is to create a family tree, but he doesn’t know anything about his family beyond his parents’ generation.


Subway Girl by P. J. Converse (HarperTeen, 2011)
In Hong Kong, Chan Tze Man, called Simon Chan, leaves high school because he can’t master English, but when he befriends Amy, a Chinese- American who knows little Chinese, their unlikely bond gives hope to both.

Nine Days by Fred Hiatt (Delacorte, 2013)
Tenth-graders Ethan and Ti-Anna go to Hong Kong seeking her father, an exiled Chinese democracy activist who has disappeared, and follow his trail to Vietnam and back, also uncovering illegal activity along the way. Includes author’s note and the history behind the novel written by the girl who inspired it. [Americans in China]

Necropolis by Anthony Horowitz (Scholastic, 2009)
To stop the evil corporation Nightrise from unleashing its devastating power around the globe, fifteen-year-old Matt and three other Gatekeepers travel to Hong Kong to find Scarlet, the final Gatekeeper, whose fate is inextricably joined to their own.

Tofu Quilt by Ching Yeung Russell (Lee & Low, 2009)
Growing up in 1960s Hong Kong, a young girl dreams of becoming a writer in spite of conventional limits placed on her by society and family. Based on the author’s childhood.


Disguised: A Wartime Memoir by Zubli Clercq (Candlewick, 1799)
Details the author’s experiences in a Japanese POW camp where she, disguised as a boy and outraged at the conditions, injustice, and torture, dared to speak up for her fellow prisoners of war.

Overboard by Elizabeth Fama (Cricket, 2002)
Escaping from a sinking ferry in the waters off Sumatra, fourteen-year-old Emily fights for survival for herself and a young Indonesian boy, who draws courage from his quiet but firm Islamic faith.

After the Ashes by Sara K. Joiner (Holiday House, 2015)
In 1883 thirteen-year-old Katrien Courtlandt is more interested in science and exploring the Javanese jungle for beetles with her native friend, than in becoming a young lady like her despised cousin Brigitta–but when Krakatoa erupts, the tsunami hits, and their families are swept away the two cousins must struggle to survive together.

Sea by Heidi R. Kling (Putnam’s, 2010)
Despite recurring nightmares about her mother’s death and her own fear of flying, fifteen-year-old Sienna accepts her father’s birthday gift to fly to Indonesia with his team of disaster relief workers to help victims of a recent tsunami, never suspecting that this experience will change her life forever.

The Flame Tree by Richard Lewis (Simon & Schuster, 2004)
Just before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, an anti-American Muslim group gains power in Java, and Isaac, the twelve-year-old son of American missionary doctors, finds his world turned upside-down.

The Killing Sea by Richard Lewis (Simon Pulse, 2008)
In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Sumatra, two teenagers, American Sarah and Acehnese Ruslan, meet and continue together their arduous climb inland, where Ruslan hopes to find his father and Sarah seeks a doctor for her brother. Includes maps and author’s note about the tsunami on which the story is based.

Rescued by Eliot Schrefer (Scholastic, 2016)
When John was ten years old his father brought back a baby orangutan from Indonesia, and Raja quickly becomes John’s “brother” and responsibility–so years later, after his parents divorce, and his father has sold Raja to a roadside zoo, John sets out to rescue him and bring him to a sanctuary in Indonesia. [Americans in Indonesia]


Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh (Putnam’s, 2017)
After an attempt is made on her life, Mariko disguises herself as a boy and infiltrates a gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, determined to hunt down the person responsible.

Smoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh (Putnam’s, 2018)
Mariko must uncover deception in the imperial court and rescue Okami, while preparing for her nuptials.

The Last Leaves Falling by Fox Benwell (Simon & Schuster, 2015)
In Japan, teenaged Abe Sora, who is afflicted with “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” finds friends online and elicits their help to end his suffering.

Young Samurai by Chris Bradford (Disney Hyperion, 2011)
In 1613 Japan, English orphan Jack Fletcher’s determination to keep the rutter, his father’s navigational logbook, safe at all costs places his friends, daimyo Takatomi, and others in great danger.

The Way of the Sword by Chris Bradford (Disney Hyperion, 2009)
In 1611 Japan, English orphan Jack Fletcher continues his difficult training at Niten Ichi Ryu Samurai School, while also trying to get back the rutter, his father’s navigational logbook, that an evil ninja wants to possess.

The Last Cherry Blossom by Kathleen Burkinshaw (Sky Pony, 2016)
Twelve-year-old Yuriko’s happy life with her father in Hiroshima, Japan, is disrupted when her aunt and cousin move in, when a dark secret is revealed, and then, devastatingly, when the atomic bomb is dropped.

The Heavenward Path by Kara Dalkey (Harcourt Brace, 1998)
Haunted by a broken promise to a powerful god, fifteen-year-old Mitsuko again enlists the aid of a mischievous shape-shifter who helps her learn to think for herself.

Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu (Atheneum, 2016)
Eleven-year-old Emma’s life in Tokyo changes for the worse when she and her American mother, who is pregnant, must move in with her Japanese grandmother the summer before 9/11 changes the world.

The Black Lotus by Kieran Fanning (Scholastic, 2016)
Ghost can become invisible, Cormac can run up walls, and Kate can talk to animals–all talents that make them perfect recruits for the Black Lotus, a training school for the ninjas who are sworn to protect the world from the evil Samurai-run Empire and its plot to find the Moon Sword, a dangerous, powerful weapon in sixteenth-century Japan.

Spirit’s Chosen by Esther M. Friesner (Random House, 2013)
As Himiko traverses ancient Japan in order to free enslaved members of her clan, she encounters members of many other tribes and emerges as the leader who will unify them.

Spirit’s Princess by Esther M. Friesner (Random House, 2012)
In ancient Japan, Himiko, the privileged daughter of her clan’s leader, fights the constraints and expectations imposed on young women and finds her own path, which includes secret shaman lessons.

Owl Ninja by Sandy Fussell (Candlewick, 2011)
Sensei Ki-yaga leads Niya and the other students of the Cockroach Ryu on a journey to beg the feudal Emperor to stop war from breaking out between the mountain ryus, putting to the test the firm friendship and unusual skills of these physically-disabled samurai-in-training.

White Crane by Sandy Fussell (Candlewick, 2010)
Even though he has only one leg, Niya Moto is studying to be a samurai, and his five fellow-students are similarly burdened, but sensei Ki-Yaga, an ancient but legendary warrior, teaches them not only physical skills but mental and spiritual ones as well, so that they are well-equipped to face their most formidable opponents at the annual Samurai Games.

The Perfect Sword by Scott Goto (Charlesbridge, 2008)
After a Japanese master swordmaker and his apprentice craft the perfect sword, they search high and low for someone worthy of it.

Grenade by Alan Gratz (Scholastic, 2018)
On April 1, 1945 with the battle of Okinawa beginning, fourteen-year-old native Okinawan Hideki, drafted into the Blood and Iron Student Corps, is handed two grenades and told to go kill American soldiers; small for his age Hideki does not really want to kill anyone, he just wants to find his family, and his struggle across the island will finally bring him face-to-face with Ray, a marine in his very first battle–and the choice he makes then will change his life forever.

Samurai Shortstop by Alan Gratz (Dial, 2006)
While obtaining a Western education at a prestigious Japanese boarding school in 1890, sixteen-year-old Toyo also receives traditional samurai training which has profound effects on both his baseball game and his relationship with his father.

Rise of the Ninja by Simon Higgins (Little, Brown, 2010)
It’s the dawn of an age of peace in medieval Japan. But a power-hungry warlord is plotting to plunge the national into a deadly civil war. Enter Moonshadow, the newest agent for the Grey Light Order, a secret brotherhood of ninja spy warriors. Can Moonshadow defeat the evil warlord or will his first mission be his last?

Wrath of Silver Wolf by Simon Higgins (Little, Brown, 2011)
Battling a power-hungry warlord in medieval Japan, teenaged Moonshadow, an orphaned ninja in the shogun’s secret service with the ability to see through the eyes of animals, encounters a weaponless assassin who enters the mind of his victims during their sleep.

The Demon in the Teahouse by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Philomel, 2001)
In eighteenth-century Japan, fourteen-year-old Seikei, a merchant’s son in training to be a samurai, helps his patron investigate a series of murders and arson in the capital city of Edo, each of which is associated in some way with a popular geisha.

The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Philomel, 1999)
While attempting to solve the mystery of a stolen jewel, Seikei, a merchant’s son who longs to be a samurai, joins a group of kabuki actors in eighteenth-century Japan.

In Darkness Death by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Philomel, 2004)
In eighteenth-century Japan, young Seikei becomes involved with a ninja as he helps Judge Ooka, his foster father, investigate the murder of a samurai.

A Samurai Never Fears Death by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Philomel, 2007)
Returning home to investigate the possible connection of his family’s tea shop with smugglers, Seikei, now a samauri in eighteenth-century Japan, becomes involved in murder at a local puppet theater and saving the life of his sister’s accused boyfriend.

Seven Paths to Death by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Philomel, 2008)
Samurai Seikei and Judge Ooka, his foster-father, seek seven men who have seven maps on their backs in order to locate a cache of dangerous weapons before they fall into the wrong hands.

The Sword that Cut the Burning Grass by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Philomel, 2005)
In his latest adventure in eighteenth-century Japan, fourteen-year-old samurai apprentice Seikei, with the help of a servant girl and an imperious old man, sets out to rescue the young Emperor Yasuhito from his kidnappers.

Shadow Warrior by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (Annick Press, 2017)
Based on the true story of a fearless ninja and her network of female spies.

Blood Ninja by Nick Lake (Simon & Schuster, 2009)
After his father is murdered and a ninja saves his life, Taro discovers the connection between ninjas and vampires and finds himself being dragged into a bitter conflict between the rival lords ruling Japan.

Blood Ninja II: The Revenge of Lord Oda by Nick Lake (Simon & Schuster, 2010)
In sixteenth-century Japan, Taro, a vampire like all ninja warriors, tries to protect his mother and defeat the power-hungry Lord Oda, who he believed was dead.

Blood Ninja III: The Betrayal of the Living by Nick Lake (Simon & Schuster, 2012)
In sixteenth-century Japan, Taro enlists his friends to help vanquish a dragon in hopes of winning a reward that would allow him to marry Hana, but he also faces surprisingly difficult obstacles as Kenji Kira raises the dead against him and his own flesh and blood betrays him.

Gothic Lolita by Dakota Lane (Atheneum, 2008)
Sixteen-year-olds Chelsea and Miya have a lot in common, from their love of blogging, loss of loved ones, and the Shonin rainbow warrior books, to nationalities, even though they are half-way across the world from each other.

Kazunomiya: Prisoner of Heaven by Kathryn Lasky (Scholastic, 2004)
Princess Kazunomiya, half-sister of the Emperor of Japan, relates in her diary and in poems the confusing events occurring in the Imperial Palace in 1858, including political and romantic intrigue.

Taka-chan and I: A Dog’s Journey to Japan by Betty Jean Lifton (New York Review of Books, 2012, c1967)
A dog digs a hole in the sand, all the way to Japan, where he meets a little girl held captive by a dragon and helps her to find the most loyal person in Japan.

Up from the Sea by Leza Lowitz (Crown, 2016)
A novel in verse about the March 2011 tsunami that sent Japan into chaos, told from the point-of-view of Kai, a biracial teenaged boy.

Running with Cosmos Flowers: The Children of Hiroshima by Shizumi Sigeto Manale (Pelican, 2014)
After months of seeking family members with the aunt she was visiting when Americans dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945, seven-year-old Hanako finally goes back to school and gets on with a life that leads, eventually, to her visiting Washington, D.C. and the church that provided them humanitarian aid. Based on first-hand accounts and interviews with survivors, and illustrated with paintings by Hiroshima children.

Missing in Tokyo by Graham Marks (Bloomsbury, 2006)
When his older sister is reported missing, teenager Adam travels from England to Tokyo, Japan, to look for her.

The Way of the Warrior by Andrew Matthews (Dutton, 2008)
In 16th century Japan Jimmu Shimomura is raised to avenge his father’s death caused by Lord Ankan, but after training as a samurai warrior and becoming a bodyguard for his sworn enemy he becomes sympathetic toward Ankan and is unsure what the right thing to do is.

Hannah’s Winter by Kierin Meehan (Kane Miller, 2009)
Australian teenager Hannah spends a semester in Japan with a Japanese family who are friends of her mother and, after finding a written message in a box and meeting a singing monk, is drawn into solving an ancient, mysterious riddle.

Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe (VIZ Media)
With a determined plan to reunite his mother and father, the 10-year-old boy named Wataru knowingly enters a fantasy realm inhabited by a goddess who has the power to change destiny. With the help of the Lizard Boy, the Cat Girl, and the Fire-breathing Dragon, Wataru faces a series of seemingly insurmountable obstacles on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. One way or another, the young hero must reach the Tower of Destiny and bring his mother and father back together again.

Hachiko Waits by Lesléa Newman (Henry Holt, 2004)
Professor Ueno’s loyal Akita, Hachiko, waits for him at the train station every afternoon, and even after the professor has a fatal heart attack while at work, Hachiko faithfully continues to await his return until the day the dog dies. Based on a true story; includes an author’s note and glossary of Japanese words.

Dragon of the Red Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne (Random House, 2007)
When Merlin is weighed down by sorrows, Jack and Annie travel back to feudal Japan to learn one of the four secrets of happiness.

Dolls of Hope by Shirley Parenteau (Candlewick, 2015)
In 1927 Japan, after disobeying her parents, eleven-year-old Chiyo is sent to an exclusive boarding school where she feels lonely and homesick until the Friendship Doll exchange with America piques her interest, but a bully stands in her way.

Dolls of War by Shirley Parenteau (Candlewick, 2017)
Living on the World War II-era Oregon coast with her father, the director of a doll museum, 11-year-old Macy is dismayed when many of their neighbors demand that a treasured Japanese friendship doll be destroyed in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Old Man Mad About Drawing: A Tale of Hokusai by François Place (David R. Godine, 2004)
Tojiro, a young seller of rice cakes in the Japanese capital of Edo, later known as Tokyo, is amazed to discover that the grumpy and shabby old man who buys his cakes is a famous artist renowned for his sketches, prints, and paintings of flowers, animals, and landscapes.

The Bamboo Sword by Margi Preus (Amulet, 2015)
In Japan in 1853, at the time of U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry’s visit to Japan, Yoshi, a young Japanese boy who dreams of becoming a samurai one day, learns about America from Majiro and has adventures with Jack, a young cabin boy aboard one of the U.S. ships. Includes historical notes and glossary.

Heart of a Samurai: Based on the True Story of Nakahama Manjiro by Margi Preus (Amulet, 2010)
In 1841, rescued by an American whaler after a terrible shipwreck leaves him and his four companions castaways on a remote island, fourteen-year-old Manjiro, who dreams of becoming a samurai, learns new laws and customs as he becomes the first Japanese person to set foot in the United States.

Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn (Viking, 2012)
After a high-profile art heist of three van Gogh drawings in her home town of Seattle, sixteen-year-old Violet Rossi finds herself in Japan with her artist father, searching for the related van Gogh painting.

The Monster on the Road is Me by J. P. Romney (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2016)
In Japan, a teenage boy with narcolepsy is able to steal the thoughts of supernatural beings in his sleep, and uses this ability to defeat a mountain demon that’s causing a string of suicides at his school.

Sam Samurai by Jon Scieszka (Viking, 2001)
Joe, Fred, and Sam are transported to seventeenth century Japan where they infuriate a Samurai warrior, encounter their great-grandaughters, and save their lives by reciting an ancient form of poetry.

The Terror of the Tengu by John Seven (Stone Arch, 2015)
When twenty-fifth century time-travelers Dawkins and Hypatia find a plastic artifact among the Neanderthals, it is an anomaly–but on their next assignment to Japan in 1595 they find much more significant evidence of tampering, using virtual reality to induce belief in a demon tengu, and causing mass hysteria.

Model Misfit by Holly Smale (HarperTeen, 2015)
Feeling impossibly awkward and unpopular in spite of her international fame, Harriet decides a summer modeling job in Japan will make the perfect vacation, until her gorgeous model ex-boyfriend Nick shows up.

A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith (Roaring Brook, 2016)
After a suicide attempt, Reiko is sent to Japan where she visits a historic village designed to replicate the Edo period and finds herself transported back in time into the life of a woman who also seeks revenge.

Chasing the Secret by Maya Snow (HarperCollins, 2009)
When, after intercepting a secret message from their mother, their evil Uncle Hidehira uncovers their samurai disguise, Kimi and Hana again must flee for their lives and, with the help of a fellow student, undertake a perilous journey to find their mother and brother before they are captured by Hidehira’s samurai.

Journey Through Fire by Maya Snow (HarperCollins, 2009)
Recovering from injuries sustained while escaping a fire, Kimi, Hana, and their mother and little brother take refuge in a monastery where their mother petitions the Shogun for help against evil Uncle Hidehira.

Sisters of the Sword by Maya Snow (HarperCollins, 2008)
Two aristocratic sisters in ancient Japan disguise themselves as samurai warriors to take revenge on the uncle who betrayed their family.

Prisoner of War by Michael P. Spradlin (Scholastic, 2017)
Fifteen-year-old Henry Forrest lies about his age and enlists in the Marines to escape from his abusive father, but when he is immediately sent to the Philippines he finds himself in the middle of the Japanese invasion–and as he grows up he will have to endure the Bataan Death March, overcrowded prisons, and the Japanese factory in Tokyo where he is eventually sent as slave labor.

Neil Flambé and the Tokyo Treasure by Kevin Sylvester (Simon & Schuster, 2012)
Celebrity teenaged chef Neil Flambé heads to Japan to solve his next mystery when news arrives that his cousin Larry, a manga comic book writer visiting Tokyo, has died in a boating accident.

Nobody Knows by Shelley Tanaka (Groundwood, 2012)
Twelve-year-old Akira must take care of his younger siblings after they are abandoned by their mother and left to fend for themselves in a Tokyo apartment.

Falling into the Dragon’s Mouth by Holly Thompson (Henry Holt, 2016)
“In this novel in verse, a resilient American boy deals with bullying and the challenges of being an outsider that come with living in a Japanese fishing village.

The Language Inside by Holly Thompson (Delacorte, 2013)
Raised in Japan, American-born tenth-grader Emma is disconcerted by a move to Massachusetts for her mother’s breast cancer treatment, because half of Emma’s heart remains with her friends recovering from the tsunami.

Orchards by Holly Thompson (Delacorte, 2011)
Sent to Japan for the summer after an eighth-grade classmate’s suicide, half-Japanese, half-Jewish Kana Goldberg tries to fit in with relatives she barely knows and reflects on the guilt she feels over the tragedy back home.

Strange Lights Afar: Tales of the Supernatural from Old Japan by Rui Umezawa (Groundwood, 2015)
A bitterly jealous brother, a samurai who makes the ultimate sacrifice, a cold-hearted husband, a monk who mistakes desire for piety, a fraudulent merchant who meets his match in a supernatural river otter the motives underlying these traditional Japanese folktale characters are explored with haunting results.

Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse (Little, Brown, 2017)
Seventeen-year-old Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the United States, and she unexpectedly finds herself drawn to Jamie, a boy with whom she shares a heartbreaking history. Can their one short week of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

Blue Fingers: A Ninja’s Tale by Cheryl Aylward Whitesel (Clarion, 2004)
Having failed apprenticeship as a dye maker, Koji is captured and forced to train as a ninja, where he remains disloyal until he discovers samurai have burned his former village.

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney (Little, Brown, 2013)
When his mother dies three weeks before his high school graduation, Danny goes to Tokyo, where his mother had been going for cancer treatments, to learn about the city his mother loved and, with the help of his friends, come to terms with her death.

The Letters by Kazumi Yumoto (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2002)
In Japan, the death of her former landlady triggers a young woman’s memories about her father’s death when she was six years old, and the special way the old lady helped her to cope with the loss.

The Spring Tone by Kazumi Yumoto (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999)
Plagued by headaches and nightmares, Tomomi tries to make sense of her grandmother’s death, her little brother’s obsession with saving sick and abandoned cats, and her fear that she is becoming a monster.


In the Shadow of the Sun by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Scholastic, 2017)
Twelve-year-old Mia is on a five-day tour of North Korea with her older brother, Simon, and their father, Mark, an food aide worker, but she is scared because her father keeps sneaking off at night, and terrified that her brother’s sullen, rebellious behavior (which has absolutely nothing to do with the Koreans) is going to get them in trouble–and things get much worse when she is pulled into a deadly political game that seeks to expose North Korean atrocities, and her father is arrested.


Echoes of the White Giraffe by Sook Nyul Choi (Houghton Mifflin, 1993)
Fifteen-year-old Sookan adjusts to life in the refugee village in Pusan but continues to hope that the civil war will end and her family will be reunited in Seoul.

Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi (Houghton Mifflin, 1991)
A young Korean girl survives the oppressive Japanese and Russian occupation of North Korea during the 1940s, to later escape to freedom in South Korea.

Sondok: Princess of the Moon and Stars by Sheri Holman (Scholastic, 2002)
In a series of messages placed in her grandmother’s ancestral jar, a seventh century princess and future ruler of the Korean kingdom of Silla vents her frustration at not being permitted to study astronomy because she is a girl.

The Long Season of Rain by Helen Kim (Henry Holt, 1996)
When an orphan boy comes to live with her family, eleven-year-old Junehee begins to realize that the demands placed on Korean women can destroy their lives.

Archer’s Quest by Linda Sue Park (Clarion, 2006)
Twelve-year-old Kevin Kim helps Chu-mong, a legendary king of ancient Korea, return to his own time.

The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park (Clarion, 2000)
In Korea in 1473, eleven-year-old Young-sup overcomes his rivalry with his older brother Kee-sup, who as the first-born son receives special treatment from their father, and combines his kite-flying skill with Kee-sup’s kite-making skill in an attempt to win the New Year kite-fighting competition.

Seesaw Girl by Linda Sue Park (Clarion, 1999)
Impatient with the constraints put on her as an aristocratic girl living in Korea during the seventeenth century, twelve-year-old Jade Blossom determines to see beyond her small world.

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (Clarion, 2001)
Tree-ear, a thirteen-year-old orphan in medieval Korea, lives under a bridge in a potters’ village, and longs to learn how to throw the delicate celadon ceramics himself.

When My Name was Keoko by Linda Sue Park (Clarion, 2002)
With national pride and occasional fear, a brother and sister face the increasingly oppressive occupation of Korea by Japan during World War II, which threatens to suppress Korean culture entirely.

Ferocious by Paua Stokes (Tor Teen, 2017)
Aided by her friends Jesse and Sebastian, Winter attempts to infiltrate an international corporation to get close to nefarious businessman Kyung, who she believes is responsible for her sister’s death.

Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout (Thomas Dunne, 2015)
Grace Wilde is hoping for a fresh start from her family, famous in the music industry, and escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame and love.

So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1986)
A fictionalized autobiography in which eleven-year-old Yoko escapes from Korea to Japan with her mother and sister at the end of World War II.


Gilded by Christina Farley (Skyscape, 2014)
Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting into a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she’s next.

Somebody’s Daughter by Marie G. Lee (Beacon Press, 2005)
Adopted and raised by Scandinavian-American parents in Minnesota, a Korean teenager returns to her native country to find her mother.

In Real Life by Lawrence Tabak (Tuttle, 2014)
Fifteen-year-old math prodigy Seth Gordon hopes to compete professionally playing Starfare, the world’s most popular computer game, but when he gets the chance to move to Korea and train full-time, he may not be ready for the culture shock and leaving his possible girlfriend, Hannah.


Little Cricket by Jackie Brown (Hyperion, 2004)
After the upheaval of the Vietnam War reaches them, twelve-year-old Kia and her Hmong family flee from the mountains of Laos to a refugee camp in Thailand and eventually to the alien world of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Moon Bear by Gill Lewis (Atheneum, 2015)
In Laos, twelve-year-old Tam must work at a bear farm where bears are cruelly caged and milked for their bile, but when a familiar cub is brought to the farm, Tam will do anything to free both the cub, and himself.

Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong (Harper, 2010)
In 1982 twelve-year-old Vonlai, his parents, and sister Dalah, escape from Laos to a Thai refugee camp where they spend four long years struggling to survive in hopes of one day reaching America.




Ten: A Soccer Story by Shamini Flint (Clarion, 2017)
In 1986 Malaysia, as she worries about her parents’ constant fighting, ardent soccer fan Maya, age eleven, trains herself and pulls together a team at her girls’ school, despite soccer being a “boys’ game.”

Other Echoes by Adèle Geras (David Fickling, 2004)
Now eighteen years old and living in England, Flora remembers the experiences she had as a nine-year-old in North Borneo, or Sabah, where she endured outsider status and where she uncovered the secret story of an old house.


The Grave Robbers of Genghis Khan by P. B. Kerr (Orchard, 2011)
While volcanoes spew golden lava around the world, djinn twins John and Philippa, with their parents, Uncle Nimrod, and Groanin, face evil more powerful than ever before when they try to stop the wicked djinn trying to rob the grave of Genghis Khan.

Alien Expedition by Pamela F. Service (Carolrhoda, 2009)
Young alien agent Zack joins an archaeological dig in Mongolia to ensure that there is no trouble from the dinosaur-like scientists from Vraj’s home planet who are on a similar dig nearby.

I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade by Diane Lee Wilson (Orchard, 1998)
In early fourteenth-century China, Oyuna tells her granddaughter of her girlhood in Mongolia and how love for her horse enabled her to win an important race and bring good luck to her family.


Jungle of Bones by Ben Mikaelsen (Scholastic, 2014)
When sullen teenager Dylan Barstow is caught joyriding in a stolen car he is sent to his ex-Marine uncle for the summer, but soon they are on the way to Papua New Guinea in search of a World War II fighter plane and Dylan discovers that defiance is not a survival skill when you are lost in a jungle.

Devil’s Breath Volcano by Richard Trout (Pelican, 2008)
Scuba diving in Papua New Guinea, the MacGregors and Natalie Crosswhite find a concealed safe, and later discover a dangerous link between a toxic underwater leak and an illegal gold-mining operation.




Tall Story by Candy Gourlay (David Fickling, 2011)
Sixteen-year-old Bernardo, who is eight feet tall and suffers from a condition called Gigantism, leaves the Philippines to live with his mother’s family in London, much to the delight of his thirteen-year-old half sister Andi, a passionate basketball player.

The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Knopf, 2018)
When the Phillipine government takes over Culion, an island for people with leprosy, Ami is put in an orphanage on another island, where she finds a friend willing to help her return before her mother dies.

Beyond Paradise by Jane Hertenstein (Morrow, 1999)
Within months of arriving in the exotic Philippines from Upper Sandusky, Ohio, to live with her missionary parents on the island of Panay, fourteen-year-old Louise finds herself a prisoner of war in an internment camp when the Japanese invade her new country in 1941.

Hunt for the Bamboo Rat by Graham Salisbury (Wendy Lamb, 2014)
Zenji Watanabe, seventeen, is sent from Hawaii to the Philippines to spy on the Japanese during World War II and, after he is captured and tortured, must find a way to survive months of being lost in the jungle behind enemy lines.

Prisoner of War by Michael P. Spradlin (Scholatic, 2017)
Fifteen-year-old Henry Forrest lies about his age and enlists in the Marines to escape from his abusive father, but when he is immediately sent to the Philippines he finds himself in the middle of the Japanese invasion–and as he grows up he will have to endure the Bataan Death March, overcrowded prisons, and the Japanese factory in Tokyo where he is eventually sent as slave labor.






Dumpling Days by Grace Lin (Little, Brown, 2012)
When Pacy, her two sisters, and their parents go to Taiwan to celebrate Grandma’s sixtieth birthday, the girls learn a great deal about their heritage.

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan (Little, Brown, 2018)
After her mother’s suicide, grief-stricken Leigh Sanders travels to Taiwan to stay with grandparents she never met, determined to find her mother who she believes turned into a bird.

Want by Cindy Pon (Simon Pulse, 2017)
Jason Zhou is trying to survive in Taipei, a city plagued by pollution and viruses, but when he discovers the elite are using their wealth to evade the deadly effects, he knows he must do whatever is necessary to fight the corruption and save his city.


The White Elephant by Sid Fleischman (Greenwillow, 2006)
In old Siam, young elephant trainer Run-Run and his old charge, Walking Mountain, must deal with the curse of a sacred white elephant.

Breath of the Dragon by Gail Giles (Clarion, 1997)
Malila draws pictures to accompany her grandmother’s stories about Thai festivals, traditions, and customs.

Tua and the Elephant by R. P. Harris (Chronicle, 2012)
In Chiang Mai, Thailand, nine-year-old Tua releases an abused elephant from its chains–can she complete the rescue by getting it to an elephant refuge without being caught herself?

Rice Without Rain by Minfong Ho (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1990)
After social rebels convince the headman of a small village in northern Thailand to resist the land rent, his seventeen-year-old daughter Jinda finds herself caught up in the student uprising in Bangkok.

Lost Girls by Ann Kelley (Little, Brown, 2012)
In 1974, fourteen-year-old Bonnie, eight other Amelia Earhart Cadets aged nine to seventeen, and their irresponsible young leader are stranded on a forbidden island off the coast of Thailand on the brink of a deadly storm and must fight to survive.

Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong (Harper, 2010)
In 1982 twelve-year-old Vonlai, his parents, and sister Dalah, escape from Laos to a Thai refugee camp where they spend four long years struggling to survive in hopes of one day reaching America.

Silk Umbrellas by Carolyn Marsden (Candlewick, 2004)
Eleven-year-old Noi worries that she will have to stop painting the silk umbrellas her family sells at the market near their Thai village and be forced to join her older sister in difficult work at a local factory instead.

Nowhere Girl by Ammi-Joan Paquette (Walker, 2011)
Fair-skinned and blond-haired, thirteen-year-old Luchi was born in a Thai prison where her American mother was being held and she has never had any other home, but when her mother dies Luchi sets out into the world to search for the family and home she has always dreamed of.

Dangerous Wishes by William Sleator (Dutton, 1995)
To end the bad luck that fifteen-year-old Dom and his parents have been experiencing since their arrival in Thailand, Dom and his new friend Lek search for a jade carving that must be returned to its shrine to appease an angry Thai spirit.





Escape from Communist Heaven by Dennis Dunivan (Sentient Publications, 2013)
The communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975 is very hard for Viet Nguyen, fourteen, and his family but when Viet foolishly tries to speed up their plans to escape he is arrested and sentenced to the harsh life of a labor camp in the jungle.

Song of the Buffalo Boy by Sherry Garland (HBJ, 1992)
Shunned and mistreated because of her mixed heritage and determined to avoid an arranged marriage, seventeen-year-old Loi runs away to Ho Chi Minh City with the hope that she and the boy she loves will be able to go to the United States to find her American father.

The Trouble Begins by Linda Himelblau (Delacorte, 2005)
Reunited with his family for the first time since he was a baby, fifth grader Du struggles to adapt to his new home in the United States.

Water Buffalo Days: Growing Up in Vietnam by Quang Nhuong Huynh (HarperCollins, 1997)
The author describes his close relationship to two water buffalo that were part of his family when he was growing up in a village in the central highlands of Vietnam.

A Million Shades of Gray by Cynthia Kadohata (Atheneum, 2010)
In 1975 after American troops pull out of Vietnam, a thirteen-year-old boy and his beloved elephant escape into the jungle when the Viet Cong attack his village.

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (Harper, 2011)
Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

The Buddha’s Diamonds by Carolyn Marsden (Candlewick, 2008)
As a storm sweeps in, Tinh’s father tells him to tie up their fishing boat but the storm scares him and he runs away, but when the damage to the boat is discovered, Tinh realizes what he must do.

When Heaven Fell by Carolyn Marsden (Candlewick, 2007)
When her grandmother reveals that the daughter that she had given up for adoption is coming from America to visit her Vietnamese family, nine-year-old Binh is convinced that her newly-discovered aunt is wealthy and will take care of all the family’s needs.

Noodle Pie by Ruth Starke (Kane Miller, 2010)
Experiencing culture shock during a family visit to Vietnam, Andy struggles to respond to a Vietnamese name he does not recognize and is surprised by a family restaurant that is nothing like what he expected.


NOTE: A red asterisk means that the book is available at the State Library Service Centers.

Categories: Countries

Middle Eastern & Southeast Asian Countries – Fiction

August 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Picture books which take place in specific Middle Eastern and South Asian countries:
Afghanistan ; Armenia ; Azerbaijan ; Bahrain ; Bangladesh ; Bhutan ; British Indian Ocean Territory ; Gaza Strip ; Georgia ; India ; Iran ; Iraq ; Israel ; Jordan ; Kuwait ; Lebanon ; Maldives ; Nepal ; Oman ; Pakistan ; Qatar ; Saudi Arabia ; Sri Lanka ; Syria ; Turkey ; United Arab Emirates ; West Bank ; Yemen

MIDDLE EAST (download .doc) or MIDDLE EAST (download .pdf)


The Secret Sky: A Novel of Forbidden Love in Afghanistan by Atia Abawi (Philomel, 2014)
Two teens from different ethnic groups in present-day Afghanistan must fight their culture, tradition, families, and the Taliban to stay together as they and another village boy relate the story of their forbidden love.

Camel Bells by Janne Carlsson (Groundwood, 2002)
In 1978 Afghanistan, Hadjar, living with his mother and sister in a small mountain village, is happy to accompany his best friend to the capital city of Kabul but the city is in turmoil as the government is overthrown and the Russian tanks and troops begin to arrive.

Extra Credit by Andrew Clements (Atheneum, 2009)
As letters flow back and forth–between the prairies of Illinois and the mountains of Afghanistan, across cultural and religious divides–sixth-grader Abby, ten-year-old Amira, and eleven-year-old Sadeed begin to speak and listen to each other.

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis (Doutlas & McIntyre, 2001)
Because the Taliban rulers of Kabul, Afghanistan, impose strict limitations on women’s freedom and behavior, eleven-year-old Parvana must disguise herself as a boy so that her family can survive after her father’s arrest.

One Half from the East by Nadia Hashimi (Harper, 2016)
Forced to move from Kabul to a small village after her father lost one of his legs in a bomb explosion, Obayda, the youngest of her sisters, dresses as a boy to bring her family luck and encounters an entirely different outside world of play and exploration alongside a fellow bacha posh.

Wanting Mor by Rukhsana Khan (Groundwood, 2009)
Based on a true story, Jameela, a young girl living in war-torn Afghanistan, must struggle to find her place in the world after her mother dies and she is moved to Kabul with her drunken father where she clashes with her mean stepmother and ends up in an orphanage run by the same army who was responsible for killing members of her family.

Torn by David Massey (Scholastic, 2013)
Only eighteen when she is sent to Afghanistan, British army medic Elinor Nielson is continually at odds with her hardnosed bunkmate, Heidi Larson, but connects with a mysterious Afghan girl and local children, as well as an American lieutenant. [Americans in Afghanistan]

Thunder Over Kandahar by Sharon E. McKay (Annick, 2010)
A powerful novel of enduring friendship set amid the terror and chaos of present-day Afghanistan.

Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy (Scholastic, 2011)
Zulaikha, a thirteen-year-old girl in Afghanistan, faces a series of frightening but exhilirating changes in her life as she defies her father and secretly meets with an old woman who teaches her to read, her older sister gets married, and American troops offer her surgery to fix her disfiguring cleft lip.

Refugees by Catherine Stine (Delacorte, 2005)
Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Dawn, a sixteen-year-old runaway from San Francisco, connects by phone and email with Johar, a gentle, fifteen-year-old Afghani who assists Dawn’s foster mother, a doctor, at a Red Cross refugee camp in Peshawar.







Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins (Charlesbridge, 2007)
In her Bangladesh village, ten-year-old Naimi excels at painting designs called alpanas, but to help her impoverished family financially she would have to be a boy–or disguise herself as one.


The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan (Scholastic, 2019)
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali is looking forward to going to Caltech and getting away from her conservative Muslim parents’ expectation that she will marry, especially since she is in love with her girlfriend Ariana–but when her parents catch her kissing Ariana, they whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh and a world of tradition and arranged marriages, and she must find the courage to fight for the right to choose her own path.



5 to 1 by Holly Bodger (Knopf, 2015)
In a dystopian future where gender selection has led to girls outnumbering boys 5 to 1 marriage is arranged based on a series of tests. It’s Sudasa’s turn to pick a husband through this ‘fair’ method, but she’s not sure she wants to be a part of it.

A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury (Atheneum, 2013)
As the partition of India nears in 1947 bringing violence even to Jalandhar, Tariq, a Muslim, finds himself caught between his forbidden interest in Anupreet, a Sikh girl, and Margaret, a British girl whose affection for him might help with his dream of studying at Oxford.

Outside In by Jennifer Bradbury (Atheneum, 2017)
In the jungle outside the growing city of Chandigarh, twelve-year-old street child Ram discovers a hidden rock garden, befriends its creator–a factory worked named Nek–and tries to save Nek’s garden when it is threatened with destruction.

Jasmine Skies by Sita Brahmachari (Albert Whitman, 2014)
Fourteen-year-old Mira Levenson travels from London to Kolkata to meet her aunt and her cousin and to find out why the families haven’t spoken in years.

Chloe in India by Kate Darnton (Delacorte, 2016)
Though they’re divided by class, language, appearance–you name it–Chloe and Lakshmi have a lot in common. Both girls are new to Class Five at Premium Academy in New Delhi, India, and neither seems to fit in. But they soon discover how extraordinary an ordinary friendship can be and how celebrating our individuality can change the world.

The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming by Chitra Banerjee Diakaruni (Roaring Brook, 2005)
As twelve-year-old Anand continues his studies to become a full-fledged member of The Brotherhood of the Conch, he journeys back to Moghul times, where he encounters powerful sorcerors, spoiled princes, noble warriors, and evil jinns.

Shadowland by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Roaring Brook, 2009)
A search to find the magical conch shell and restore it to its proper home deep in the Himalayas sends Anand and Nisha to the bleak futuristic city of Coal, where the air and water are polluted and the upper classes live in luxury under hermetically sealed domes.

No Ordinary Day by Deborah Ellis (Groundwood, 2011)
Valli has always been afraid of the lepers living on the other side of the train tracks in the coal town of Jharia, India, so when a chance encounter with a doctor reveals she also has leprosy, Valli rejects help and begins an uncertain life on the streets.

Anila’s Journey by Mary Finn (Candlewick, 2008)
In late eighteenth-century Calcutta, half-Indian half-Irish Anila Tandy finds herself alone with nothing but her artistic talent to rely on, searching for her father who is presumed dead.

The Sapphire Cutlass by Sharon Gosling (Switch Press, 2016)
Rémy, former jewel thief and circus performer, Thaddeus, and the others aboard the ruby airship have journeyed deep into the dangerous Indian jungle to find Desai, who is seeking something, or someone, called the Sapphire Cutlass; but Rémy is also looking for something more important to her–a twin brother that she did not know existed.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani (Dial, 2018)
Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.

Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar (Lee & Low, 2017)
When her mother is jailed for being one of Gandhi’s freedom fighters, ten-year-old Anjali overcomes her own prejudices and continues her mother’s social reform work, befriending Untouchable children and working to integrate her school.

Chained by Lynne Kelly (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2012)
To work off a family debt, ten-year-old Hastin leaves his desert village in India to work as a circus elephant keeper but many challenges await him, including trying to keep Nandita, a sweet elephant, safe from the cruel circus owner.

Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami (Groundwood, 2016)
When the mayor tries to shut down Book Uncle’s free library on the street corner, Yasmin and her friends decide to take action, even though they are not old enough to vote in the upcoming local election.

The Sultan’s Tigers by Josh Lacey (HMH, 2013)
Tom, who comes from a long line of criminals, travels with his roguish uncle to India to find a family treasure–an antique jewel-encrusted tiger stolen from the sultan’s throne hundreds of years ago.

Fifteen Lanes by S. J. Laidlaw (Tundra, 2016)
A tale set in Mumbai’s red light district recounts the friendship between a sex-worker’s 11-year-old daughter who wants to acquire an education to escape her mother’s fate and a Canadian bank CEO’s privileged daughter who is being targeted by cyberbullies.

A Beautiful Lie by Irfan Master (Albert Whitman, 2012)
In the days leading up to the partition of India in 1947, thirteen-year-old Bilal devises an elaborate scheme to keep his dying father from hearing the news about the country’s division.

Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis (Amulet, 2008)
Sold to be the eighth wife of a rich and cruel merchant, Safia, also called Raka, tries to escape her fate by telling stories of Farhad the thief, his companion Nitish the white tiger, and their travels across India to retrieve a famous jewel that will save a kidnapped princess from becoming the bride of a demon king.

Mission Mumbai: A Novel of Sacred Cows, Snakes, and Stolen Toilets by Mahtab Narsimhan (Scholastic, 2016)
Dylan, an aspiring photographer, is spending a month in Mumbai with his friend Rohit Lal and his family, but knowing nothing of Indian culture, he cannot seem to do anything right (do not hit cows!)–and the situation is made worse by the tensions within the Lal family over whether Rohit should be raised in India, which Mr. Lal’s wealthy sister is pushing for.

Karma: A Novel in Verse by Cathy Ostlere (Razorbill, 2011)
In 1984, following her mother’s suicide, 15-year-old Maya and her Sikh father travel to New Delhi from Canada to place her mother’s ashes in their final resting place. On the night of their arrival, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated, Maya and her father are separated when the city erupts in chaos, and Maya must rely on Sandeep, a boy she has just met, for survival.

Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins (Delacorte, 2004)
Secretly in love with her best friend and business partner Steve, fifteen-year-old Jazz must spend the summer away from him when her family goes to India during that country’s rainy season to help set up a clinic.

Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins (Delacorte, 2009)
In 1974 when her father leaves New Delhi, India, to seek a job in New York, Ashi, a tomboy at the advanced age of sixteen, feels thwarted in the home of her extended family in Calcutta where she, her mother, and sister must stay, and when her father dies before he can send for them, they must remain with their relatives and observe the old-fashioned traditions that Ashi hates.

96 Words for Love by Rachel Roy (Little, Brown, 2019)
While exploring her grandmother’s past at an ashram in India with her cousin Anandi, seventeen-year-old Raya finds herself and, perhaps, true love in this modern retelling of the legend of Dushyanta and Shakuntala. [Americans in India]

The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Little, Brown, 2011)
When a mysterious threat reenters the lives of twins Ben and Sheere, separated as babies and reunited as teenagers in 1930s Calcutta, the siblings must confront an unspeakable terror, with the help of their secret society of fellow orphans.

Saraswati’s Way by Monika Schröder (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010)
Leaving his village in rural India to find a better education, mathematically gifted, twelve-year-old Akash ends up at the New Delhi train station, where he relies on Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, to guide him as he negotiates life on the street, resists the temptations of easy money, and learns whom he can trust.

Ticket to India by N. H. Senzai (Simon & Schuster, 2015)
When twelve-year-old Maya and big sister Zara set off on their own from Delhi to their grandmother’s home of Aminpur, a small town in Northern India, they become separated and Maya decides to continue their quest to find a chest of family treasures that their grandmother’s family left behind when they fled from India to Pakistan during the Great Partition.

Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth (Balzer + Bray, 2010)
Eleven-year-old Gopal and his family leave their rural Indian village for life with his uncle in Mumbai, but when they arrive his father goes missing and Gopal ends up locked in a sweatshop from which there is no escape.

Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth (Hyperion, 2007)
In India in the 1940s, twelve-year-old Leela’s happy, spoiled childhood ends when her husband since age nine, whom she barely knows, dies, leaving her a widow whose only hope of happiness could come from Mahatma Ghandi’s social and political reforms.

Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet by Kashmira Sheth (Hyperion, 2006)
Growing up with her family in Mumbai, India, sixteen-year-old Jeeta disagrees with much of her mother’s traditional advice about how to live her life and tries to be more modern and independent.

Chainbreaker by Tara Sim (Sky Pony, 2018)
In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time–and a destroyed one can stop it completely, eighteen-year-old mechanic Danny investigates fallen clock towers in British-occupied India and unravels more secrets about his and Colton’s past.

Younguncle Comes to Town by Vandana Singh (Viking 2006)
In a small town in northern India, three siblings await their father’s youngest brother, Younguncle, who is said to be somewhat eccentric.

Shiva’s Fire by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2000)
In India, a talented dancer sacrifices friends and family for her art.

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson (Henry Holt, 2010)
A retelling of the Perrault fairy tale set in pre-colonial India, in which two stepsisters receive gifts from a goddess and each walks her own path to find her gift’s purpose, discovering romance along the way.

Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman (Putnam’s, 2008)
In India, in 1941, when her father becomes brain-damaged in a non-violent protest march, fifteen-year-old Vidya and her family are forced to move in with her father’s extended family and become accustomed to a totally different way of life.

Island’s End by Padma Venkatraman (Putnam’s, 2011)
A young girl trains to be the new spiritual leader of her remote Andaman Island tribe, while facing increasing threats from the modern world.

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman (Nancy Paulsen, 2014)
In India, a girl who excels at Bharatanatyam dance refuses to give up after losing a leg in an accident.

All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens by Gloria Whelan (Simon & Schuster, 2013)
As Rosalind continues to straddle the proper English world of her family and the culture of 1920s India where they live, her support of Gandhi and his followers in opposing British rule grows and she considers trying to carry the rebels’ message to Edward, Prince of Wales, during his visit.

Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan (HarperCollins, 2000)
When thirteen-year-old Koly enters into an ill-fated arranged marriage, she must either suffer a destiny dictated by India’s tradition or find the courage to oppose it.

Small Acts of Amazing Courage by Gloria Whelan (Simon & Schuster, 2011)
In 1919, independent-minded fifteen-year-old Rosalind lives in India with her English parents, and when they fear she has fallen in with some rebellious types who believe in Indian self-government, she is sent “home” to London, where she has never been before and where her older brother died, to stay with her two aunts.

Child of Spring by F. Zia (Peachtree, 2016)
In India, young Basanta struggles to accept her role as servant to a temperamental rich girl while dreaming of having a beautiful ring of her own.


Abby Spencer Goest to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj (Albert Whitman, 2014)
What thirteen year old Abby wants most is to meet her father. She just never imagined he would be a huge film star, in Bollywood! Now she’s traveling to Mumbai to get to know her famous father. Abby is overwhelmed by the culture clash, the pressures of being the daughter of India’s most famous celebrity, and the burden of keeping her identity a secret. But as she learns to navigate her new surroundings, she just might discover where she really belongs.

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami (Atheneum, 2011)
Eleven-year-old Dini loves movies, and so when she learns that her family is moving to India for two years, her devastation over leaving her best friend in Maryland is tempered by the possibility of meeting her favorite actress, Dolly Singh.

Naming Maya by Uma Krishnaswami (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004)
When Maya accompanies her mother to India to sell her grandfather’s house, she uncovers family history relating to her parents divorce and learns more about herself and her relationship with her mother.

Blue Jasmine by Kashmira Sheth (Hyperion, 2004)
When twelve-year-old Seema moves to Iowa City with her parents and younger sister, she leaves friends and family behind in her native India but gradually begins to feel at home in her new country.


Soldier Bear by Bibi Dumon Tak (Eerdmans, 2011)
An orphaned Syrian brown bear cub is adopted by Polish soldiers during World War II and serves for five years as their mischievous mascot in Iran and Italy. Based on a true story.

Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis (Pajama Press, 2014)
In 1988 Tehran, teenaged girls Farrin and Sadira are sentenced to death for homosexuality. Farrin prays that her wealthy family will be able to save them before it is too late. Based on a true story.

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan (Algonquin, 2013)
In Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death, seventeen-year-olds Sahar and Nasrin love each other in secret until Nasrin’s parents announce their daughter’s arranged marriage and Sahar proposes a drastic solution.

Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher (Atheneum, 2006)
Fourteen-year-old Mitra, of royal Persian lineage, and her five-year-old brother Babak, whose dreams foretell the future, flee for their lives in the company of the magus Melchoir and two other Zoroastrian priests, traveling through Persia as they follow star signs leading to a newly-born king in Bethlehem. Includes historial notes.

Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher (Atheneum, 1998)
When Marjan, a thirteen-year-old crippled girl, joins the Sultan’s harem in ancient Persia, she gathers for Shahrazad the stories which will save the queen’s life.

Remembrance of the Sun by Kate Gilmore (Houghton Mifflin, 1986)
Jill, an American high school student living in Tehran, finds herself falling in love with an Iranian rebel just at the time when the shah’s repressive treatment of his people is making violent revolution inevitable. [Americans in Iran]

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (Dial, 2018)
Clinically-depressed Darius Kellner, a high school sophomore, travels to Iran to meet his grandparents, but it is their next-door neighbor, Sohrab, who changes his life. [Americans in Iran]

Home is Beyond the Mountains by Celia Barker Lottridge (Groundwood, 2010)
Samira and her brother flee when the Turkish army invades northwestern Persia in 1918, but the director of the orphanage where they end up decides to lead the refugee children on the three-hundred-mile journey back to their homes.

Dawn and Dusk by Alice Mead (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2007)
As thirteen-year-old Azad tries desperately to cling to the life he has known, the political situation in Iran during the war with Iraq finally forces his family to flee their home and seek safety elsewhere.

Lost Boys by Darcey Rosenblatt (Henry Holt, 2017)
In 1982 Iran, twelve-year-old Reza is more interested in music than war, but enlists in obedience to his devout mother and soon finds himself in a prison camp in Iraq. [Iranians in Iraq]

Anahita’s Woven Riddle by Meghan Nuttall Sayres (Amulet, 2006)
In Iran, more than 100 years ago, a young girl with three suitors gets permission from her father and a holy man to weave into her wedding rug a riddle to be solved by her future husband, which will ensure that he has wit to match hers.

Night Letter by Meghan Nuttall Sayres (Nortia Press, 2013)
When nomadic weaver Anahita is kidnapped on the eve of her wedding, her fiancâe and her tribe travel from Iran to Bukhara to rescue her.


It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas (Clarion, 2016)
Eleven-year-old Zomorod, originally from Iran, tells her story of growing up Iranian in Southern California during the Iranian Revolution and hostage crisis of the late 1970s.



The Golden Bull by Marjorie Cowley (Charlesbridge, 2008)
During a severe drought in Mesopotamia in 2600 B.C., when their parents can no longer support them, Jomar and his sister Zefa are sent to the city of Ur, where Jomar is apprenticed to a goldsmith and Zefa must try to find a way to keep from becoming a slave. Includes author’s note on the history of the region.

No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis (Groundwood, 2010)
Fifteen-year-old Abdul, having lost everyone he loves, journeys from Baghdad to a migrant community in Calais where he sneaks aboard a boat bound for England, not knowing it carries a cargo of heroin, and when the vessel is involved in a skirmish and the pilot killed, it is up to Abdul and three other young stowaways to complete the journey.

Kiss the Dust by Elizabeth Laird (Dutton, 1992)
Her father’s involvement with the Kurdish resistance movement in Iraq forces thirteen-year-old Tara to flee with her family over the border into Iran, where they face an unknown future.

Banished by Kimberley Griffiths Little (Harper, 2016)
After traveling through the desert, Jayden is finally reunited with Kadesh, but they must flee to Kadesh’s homeland of Sariba when they learn that Horeb is still determined to hold Jayden to their betrothal.

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little (Harper, 2014)
Devastated by her betrothal to a violent boy she does not love, Jayden is forced to accept her fate as her ancient Mesopotamian tribe moves to the Summer Lands, where she falls for a mysterious youth from the Southern Lands.

Returned by Kimberley Griffiths Little (Harper, 2017)
Supporting Kadesh’s ascension to the throne after tragedy strikes on what was to have been their wedding day, Jayden finds their circumstances further complicated by the schemes of dark priestess Aliyah and the return of her former betrothed, Horeb.

The Blind Wish by Amber Lough (Random House, 2015)
Zayele and Najwa’s adventure continues as the war between jinnis and humans escalates.

The Fire Wish by Amber Lough (Random House, 2014)
When a princess captures a jinn and makes a wish, she is transported to the fiery world of the jinn, while the jinn must take her place in the royal court of Baghdad.

Seasons of the Sandstorms by Mary Pope Osborne (Random House, 2005)
Guided by a magic rhyme, Jack and Annie travel to ancient Baghdad on a mission to help the Caliph disseminate wisdom to the world.

Lost Boys by Darcey Rosenblatt (Henry Holt, 2017)
In 1982 Iran, twelve-year-old Reza is more interested in music than war, but enlists in obedience to his devout mother and soon finds himself in a prison camp in Iraq. [Iranians in Iraq]

Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Rozines Roy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018)
For forty-two days in 1991, eleven-year-old Ali Fadhil and his family struggle to survive as Basra, Iraq, is bombed by the United States and its allies.

Dear Blue Sky by Mary Sullivan (Nancy Paulsen, 2012)
Shortly after Cass’s big brother is deployed to fight in Iraq, Cass becomes pen pals with an Iraqi girl who opens up her eyes to the effects of war.


Under the Domim Tree by Gila Almagor (Simon & Schuster, 1995)
Chronicles the joys and troubles experienced by a group of teenagers, mostly Holocaust survivors, living at an Israeli youth settlement in 1953.

Broken Bridge by Lynne Reid Banks (Morrow, 1994)
The murder of fourteen-year-old Glen Shelby, soon after his arrival in Israel to visit his father’s family, has a dramatic effect on the lives of his relatives, the other members of their kibbutz, and the Arabs responsible for his death.

One More River by Lynne Reid Banks (Morrow, 1992)
Fourteen-year-old Lesley is upset when her parents abandon their comfortable life in Canada for a kibbutz in Israel prior to the 1967 war.

The Boy From Over There by Tamar Bergman (Houghton Mifflin, 1988)
Avramik, a young Holocaust survivor, has difficulties adjusting to life on a kibbutz in the days before the first Arab-Israeli War.

Samir and Yonatan by Danielle Carmi (Scholastic, 2000)
Samir, a Palestinian boy, is sent for surgery to an Israeli hospital where he has two otherworldly experiences, making friends with an Israeli boy, Yonatan, and traveling with him to Mars where Samir finds peace over his younger brother’s death in the war.

Duel: A Mystery by David Grossman (Bloomsbury, 2004)
In Jerusalem, when elderly Mr. Rosenthal receives a threatening letter accusing him of stealing a painting and challenging him to a duel, twelve-year-old David needs to find who really stole it before someone gets hurt.

Real Time by Pnina Kass (Clarion, 2004)
Sixteen-year-old Tomas Wanninger persuades his mother to let him leave Germany to volunteer at a kibbutz in Israel, where he experiences a violent political attack and finds answers about his own past. [Germans in Israel]

Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin (Katherine Tegen, 2017)
Ronit, an Israeli girl, and Jamil, a Palestinian boy, fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered.

Running on Eggs by Anna Levine (Front Street, 1999)
When Karen and Yasmine become friends as well as members of a mixed Arab and Jewish track team in Israel, relatives and friends of both girls disapprove of the relationship.

The Singing Mountain by Sonia Levitin (Simon & Schuster, 1998)
While traveling in Israel for the summer, seventeen-year-old Mitch decides to stay and pursue a life of Jewish orthodoxy, forcing him to make some important decisions about the family and life he is leaving in southern California. [Americans in Israel]

The Garden by Carol Matas (Simon & Schuster, 1997)
After leading a group of Jewish refugees to Israel after World War II, sixteen-year-old Ruth joins the Haganah, the Jewish Army, and helps her people fight to keep the land granted to them by the United Nations.

Masada: The Last Fortress by Gloria D. Miklowitz (Eerdmans, 1998)
As the Roman army marches inexorably across the Judean desert towards the fortress of Masada, Simon and his family and friends prepare, along with the rest of the Jewish Zealots, to fight and never surrender.

Lydia, Queen of Palestine by Uri Orlev (Houghton Mifflin, 1993)
Ten-year-old Lydia describes her childhood escapades in pre-World War II Romania, her struggles to understand her parents’ divorce amid the chaos of the war, and her life on a kibbutz in Palestine. Based on the life of the Israeli poet Arianna Haran.

The Song of the Whales by Uri Orlev (Houghton Mifflin, 2010)
At age eight, Mikha’el knows he is different from other boys, but over the course of three years as he helps his parents care for his elderly grandfather in Jerusalem, Grandpa teaches Mikha’el to use the gift they share of making other people’s dreams sweeter.

The Weight of the Sky by Lisa Ann Sandell (Viking, 2006)
A sixteen-year-old girl travels to Israel to spend the summer on a kibbutz and discovers who she is and what she wants out of life. [Americans in Israel]

Pickled Watermelon by Esty Schachter (Kar-Ben, 2018)
In the summer of 1986, Molly visits her grandparents in mysterious Israel and worries about the language barrier. [Americans in Israel]

Becoming Gershona by Nava Semel (Viking, 1990)
Living in Tel-Aviv in 1958, twelve-year-old Gershona experiences first love, learns a family secret, and crosses the line between childhood and adulthood.

Flying Lessons by Nava Semel (Simon & Schuster, 1995)
Living in a village in Israel where her father grows oranges, a motherless girl befriends a sensitive shoemaker from Djerba from whom she hopes to learn how to fly.

The Six-Day Hero by Tammar Stein (Kar-Ben, 2017)
Twelve-year-old Motti discovers that there are many types of heroes as his tiny young nation of Israel fights for survival in the Six-Day War of 1967.

The Dog of Knots by Kathy Walden Kaplan (Eerdmans, 2004)
In Haifa, Israel at the onset of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, nine-year-old Mayim struggles with questions about her future, particularly mandatory service in the Israeli army, but finds comfort in friends, relatives, and a very old, stray dog with no name.

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea by Valérie Zenatti (Bloomsbury, 2008)
Seventeen-year-old Tal Levine of Jerusalem, despondent over the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, puts her hopes for peace in a bottle and asks her brother, a military nurse in the Gaza Strip, to toss it into the sea, leading ultimately to friendship and understanding between her and an “enemy.”


Freefall by Anna Levine (Greenwillow, 2008)
As war between Israel and Lebanon breaks out in 2006 and her compulsory service in the Israeli army draws near, teenaged Aggie considers joining an elite female combat unit. [Israelis in Lebanon]

The Servant by Fatima Sharafeddine (Groundwood, 2013)
Faten, a young servant girl, has her life changed when she meets Marwen, a young wealthy man, who drives her to challenge Lebanese societal standards.


What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein (Disney Hyperion, 2016)
In the threatened jungle of the Borderlands between Nepal and India during the 1970s, an orphaned boy discovers his fate as a great elephant driver.

The Cobra King of Kathmandu by Philip Kerr (Orchard, 2007)
Twelve-year-old djinn twins Philippa and John and their friend Dybbuk have further adventures as they travel the world in search of a priceless talisman. [Americans in Nepal]

Sold by Patricia McCormick (Hyperion, 2006)
Thirteen-year-old Lakshmi leaves her poor mountain home in Nepal thinking that she is to work in the city as a maid only to find that she has been sold into the sex slave trade in India and that there is no hope of escape.

Dragons of Darkness by Antonia Michaelis (Amulet, 2010)
Two boys from very different backgrounds are thrown together by magic, mayhem, and a common foe as they battle deadly dragons in the wilderness of Nepal.

Peak by Roland Smith (Harcourt, 2007)
A fourteen-year-old boy attempts to be the youngest person to reach the top of Mount Everest. [Americans in Nepal]

Close Encounters of the Third-World Kind by Jennifer J. Stewart (Holiday House, 2004)
Twelve-year-old Annie is reluctant to travel to a village in Nepal for her father’s two-month medical mission, but once there she assists at the clinic, makes friends with a local girl, and has adventures that change her life. [Americans in Nepal]


Broken Moon by Kim Antieau (McElderry, 2007)
When her little brother is kidnapped and taken from Pakistan to race camels in the desert, eighteen-year-old Nadira overcomes her own past abuse and, dressed as a boy and armed with knowledge of the powerful storytelling of the legendary Scheherazade, is determined to find and rescue him.

Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo (Atheneum, 2003)
A fictionalized account of the Pakistani child who escaped from bondage in a carpet factory and went on to help liberate other children like him before being gunned down at the age of thirteen.

Mud City by Deborah Ellis (Douglas & McIntyre, 2003)
Fourteen-year-old Shauzia, an Afghan refugee living in a camp in Pakistan, determines to find a way to fulfill her dreams of seeing the ocean and beginning a new life in France. [Afghans in Pakistan]

An Infidel in Paradise by S. J. Laidlaw (Tundra, 2013)
Set in Pakistan, this is the story of a teen girl–a diplomat’s daughter–living with her mother and siblings in a diplomatic compound. As if getting used to another new country and set of customs and friends isn’t enough, Emma must cope with an increasingly tense political situation that becomes dangerous with alarming speed. Her life and those of her sister and brother depend on her resourcefulness and the unexpected help of an enigmatic Muslim classmate. [Americans in Pakistan]

A Beautiful Lie by Irfan Master (Albert Whitman, 2012)
In the days leading up to the partition of India in 1947, thirteen-year-old Bilal devises an elaborate scheme to keep his dying father from hearing the news about the country’s division.

Beneath My Mother’s Feet by Amjed Qamar (Atheneum, 2008)
When her father is injured, fourteen-year-old Nazia is pulled away from school, her friends, and her preparations for an arranged marriage, to help her mother clean houses in a wealthy part of Karachi, Pakistan, where she finally rebels against the destiny that is planned for her.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (Nancy Paulsen, 2018)
In Pakistan, Amal holds onto her dream of being a teacher even after becoming an indentured servant to pay off her family’s debt to the wealthy and corrupt Khan family.

The Edge by Roland Smith (HMH, 2015)
Fifteen-year-old Peak Marcello is invited to participate in an “International Peace Ascent” in the Hindu Kush, with a team made up of under-eighteen-year-old climbers from around the world–but from the first something seems wrong, so when the group is attacked, and most of the climbers are either killed or kidnapped, Peak finds himself caught up in a struggle to survive, shadowed by the Shen, a mysterious snow leopard. [Americans in Pakistan]

Haveli by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Knopf, 1993)
Having relented to the ways of her people in Pakistan and married the rich older man to whom she was pledged against her will, Shabanu is now the victim of his family’s blood feud and the malice of his other wives.

The House of Djinn by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2008)
An unexpected death brings Shabanu’s daughter, Mumtaz, and nephew, Jameel, both aged fifteen, to the forefront of an attempt to modernize Pakistan, but the teens must both sacrifice their own dreams if they are to meet family and tribal expectations.

Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Knopf, 1989)
When eleven-year old Shabanu, the daughter of a nomad in the Cholistan Desert of present-day Pakistan, is pledged in marriage to an older man whose money will bring prestige to the family, she must either accept the decision, as is the custom, or risk the consequences of defying her father’s wishes.

Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2005)
During the 2001 Afghan War, the lives of Najmal, a young refugee from Kunduz, Afghanistan, and Nusrat, an American-Muslim teacher who is awaiting her huband’s return from Mazar-i-Sharif, intersect at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan.


Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed (Nancy Paulsen, 2015)
Naila’s vacation to visit relatives in Pakistan turns into a nightmare when she discovers her parents want to force her to marry a man she’s never met.


Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai (Tundra, 2005)
Although life for fourteen-year-old Amrith in 1980 Sri Lanka seems rather uneventful and orderly, things change in a hurry when his male cousin arrives from Canada and Amrith finds himself completely enamored with his new visitor.


The Forgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian (Laurel-Leaf, 2002)
Based on a true story, this tale tells of the struggles a young Armenian man living in Turkey had to go through during the Armenian Holocaust in the early 1900s. [Armenians in Turkey]

Leyla: The Black Tulip by Alev Lytle Crotier (Pleasant Company, 2003)
While trying to help her financially destitute family, twelve-year-old Leyla ends up on a slave ship bound for Istanbul, and then in the beautiful Topkapi Palace, where she discovers that life in the sheltered world of the palace harem follows its own rigid rules and rhythms and offers her unexpected opportunities during Turkey’s brief Tulip Period of the 1720’s.

Against the Storm by Gaye Hiçyılmaz (Little, Brown, 1992)
Twelve-year-old Mehmet’s move from his Turkish village with flowers everywhere to a shanty-town existence in the city of Ankara brings him almost unbearable misery, but his desire to create a life for himself helps him to survive.

The Delphic Choice by Norma Johnston (Four Winds, 1989)
Visiting relatives in Turkey, Meredith becomes involved in efforts to free her uncle, a hostage negotiator for a Quaker peace mission, who is taken hostage by an Islamic terrorist group. [Americans in Turkey]

Without Refuge by Jane Mitchell (Carolrhoda, 2018)
Forced to leave his home in war-torn Syria, thirteen-year-old Ghalib makes an arduous journey with his family to a refugee camp in Turkey. Includes glossary. [Syrians in Turkey]

Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier (Knopf, 2008)
Scholarly eighteen-year-old Paula and her merchant father journey from Transylvania to Istanbul to buy an ancient pagan artifact rumored to be charmed, but others, including a handsome Portuguese pirate and an envoy from the magical Wildwood, want to acquire the item, as well.

Blue Voyage by Diana Renn (Viking, 2015)
Adrenaline junkie Zan finds herself in the crosshairs of an antiquities smuggling ring while on vacation with her mother. She must help them find the ancient treasure they seek in order to keep her family safe! [Americans in Turkey]

Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath (Delacorte, 2014)
Inspired by a true story, this relates the tale of siblings Sosi, Shahen, and Mariam who survive the Armenian genocide of 1915 by escaping from Turkey alone over the mountains. [Armenians in Turkey]

Parade of Shadows by Gloria Whelan (HarperCollins, 2007)
In 1907, sixteen-year-old Julia Hamilton, happy to accompany her diplomat father on a tour of the Ottoman-controlled cities of Istambul, Damascus, Palmyra, and Aleppo, soon finds the journey increasingly hazardous as she begins to uncover her father’s true mission and the secret motivations of the other travelers in their group.

Bright we Burn by Kiersten White (2018)
To build the country she wants, Lada, the brutal ruler of Wallachia, must destroy everything that came before, including her relationships with brother Radu and former love Mehmed, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. [Istanbul, Turkey]

Now I Rise by Kiersten White (Delacorte, 2017)
Lada Dracul seeks her younger brother Radu’s help in securing the Wallachian throne, but their father, Sultan Mehmed, has sent him to sabotage Constantinople.


Categories: Countries

Middle East & South Asian Countries – Picture Books

November 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Picture books which take place in specific Middle Eastern and South Asian countries:
Afghanistan ; Armenia ; Azerbaijan ; Bahrain ; Bangladesh ; Bhutan ; British Indian Ocean Territory ; Gaza Strip ; Georgia ; India ; Iran ; Iraq ; Israel ; Jordan ; Kuwait ; Lebanon ; Maldives ; Nepal ; Oman ; Pakistan ; Qatar ; Saudi Arabia ; Sri Lanka ; Syria ; Turkey ; United Arab Emirates ; West Bank ; Yemen

MIDDLE EAST (download .doc) or MIDDLE EAST (download .pdf)


The Roses in My Carpets
by Rukhsana Khan (Holiday House 1998) 12*
When a young boy and his mother and sister come to a refugee camp to escape the war in Afghanistan, he finds some comfort in the beauty of the carpets he is learning to weave.

Caravan by Lawrence McKay (Lee & Low 1995) 15*
A ten-year-old boy accompanies his father for the first time on a caravan trip through the mountains of Afghanistan to the city below where they will trade their goods at market.

Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter (Beach Lane 2009) 60*
Nasreen stops speaking and tries to isolate herself after the Taliban take her parents, but with the help of a good friend and a secret school, Nasreen slowly begins to break out of her shell.

Picture Book Nonfiction

Waiting for the Owl’s Call* by Gloria Whelan (Sleeping Bear 2009)
While eight-year-old Zulviya labors over a loom, weaving a rug just as generations of the women in her Turkoman family have done, she is comforted by imagining a new pattern inspired by the landscape of Afghanistan.


A Drop of Honey: An Armenian Tale
by Djemma Bider (Simon & Schuster 1989) 19
After being bad-tempered with her brothers, Anayida falls asleep and dreams of the terrible things that can happen because of the spilling of a single drop of honey.

The Golden Bracelet by David Kherdian (Holiday House 1998) 26*
In order to win the hand of his love, indolent Prince Haig learns to weave beautiful golden cloth, a craft that later saves his life.

A Weave of Words: An Armenian Tale by Robert D. San Souci (Orchard 1998) 74*
A reworking of Armenian folktales in which a lazy prince learns to read, write, and weave to win his love only to have these very talents later save him from a three-headed monster.

The Contest by Nonny Hogrogian (Greenwillow 1976) 73*
An Armenian folktale about two robbers courting the same woman.


Kamal’s Quest
by Cynthia Profilet (Sterling 1993) 1
Tells the story of a camel (Kamal), who searches for love and friendship in the desert country of Bahrain.


Sacred River by Ted Lewin (Clarion, 1994)
Introduces the river where millions of Hindu pilgrims go to purify their souls and find salvation.

Yasmin’s Hammer by Ann Malaspina (Lee & Low 2010) 13
In Dhaka, Bangladesh, as two girls work hard all day to help support their family by chipping bricks into small pieces, older sister Yasmin seeks a way to attend school and learn to read so that she can have a better life one day. Includes author’s note about conditions in Bangladesh, child labor, and how to help.

Twenty-Two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank by Paula Yoo (Lee & Low, 2014)
A biography of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, who from a young age was determined to make difference in the world and eventually revolutionized global antipoverty efforts by developing the innovative economic concept of micro-lending. Includes an afterword and author’s sources. Biography


Anni’s India Diary
by Alan Axworthy (Whispering Coyote 1992)
A ten-year-old’s diary entries chronicle the magical sights and sounds she and her family encounter as they explore India.

The Birdman by Veronika Martenova Charles (Tundra 2006)
When his family dies suddenly, Noor Nobi, a humble tailor in Calcutta, India, finds a way to mend his broken heart by purchasing, healing, and releasing illegally caged birds. Based on a true story.

The Road to Mumbai by Ruth Jeyabeeran (Houghton Mifflin 2004)
Shoba and her pet monkey, Fuzzy Patel, set out overnight by flying bed to attend Fuzzy’s cousin’s wonderful wedding in Mumbai, India.

Monsoon by Uma Krishnaswami (Farrar 2003)
A child describes waiting for the monsoon rains to arrive and the worry that they will not come.

The Poombah of Badoombah by Dee Lillegard (Putnam’s 1998)
When the powerful but mischievous Poombah of Badoombah finally takes things a bit too far, he is forced to flee the city and live out the rest of his days in the quiet of the countryside.

Baya, Baya, Lulla-by-a* by Megan McDonald (Atheneum 2003)
As a mother in rural India sings to her baby, a weaverbird builds a nest for its young.

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi* illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (Morrow 1997)
A courageous mongoose thwarts the evil plans of Nag and Nagaina, two big black cobras who live in the garden.

The Rumor* by Anushka Ravishankar, illustrated by Kanyika Kini (Tundra, 2012, c2009)
When ill-tempered Panduran tries to keep a secret from his gossiping neighbors in the village of Baddbaddpur, the rumor that results spins wildly out of control, until even Panduran is amused.

Tiger on a Tree* by Anushka Ravishankar, illustrated by Pulak Biswas (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004)
After trapping a tiger in a tree, a group of men must decide what to do with it.

The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk* by Kabir Sehgal, illustrated by Jess Golden (Beach Lane, 2015)
In this twist on the classic song “The Wheels on the Bus,” the wheels on the tuk tuk go round and round all over the city in India.

The Sanyasin’s First Day by Ned Shank (Cavendish 1999)
Describes the first day of work for several different people including a holy man, a farmer, a plumber, and a policeman, many of whom end up interacting with one another in the course of a day.

Monsoon Afternoon by Kashmira Sheth (Peachtree 2008)
A young boy and his grandfather find interesting things to do on one rainy day during monsoon season.

In Andal’s House* by Gloria Whelan, illustrated by Amanda Hall (Sleeping Bear, 2013)
Kumar, a young boy living in present-day India, faces bigotry when he goes to visit a classmate from a higher caste family.

Historical & Biographical Fiction

A Taste of Freedom: Gandhi and the Great Salt March* by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel (Walker Books, 2014)
An old man in India recalls how, when he was a young boy, he got his first taste of freedom as he and his brother joined the great Muhatma Gandhi on a march to the sea to make salt in defiance of British law.–

Selvakumar Knew Better* by Virginia L. Kroll (Shen’s Books 2006)
When a giant tsunami approaches his village, seven-year-old Dinakaran is saved by the family dog. Based on a true story; includes facts about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

The Nine Animals and the Well* by James Rumford (Houghton 2003)
A fable about a group of animals which strives to bring the perfect present to the Indian raja-king’s birthday party. Discusses how the numerals we use originated in India.


The Old Woman and the Red Pumpkin: A Bengali Folk Tale* by Betsy Bang, illustrated by Molly Bang (Macmillan, 1975)
A retelling of an Indic folktale in which a skinny old woman outwits the jackal, bear, and tiger who want to eat her.

The Story of Little Babaji* by Helen Bannerman (Farrar 1996)
A retelling of the well-known tale in which a little Indian boy finally outwits the succession of tigers that want to eat him.

In the Heart of the Village: The World of the Indian Banyan Tree* by Barbara Bash (Sierra Club, 1996)
Describes the importance of a banyan tree to an Indian village.

The Blue Jackal* by Marcia Brown (Scribner, 1977)
A timid jackal becomes king of the forest by virtue of his extraordinary color.

Pattan’s Pumpkin: A Traditional Flood Story from Southern India* by Soundar Chitra, illustrated by Frané Lessac (Candlewick, 2017)
Pattan has an amazing pumpkin. It grows bigger than the goats, bigger than the elephants… so BIG that it is as TALL as the mountains. Then one day, the storm clouds burst and the waters rise. Pattan, his family, and all the animals are in danger from the momentous flood. Can Pattan and his giant pumpkin save the day? Based on a traditional tale told by the Irula people of southern India.

The Hallowed Horse: A Folktale from India* by Demi (Dodd, Mead, 1987)
The young king of India searches for a Hallowed Horse to protect his kingdom from the evil Kaliya, the Multi-Headed Snake.

Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folk Tale* by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, illustrated by Susy Pilgrim Waters (Roaring Brook, 2013)
On her way to visit her daughter on the other side of the jungle, Grandma encounters a hungry fox, bear, and tiger, and although she convinces them to wait for her return trip, she still must find a way to outwit them all.

The Monkey and the Crocodile: A Jataka Tale from India* by Paul Galdone (Seabury Press, 1969)
A retelling of one of the Indian fables relating to the former births of Buddha in which as a monkey he manages to outwit the crocodile who decides to capture him.

The Tiger and the Brahmin* by Brian Gleeson, illustrated by Kurt Vargö (Rabbit Ears, 1992)
A Brahmin deceived by a hungry tiger is saved by a lowly jackal and encounters a lesson he has never found in his holy books. Includes an audio cassette with dialogue and music.

The Ringdoves: From the Fables of Bidpai* by Gloria Kamen (Atheneum, 1988)
In this Indian fable about loyalty and friendship, several animals band together to elude the hunter.

The Brave Little Parrot* by Rafe Martin, illustrated by Susan Gaber (Putnam’s, 1998)
Because the brave little parrot does the thing that comes from its heart as it takes precious drops of water to the burning forest, things change in ways no one could imagine.

The Valiant Chattee-Maker: A Folktale of India* by Christine Price (F. Warne, 1965)

The Blind Men and the Elephant* by John Godfrey Saxe, illustrated by Paul Galdone (Whittlesey House, 1963)
In this rhyming version of the tale, each of the blind wise men grab a different part of the elephant and come to different conclusions as to what the beast looks like.

Rama and the Demon King: An Ancient Tale from India* by Jessica Souhami (DK Ink, 1997)
An Indian folktale about how Prince Rama rescues his wife from the evil demon king.

The Elephant’s Friend: And Other Tales from Ancient India* by Marcia Williams (Candlewick, 2012)
Draws eight stories from well-known collections of Indian folktales–Hitopadesha tales, Jataka tales, and Panchantra tales–and presents them with cartoon-like illustrations.

Picture Book Nonfiction

Gandhi* by Demi (McElderry, 2001)
Presents the story of the great leader who succeeded in bringing about social and political change in India through nonviolent means.

Mother Teresa* by Demi (McElderry, 2005)
A biography of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, known as Mother Teresa, who spent most of her life serving “the poorest of the poor” in Calcutta, India.

Grandfather Gandhi* by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Evan Turk (Atheneum, 2012)
Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson tells the story of how his grandfather taught him to turn darkness into light in this uniquely personal and vibrantly illustrated tale that carries a message of peace.

Gandhi: A March to the Sea* by Alice B. McGinty, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez (Amazon, 2013)
Recreates Mohandas Gandhi’s 24-day March to the Sea, from March 12 to April 5, 1930, which became a pivotal moment in India’s quest to become an independent country no longer ruled by Great Britain.

East Indian Americans

Elephant Dance: Memories of India* by Theresa Heine, illustrated by Sheila Moxley (Barefoot Books, 2004)
Grandfather tells many stories about his native India in answer to Ravi and Anjali’s questions, such as the tale of a procession of elephants on the feast of Divaali when he was a boy. Includes facts about life in India, a list of cooking spices, and descriptions of Indian animals.


Ali and the Magic Stew
by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim, illustrated by Winslow Pels (Boyds Mills 2002)
Ali, a spoiled, selfish boy, son of a wealthy Persian merchant, treats everyone with disdain until his beloved father falls ill and he must seek help from a beggar to obtain the ingredients for a stew to relieve the suffering.

Historical & Biographical Fiction

The Earth Shook: A Persian Tale by Donna Jo Napoli (Hyperion 2009) 15
Little Parisa-Farsi, left alone after an earthquake demolishes her home of Bam, Iran, inspires the animals around her to put aside their differences and revel in the simple delights that unite them.


The Stone: A Persian Legend of the Magi* by Dianne Hofmeyr, illustrated by Jude Daly (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1998)
A retelling of the story told to Marco Polo about the Magi of Saveh, three wise men from a town in Persia, who followed a strange star and find a special child.

The Secret Message: Based on a Poem by Rumi* by Mina Javaherbin, illustrated by Bruce Whatley (Disney/Hyperion, 2010)
In this retelling of a Persian folktale attributed to Jalaledin Rūmī , a parrot tricks a wealthy merchant into setting him free.

Iranian Americans

Mystery Bottle* by Kristen Balouch (Hyperion, 2006)
What happens when a boy and his grandfather are separated from each other by borders, politics, and distance? The mystery bottle unites the two through an extraordinary gift. The bond of their love.


The Girl Who Lost Her Smile
by Karim Alrawi, illustrated by Stefan Czernecki (Winslow 2000)
A story about a young Persian girl who unexpectedly finds reason to smile, inspired by the writings of Jallal al -Din Rumi in a collection of Sufi poetry and short stories known as Mathnawi.

Historical & Biographical Fiction

Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad* by James Rumford (Roaring Brook, 2008)
As bombs and missiles fall on Baghdad in 2003, a young boy uses the art of calligraphy to distance himself from the horror of war.


Lugalbanda: The Boy Who Got Caught up in a War* by Kathy Henderson, illustrated by Jane Ray (Candlewick, 2006)
An ancient Sumerian tale about the youngest and weakest of eight brothers who, caught up in an ill-advised war, uses his wits and courage and eventually becomes king.

Picture Book Nonfiction

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq* by Jeanette Winter (Harcourt, 2005)
Alia Muhammad Baker is a librarian in Basra, Iraq. For fourteen years, the library where she works has been a meeting place for those who love books. Until now. Now war has come, and Alia fears that the library–along with the thirty thousand books within it–will be destroyed forever. In a war-stricken country where civilians–especially women–have little power, this true story about a librarian’s struggle to save her community’s priceless collection of books reminds us all how, throughout the world, the love of literature and the respect for knowledge know no boundaries.

The World is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid* by Jeanette Winter (Beach Lane, 2017)
A biography of architect Zaha Hadid, who grew up in Baghdad and went on to design buildings all over the world. She became one of the most irreverent, controversial, and celebrated architects in the world.


Behold the Trees*
by Sue Alexander, illustrated by Leonid Gore (Scholastic 2001)
A land once protected by all sorts of wonderful trees is reduced over time by war and environmental neglect to desert, until new inhabitants plant trees and slowly make Israel bloom again.

Chicken Man* by Michelle Edwards (Lothrop 1991)
Each time Chicken Man is moved into a new job on the kibbutz, someone else wants to take that job instead, and the chickens suffer as a consequence.

First Rain* by Charlotte Herman, illustrated by Kathy Mitter (Albert Whitman, 2010)
When Abby moves with her family to Israel, where it does not rain all summer, she misses her grandmother and remembers the fun they used to have splashing in puddles together.

Picture Book Nonfiction

Masada* by Neil Waldman (Morrow, 1998)
Discusses the history of Masada, from the building of Herod’s Temple through its use by Zealots as a refuge from the Romans to its rediscovery in the mid-20th century.


Historical & Biographical Fiction

Sami and the Time of the Troubles* by Florence Parry Heide & Judith Heide Gilliland, illustrated by Ted Lewin (Clarion, 1992)
A ten-year-old Lebanese boy goes to school, helps his mother with chores, plays with his friends, and lives with his family in a basement shelter when bombings occur and fighting begins on his street.


Little Dog Moon* by Maxine Trottier, illustrated by Laura Fernandez (Stoddart Kids, 2000)
Although she is little, Moon, a Tibetan terrier, guides two refugee children over the mountains from Tibet to Nepal.

I, Doko: The Tale of a Basket* by Ed Young (Philomel 2004)
A Nepalese basket tells the story of its use through three generations of a family.

Picture Book Nonfiction

Tiger of the Snows, Tenzing Norgay: The Boy Whose Dream was Everest* by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Ed Young (Atheneum, 2006)
Describes the first successful climb to the top of Mount Everest by the Sherpa Tenzing Norkey and Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953.


King for a Day* by Rukhsana Khan (Lee & Low, 2013)
Even though he is confined to a wheelchair, a Pakistani boy tries to capture the most kites during Basant, the annual spring kite festival, and become “king” for the day. Includes an afterword about the Basant festival.

Ruler of the Courtyard* by Rukhsana Khan (Viking 2003)
After confronting what she believes to be a snake in the bath house, Saba finds the courage to overcome her fear of the chickens in the courtyard.

Silly Chicken* by Rukhsana Khan (Viking 2005)
In Pakistan, Rani believes that her mother loves their pet chicken Bibi more than she cares for her, until the day that a fluffy chick appears and steals Rani’s own affections.

The Carpet Boy’s Gift* by Pegi Deitz Shea (Tilbury House, 2003)*
Yearning for freedom and schooling for himself and the other children who toil in a carpet factory in Pakistan to repay loans from the factory owner to their parents, Nadeem is inspired by a former carpet boy named Iqbal to lead the way.

Four Feet, Two Sandals* by Karen Lynn Williams & Khadra Mohammed, illustrated by Doug Chayka (Eerdmans, 2007)
Two young Afghani girls living in a refugee camp in Pakistan share a precious pair of sandals brought by relief workers. Includes author’s note about refugees.


The Gifts of Wali Dad: A Tale of India and Pakistan by Aaron Shepard (Atheneum, 1995)
An Indian/Pakistani folktale in which an impoverished grass-cutter finds that gifts can be a mixed blessing.

Picture Book Nonfiction

Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education* by Raphaële Frier, illustrated by Aurélia Fronty (Charlesbridge, 2017)
Malala Yousafzai stood up to the Taliban and fought for the right for all girls to receive an education. When she was just fifteen-years old, the Taliban attempted to kill Malala, but even this did not stop her activism. At age eighteen Malala became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to ensure the education of all children around the world.

Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea* by Greg Mortenson (Dial 2009)
Tells the true story of a man who became lost and delirious after an unsuccessful trek to the top of K2, was saved by the locals of a remote Himalayan village, and kept his vow to return one day to build them a new school as a gesture of sincere appreciation and gratitude for what they did for him in his time of need.

Malala, a brave girl from Pakistan/Iqbal, a brave boy from Pakistan* by Jeanette Winter (Beach Lane, 2014)
rofiles two Pakistani child heroes and human rights activists–Iqbal, who was executed for speaking out against child slavery, and Malala, who survived being shot after defending the rights of girls to attend school.

Pakistani Americans

Nadia’s Hands* by Karen English (Boyds Mills, 1999)
A Pakistani-American girl takes part in her aunt’s traditional Pakistani wedding.

Big Red Lollipop* by Rukhsana Khan (Viking, 2010)
Having to take her younger sister along the first time she is invited to a birthday party spoils Rubina’s fun, and later when that sister is asked to a party and baby sister wants to come, Rubina must decide whether to help.


When the Rain Comes
by Alma Fullerton (Pajama Press, 2017)
Malini, a young girl in a small Sri Lankan community, is anxious about the responsibility of helping with the monsoon-season rice planting for the first time. When a flash flood leaves her stranded alone with the ox cart full of rice seedlings, she summons unexpected courage to calm the ox and save her town’s rice crop.

Tea Leaves by Frederick Lipp (Mondo 2003) 1
Nine-year-old Shanti, who lives in the mountains of Sri Lanka, has her wish come true when her Uncle Nochi takes her to see the Indian Ocean.

The Umbrella Thief by Sybil Wettasinghe (Kane/Miller, 1987)
When each of the umbrellas he brings back to his village disappears, Kiri Mama devises a plan to track down the thief.


The Quail’s Egg: A Folk Tale from Sri Lanka by Joanna Troughton (Peter Bedrick, 1988)
Presents a cummulative folk tale about a mother quail’s efforts to recover her egg after it rolls into the crevice of a rock. Folklore


My Beautiful Birds* by Suzanne Del Rizzo (Pajama Press, 2017)
Sam spends his day in the refugee camp worrying about the pet pigeons he was forced to leave behind when fleeing his home, from the Syrian Civil War.

Tomorrow by Nadine Kaadan (Lantana, 2018)
Yazan no longer goes to the park to play, and he no longer sees his friend who lives next door. Everything around him is changing. His parents sit in front of the television with the news turned up LOUD and Yazan’s little red bike leans forgotten against the wall. Will he ever be able to go outside and play?

Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey* by Margriet Ruurs, illustrated by Nizar Ali Badr (Orca, 2016)
In this picture book, a young girl and her family are forced to flee their village to escape the civil war that has engulfed Syria and make their way toward freedom in Europe.

The Storyteller of Damascus by Rafik Schami, illustrated by Peter Knorr (Crocodile Books, 2018)

Syrian Americans

Spectacularly Beautiful: A Refugee’s Story by Lisa Lucas, illustrated by Laurie Stein (Pow!, 2018)
A young refugee living in America learns to see herself as beautiful, in spite of physical and emotional scars from her troubled homeland, thanks to a gifted teacher.


A Donkey Reads
by Muriel Mandell (Star Bright 2011)
In a small village in Anatolia, even the poorest villager is expected to pay tribute to a tyrranical Mongol ruler, but the wiseman, Nasreddin Hoca, finds a way to make an aged donkey seem most valuable.


The Hungry Coat: A Tale from Turkey by Demi (Margaret McElderry 2004)
After being forced to change to a fancy new coat to attend a party, Nasrettin Hoca tries to feed his dinner to the coat, reasoning that it was the coat that was the invited guest.

Nabeel’s New Pants: An Eid Tale by Fawzia Gilani-Williams (Cavendish 2010)
While buying gifts for his family to wear to the mosque on Eid a shoemaker is persuaded to get new pants for himself, but the only pair available is too long and no one seems to have time to shorten them.

Goha, the Wise Fool by Denys Johnson-Davies (Philomel 2005)
A collection of fourteen tales about the folk hero Nasreddin Hoca, also known as Goha, a man with a reputation for being able to answer difficult questions in a clever way.

The Deliverance of Dancing Bears by Elizabeth Stanley (Kane/Miller 2003)
A captive bear in Turkey, abused by her master and made to dance for money, longs in vain to return to the wild, until she encounters an old man whose dream is to set her and other captive animals free.

Hilili and Dilili: A Turkish Silly Tale* by Barbara K Walker, illustrated by Bill Barss (Follett, 1965)

Just Say Hic! : A Turkish Silly Tale* by Barbara K. Walker, illustrated by Don Bolognese (




Joha Makes a Wish: A Middle Eastern Tale* by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Omar Rayyan (Marshall Cavendish, 2010)
An original story, based on the Joha tales of the Arabic-speaking world, in which a hapless man finds a wishing stick that brings him nothing but bad luck. Includes an author’s note about the history of Joha tales.

Africa – Picture Books

November 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Picture books which take place in specific African countries (see note):
Algeria ; Angola ; Benin ; Botswana ; Burkina Faso ; Burundi ; Cameroon ; Cape Verde ; Central African Republic ; Chad ; Comoros ; Democratic Republic of the Congo ; Republic of the Congo ; Cote D’Ivoire ; Djibouti ; Egypt ; Equatorial Guinea ; Eritrea ; Ethiopia ; Gabon ; The Gambia ; Ghana ; Guinea ; Guinea-Bissau ; Kenya ; Lesotho ; Liberia ; Libya ; Madagascar ; Malawi ; Mali ; Mauritania ; Mauritius ; Mayotte ; Morocco ; Mozambique ; Namibia ; Niger ; Nigeria ; Rwanda ; Saint Helena ; Sao Tome and Principe ; Senegal ; Seychelles ; Sierra Leone ; Somalia ; South Africa ; Sudan ; Swaziland ; Tanzania ; Togo ; Tunisia ; Uganda ; West Africa ; Western Sahara ; Zambia ; Zimbabwe

AFRICA (download .doc) or  AFRICA (download .pdf)



The Sabbath Lion: a Jewish Folktale from Algeria* by Howard Schwartz (HarperCollins 1992)
Because of Yosef’s devotion to honoring the Sabbath, he is given special protection by a great lion during a dangerous journey through the desert.



It Takes a Village
by Jane Cowen-Fletcher (Scholastic 1993)
On market day in a small village in Benin, Yemi tries to watch her little brother Kokou and finds that the entire village is watching out for him too.

The Market Lady and the Mango Tree* by Pete Watson (Tambourine 1994)
A sly merchant gets rich when she devises a contraption for collecting mangos, but a dream teachs her a lesson about greed.


Only One Cowry: A Dahomean Tale by Phillis Gershator (Orchard 2000)
A clever young fellow persuades an equally clever chief’s daughter to marry the king of Dahomey, and both the young man and future queen prosper in the bargain.

Fire Came to the Earth People: A Dahomean Folktale by Susan L. Roth (St. Martin’s 1988)
The earth animals fail in every attempt to capture fire from the selfish moon god Mawu, until Chameleon and Tortoise combine their talents and help bring light and warmth to the newly-created earth.


Chubbo’s Pool
by Betsy Lewin (Clarion 1996)
A selfish hippopotamus, who will not share his pool with the other animals, learns a lesson about cooperation and sharing.

Bashi, Elephant Baby* by Theresa Radcliffe (Viking 1998)
This story was inspired by the wildlife film: Reflections on elephants, from the series: The savage paradise, a National Geographic Production produced by Wildlife Films, Botswana.

Picture Book Nonfiction

Elephant Quest* by Ted Lewin (HarperCollins, 2000)
Recounts an expedition through the Moremi Wildlife Reserve in Botswana, describing the vegetation and wildlife, and culminating in the sighting of an African elephant herd.

Ostrich and Lark by Marilyn Nelson, illlustsrated by San Artists of the Kuru Art Project in Botswana (Boyds Mills, 2012)
Ostrich and Lark spend their days together, Lark singing from his perch in the tree and Ostrich silent, until Ostrich finds his voice.




All Aboard for the Bobo Road by Stephen Davies and Christopher Corr (Andersen Presss, 2016)
In Burkina Faso, Fatima and Galo load the luggage while their dad Big Ali drives the bus. Help count bikes, sacks of rice, melons and even goats and chickens as the bus travels past Gurunsi houses, the hippo lake, waterfalls and jungle, all the way to Bobo.

The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle* by Jude Isabella, illustrated by Simone Shin (Kids Can Press, 2015)
When Leo outgrows his bicycle, it finds a new home with Alisetta, who uses it to access to her family’s sorghum field and the market.

The Water Princess* by Susan Verde (Putnam’s, 2016)
The story of one young girl’s quest to bring clean drinking water to her African village. [the author grew up in Burkina Faso and the story is based on her childhood experience]



The Fortune-Tellers
* by Lloyd Alexander (Penguin 1992)
A carpenter in the West African country of Cameroon goes to a fortune teller and finds the predictions about his future coming true in an unusual way.

Madoulina: A Girl Who Wanted to Go to School by Joel Eboueme Bognomo (Boyds Mills 1999)
When her mother needs her to work all day in the marketplace, a girl finds a way of continuing her education.

Osa’s Pride* by Ann Grifalconi (Little, Brown, 1990)
Osa’s grandmother tells her a tale about the sins of pride and helps Osa gain a better perspective on what things are important.

Oh, No, Toto!* by Katrin Hyman Tchana (Scholastic 1997)
Little Toto loves to eat, and when he toes with his grandmother to the marketplace, he eats everything in sight, leaving chaos in his wake. Includes a glossary of Cameroonian foods and a recipe for egussi soup.

Historical & Biographical Fiction

My Heart Will Not Sit Down by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Ann Tanksley (Knopf, 2012)
In 1931 Cameroon, young Kedi is upset to learn that children in her American teacher’s village of New York are going hungry because of the Great Depression, and she asks her mother, neighbors, and even the headman for money to help.


The Market Bowl by Jim Averbeck (Charlesbridge 2013)
In this tale from Cameroon, Yoyo has to make amends when she offends Brother Coin, the Great Spirit of the Market, by asking too high a price for her bitterleaf stew. Includes a recipe for a version of bitterleaf stew.

The Village of Round and Square Houses* by Ann Grifalconi (Little Brown 1986)
A grandmother explains to her listeners why in their village on the side of a volcano the men live in square houses and the women in round ones. A Caldecott Honor Book.

Vacation in the Village: A Story From West Africa by Pierre Yves Njeng (Boyds Mills 1999)
A young African boy overcomes his preconceptions of what life must be like in rural villages when his family vacations there for the summer. While visiting, the boy makes friends, learns old customs, and learns to hunt.

Sense Pass King* by Katrin Hyman Tchana (Holiday House 2002)
Despite a jealous king’s repeated attempts to get rid of her, Ma’antah continually manages to outwit him and proves herself worthy of the name Sense Pass King.

Picture Book Nonfiction

I am Farmer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon by Baptiste & Miranda Paul, illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon (Millbrook, 2019)
Documents the inspiring story of environmental champion Tantoh Nforba, describing how he was teased in childhood for his interest in gardening before he organized programs to bring clean water and bountiful gardens to the central African nation of Cameroon.



Rain School
* by James Rumford (Houghton Mifflin, 2010)
The children arrive on the first day of school and build a mud structure to be their classroom for the next nine months until the rainy season comes and washes it all away.


DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (formerly known as Zaire)

Rickie & Henri
: A True Story by Jane Goodall (Dutton 2004)
When her human guardian goes on a business trip, Ricki, an orphaned chimpanzee infant, adopts Henri, a shaggy dog, as her “mother.”

Looking for Miza by Craig, Juliana & Isabella Hatkoff (Scholastic 2008)
In a magical place called the Congo, in the beautiful forests and jungles of Virunga National Park, lives a young female mountain gorilla named Miza. She was just like any other baby gorilla, riding on her mother’s back, playing, taking naps. Then, one day, when Miza and her mother were out searching for food, Miza’s mother disappeared, leaving her baby alone and frightened. Miza’s father, a fierce silverback named Kabirizi and the leader of Virunga’s largest family of mountain gorillas, set out to find Miza.

Monkey for Sale by Sanna Stanley (Farrar 2002)
With etchings combined with vibrant collage, Stanley tells a lively story about two friends who embark on an elaborate chain of barter and bargaining to rescue a monkey. 

Monkey Sunday: A Story from a Congolese Village* by Sanna Stanley (Frances Foster, 1998)
Young Luzolo tries very hard to sit still while her father preaches at the village Matondo, a celebration of thanksgiving, but when a puppy, chickens, pigs, goats, and a monkey show up, it is very difficult.

The Rains are Coming by Sanna Stanley (Greenwillow 1993)
As Aimee, the daughter of a missionary in Zaire, gathers her friends for a party, the sky grows more and more threatening.


Traveling to Tondo: A Tale of the Nkundo of Zaire* by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand (Knopf 1991)
On his way to his wedding, with his friends as attendants, a civet cat meets with extraordinary and unexpected delays.

Beeswax Catches a Thief: From a Congo Folktale* by Ann Kirn (Norton, 1968)
Since only those animals who helped create the pond are allowed to drink from it, the jungle creatures set a beeswax trap to capture the inconsiderate and lazy jackal.

Tale of a Crocodile: From a Congo Folktale* by Ann Kirn (Norton, 1968)
When selfish old Crocodile will not move off the plantain which Rabbit would like for lunch, Rabbit realizes that he cannot rely on the other animals to scare Crocodile back to the river; so he calls his family together and they do the job themselves.

Why the Crab has no Head: An African Tale* by Barbara Knutson (Carolrhoda, 1987)
Retells the African folktale from the Bakongo people of Zaire in which Crab’s pride influences his creator, who leaves Crab without a head to make him humble.

The Magic Tree: A Tale from the Congo* by Gerald McDermott (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1973)
Retells a Congolese tale in which an ugly and unloved twin discovers a magic tree that gives him everything he wants.




Api and the Boy Stranger: A Village Creation Tale* by Patricia Roddy (Dial 1994)
In this Ivory Coast legend, Api and her family are repaid for their kindness to a stranger with a mysterious warning to leave their village and go to the other side of the river Amman.



The Mystery of King Karfu
* by Doug Cushman (HarperCollins 1996)
The great detective Seymour Sleuth and his assistant Muggs journey to Egypt to search for a missing stone chicken, an important clue to the location of the Lost Treasure of King Karfu.

Clever Ali by Nancy Farmer (Orchard 2006)
When seven-year-old Ali’s greedy pet steals cherries from the wicked Sultan for whom his father keeps carrier pigeons, Ali is given three days to find 600 new cherries or his father will be thrown into the deep, dark oubliette. Includes facts about carrier pigeons and the sultan on whom this story is based, as well as an excerpt from “In Praise of Books” by al-Jahiz.

The Day of Ahmed’s Secret* by Florence Parry Heide (Lothrop 1990)
A young Egyptian boy describes the city of Cairo as he goes about his daily work and waits for the evening to share a special surprise with his family.

What’s the Matter, Habibi?* by Betsy Lewin (Clarion 1997)
One day, instead of following Ahmed around in a circle giving children rides, Habibi the camel runs through the bazaar with Ahmed following him and trying to figure out what is wrong.

Historical & Biographical Fiction 

The Mummy Makers of Egypt by Tamara Bower (Seven Stories, 2016)
A fact-filled tale inspired by the embalmers of ancient Egypt features illustrations in the style of classic Egyptian art and follows the experiences of a family that participates in the funerary customs of the royal family.

Howard and the Mummy: Howard Carter and the Search for King Tut’s Tomb by Tracey Fern, pictures by Boris Kulikov (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2018)
Discusses the famed archaeologists career and research in Egypt before he made the famous 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb.

A Giraffe Goes to Paris* by Mary Tavener Holmes, illustrated by Jon Cannell (Marshall Cavendish, 2010)
Recounts the 1827 journey of a young giraffe named Belle, a gift from the Pasha of Egypt to King Charles X of France, as she makes her way by boat and land to Paris, accompanied by her devoted caretaker, Atir.

Picture Book Nonfiction

Of Numbers and Stars: The Story of Hypatia* by D. Anne Love, illustrated by Pamela Paparone (Holiday House, 2006)
Presents the life of a Egyptian woman who lived in fifth century Alexandria and became a respected scholar in mathematics and philosophy.

Zarafa: The Giraffe Who Walked to the King* by Judith St. George, illustrated by Britt Spencer (Philomel, 2009)

Ancient Egypt

Nile Crossing by Katy Beebe, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport (Eerdmans, 21017)
Khepri, who lives in ancient Egypt, begins to feel nervous as he and his father travel to Thebes for Khepri’s first day of scribe school.

The World Needs Beautiful Things by Leah Rachel Berkowitz, illustrated by Daniele Fabbri (Kar-Ben, 2018)
Despite his parents’ and friends’ objections, Bezalel collects beautiful things, such as shiny stones and colored string, while a slave in Egypt and during the Exodus, which pleases God.

Mummy Cat* by Marcus Ewart, illustrated by Lisa Brown (Clarion, 2015)
Mummy Cat prowls his pyramid home, longing for his beloved owner. As he roams the tomb, lavish murals above his head display scenes of the cat with his young Egyptian queen.

Croco’nile* by Roy Gerrard (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1994)
Set sail for adventure with Hamut and his sister, Nekatu as they explore the wonders of ancient Egypt.

Muti’s Necklace by Louise Hawes (Houghton Mifflin 2006)
Muti treasures the necklace her father gave her so much that she risks the wrath of Egypt’s pharaoh when it falls into the water. Based on an ancient Egyptian story.

Zekmet, the Stone Carver: A Tale of Ancient Egypt* by Mary Stolz, illustrated by Deborah Nourse Lattimore (Harcourt, 1988)
Chosen to design a magnificent monument for a vain and demanding Pharoah, an Egyptian stone carver conceives of and begins work on the Sphinx which still stands in the Egyptian desert today.

Cleo and Cornelius: A Tale of Two Cities and Two Kitties by Elizabeth Nicholson, Janine Pibal, Nick Geller, Michelle Thies (Getty Trust, 2018)
Two kitten cousins leave their home in ancient Egypt and travel to Rome in this tale loosely based on Aesop’s fable, “The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse.” Inspired by an exhibit at the J. Paul Getty Museum, illustrations include hidden objects such as a model boat, a scarab, and a gold coin.

Pharaoh’s Boat* by David Weitzman (Houghton Mifflin, 2009)
This book describes the building of Egyptian pharaoh Cheops’s funeral boat.



by Jane Kurtz (Harcourt 1997)
This circular tale of Tekleh begins with a wooden game board given to him to occupy him as he tends the goats. Through a series of trades, the boy ends up with a game board, albeit a different one.

Picture Book Nonfiction

The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families* by Susan L. Roth & Cindy Trumbore (Lee & Low, 2011)
A cumulative verse, alternating with additional narrative, describes the ecological and social transformation resulting from the work of Dr. Gordon Sato, a Japanese American cell biologist who made saltwater and desert land productive through the planting of mangrove trees in the tiny African country of Eritrea.


A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water Across the World
* by Christine Ieronimo (Walker books, 2014)
Alemitu lives with her mother in a poor village in Ethiopia, where she must walk miles for water and hunger roars in her belly. Even though life is difficult, she dreams of someday knowing more about the world. When her mother has no choice but to leave her at an orphanage to give her a chance at a better life, an American family adopts Alemitu.

The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela* by Cristina Kessler (Holiday House 2006)
In the Ethiopian mountain village of Lalibela, famous for its churches and honey, a young girl determines to find a way to be a beekeeper despite being told that is something only men can do.

Only a Pigeon by Jane Kurtz (Simon & Schuster 1997)
Ondu-ahlem carefully trains his pigeons and prepares them for the day when he and other Ethiopian boys test the homing instinct and loyalty of their precious birds. Homing pigeons.

Pulling the Lion’s Tail* by Jane Kurtz (Simon & Schuster 1995)
Her grandfather finds a clever way to help an impatient young Ethiopian girl get to know her father’s new wife.

New Shoes for Helen by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Frances Lincoln, 2011)
Helen, a young girl living in Ethiopia, searches her house for the perfect shoes to wear to her aunt’s wedding, and when she cannot find the right pair, Helen goes to the market with Mama to buy new shoes.

Day of Delight: A Jewish Sabbath in Ethiopia* by Maxine Rose Schur (Dial 1994)
Follows a young Ethiopian Jewish boy and his family through their typical daily routine, followed by preparation for and celebration of the Sabbath.

When I Left My Village by Maxine Rose Schur (Dial 1996)
An Ethiopian Jewish family leaves their oppressed mountain village to make a difficult and treacherous journey in the hope of reaching freedom in Israel.

On the Wings of Eagles: An Ethiopian Boy’s Story by Jeffrey Schrier (Millbrook 1998)
A Jewish Ethiopian boy recounts the story of Israel’s 1991 airlift rescue of his threatened people.

Yuvi’s Candy Tree by Lesley Simpson (Kar-Ben 2011)
Fleeing famine in her native Ethiopia, five-year-old Yuvi is sure she will have a candy tree when she arrives in Jerusalem

Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan* by Mary Williams (Lee & Low 2005)
Eight-year-old Garang, orphaned by a civil war in Sudan, finds the inner strength to help lead other boys as they trek thousands of miles seeking safety in Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally in the United States.


The Perfect Orange: A Tale from Ethiopia* by Frank P. Araujo, illustrated by Xiaojun Li (Rayve Productions, 1994)

Fire on the Mountain* by Jane Kurtz, illustrated by Earl B. LEwis (Simon & Schuster, 1994)
A clever young shepherd boy uses his wits to gain a fortune for himself and his sister from a haughty rich man.

Ethiopian Americans

Faraway Home* by Jane Kurtz, illustrated by E. B. Lewis (Harcourt, 2000)
Desta’s father, who needs to return briefly to his Ethiopian homeland, describes what it was like for him to grow up there.




Princess Gorilla and a New Kind of Water: A Mpongwe Tale* by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Victoria Chess (Dial, 1988)
King Gorilla decrees that no one may marry his daughter until a suitor strong enough to consume a barrel of strange, intoxicating water is found.



Picture Book Nonfiction

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of The Gambia* by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Millbrook, 2015)
Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred.




Kofi and His Magic* by Maya Angelou, illustrated by Margaret Courtney-Clarke (Clarkson Potter, 1996)
A young Ashanti boy describes some of the wonders of his life in and around the West African village of Bonwire.

Amoko and Efua Bear* by Sonia Appiah (Macmillan 1988)
Amoko, a little girl living in Ghana, takes her favorite teddy bear everywhere that she goes and is heartbroken when she thinks he’s lost.

Sosu’s Call by Meshack Asare (Kane/Miller 2002)
When a great storm threatens, Sosu, an African boy who is unable to walk, joins his dog Fusa in helping save their village.

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story* by Angela Shelf Medearis, illustrated by Daniel Minter (Albert Whitman, 2000)
When they are given the seemingly impossible task of turning thread into gold, the seven Ashanti brothers put aside their differences, learn to get along, and embody the principles of Kwanzaa. Includes information on Kwanzaa, West African cloth weaving, and instructions for making a belt.

One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference* by Katie Smith Milway (Kids Can, 2008)
Inspired by true events, One Hen tells the story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a livelihood for many.

Grandma Comes to Stay by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Frances Lincoln, 2010)
Three-year-old Stephanie works hard to help get ready for a visit from Grandma and she is rewarded by special gifts only a grandmother can give.


Anansi Does the Impossible!: An Ashanti Tale* by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Lisa Desimini (Atheneum, 1997)
Anansi and his wife outsmart the Sky God and win back the beloved folktales of their people.

Anansi Finds a Fool: An Ashanti Tale* by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Bryna Waldman (Dial, 1992)
Lazy Anansi seeks to trick someone into doing the heavy work of laying his fish trap, but instead he is fooled into doing the job himself. Anansi, in human form, is tricked by Bonsu when they go fishing.

Anansi’s Narrow Waist: A Tale from Ghana by H. J. Arrington, illustrated by Nicole Allin (Pelican, 2017)

The Spider Weaver: A Legend of Kente Cloth* by Margaret Musgrove, illustrated by Julie Cairns (Scholastic, 2001)
In this retelling of a tale from Ghana, a wondrous spider shows two Ashanti weavers how to make intricate, colorful patterns in the cloth that they weave.

Picture Book Nonfiction

Kente Colors* by Debora M. Newton Chocolate, by John Ward (Walker, 1996)
A rhyming description of the kente cloth costumes of the Ashanti and Ewe people of Ghana and a portrayal of the symbolic colors and patterns.

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson & Sean Qualls (Schwartz & Wade, 2015)
Previously depicted in the film Emmanuel’s Gift, the inspiring story of a West African youth who pursued an education, helped support his family and became a record-setting cyclist in spite of a disability traces his ongoing achievements as an activist. Illustrated by the award-winning artist of Little Cloud and Lady Wind

Ghanaian Americans

In the Small, Small Night* by Jane Kurtz, illustrated by Rachel Isadora (Greenwillow, 2005)
Kofi can’t sleep in his new home in the United States, so his older sister Abena soothes his fears about life in a different country by telling him two folktales from their native Ghana about the nature of wisdom and perseverance.

Nana Fatou Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker, illustrated by April Harrison (Schwartz & Wade, 2020)
Zura is worried about how her classmates will react to her Ghanaian Nana’s tattoos on Grandparents Day, but Nana finds a way to show how special and meaningful they are.


Ndito Runs
 by Laurie Halse Anderson (Holt 1996)
A Kenyan girl runs past the thatch-covered homes in her village, up the hillside, through the grassland, by the water hole, on her way to school.

First Come the Zebra by Lynne Barasch (Lee & Low 2009)
When two young Kenyan boys, one Maasai and one Kikuyu, first meet, they are hostile toward each other based on traditional rivalries, but after they suddenly have to work together to save a baby in danger, the boys begin to discover what they have in common.

Mama Panya’s Pancakes* by Mary Chamberlin (Barefoot Books 2005)
Mama Panya has just enough money to buy ingredients for a few pancakes, so when her son Adika invites all their friends to join them, she is sure there will not be enough to go around.

Lila and the Secret of Rain by David Conway (Frances Lincoln, 2008)
Lila’s village in Kenya is experiencing a terrible drought. When Lila’s grandfather tells her the secret of rain, she sets off on her own to save her village.

Chirchir is Singing* by Kelly Cunnane (Schwartz & Wade 2011)
Chirchir wants to help her family with their daily chores, but each of their tasks proves too challenging for her.

For You are a Kenyan Child* by Kelly Cunnane (Atheneum 2006)
From rooster crow to bedtime, a Kenyan boy plays and visits neighbors all through his village, even though he is supposed to be watching his grandfather’s cows.

Community Soup by Alma Fullerton (Pajama Press, 2013)
In a garden outside a Kenyan schoolhouse, the children work together to harvest the vegetables they have grown and make them into a soup for everyone to share, but some goats are trying to eat all the vegetables.

Muktar and the Camels by Janet Graber (Henry Holt 2009)
Muktar, an eleven-year-old refugee living in a Kenyan orphanage, dreams of tending camels again, as he did with his nomadic family in Somalia, and has a chance to prove himself when a traveling librarian with an injured camel arrives at his school.

Papa Do You Love Me?* by Barbara M. Joosse (Chronicle 2004)
When a Masai father in Africa answers his son’s questions, the boy learns that his father’s love for him is unconditional.

Nanta’s Lion: A Search and Find Adventure* by Suse MacDonald (Morrow 1995)
A Masai child is curious to see the lion that her father and the other villagers are hunting.

My Sister’s Wedding: A Story of Kenya by Waithira Mbuthia (Soundprints, 2002)

Mimi’s Village and How Basic Health Care Transformed It* by Katie Smith Milway, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes (Kids Can Press, 2012)
Mimi, a young girl living in an African village, witnesses the benefits of basic health care in her community.

Water for One, Water for Everyone by Stephen R. Swinburne (Millbrook 1998)
A counting tale in which native animals, from one tortoise to ten elephants, arrive at a Kenyan waterhole.

Hope Springs by Eric Walters, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes (Tundra Books, 2014)
Set in a Kenyan village, a group of orphans are thrown out of the line for water when a drought hits the area, so when the orphanage gets its own well, one of the orphans has an idea to help the villagers.

My Name is Blessing* by Eric Walters (Tundra, 2013)
A young Kenyan boy with disabilities named Muthini lives with his grandmother and eight cousins, but when his grandmother is no longer able to take care of him the two set out on a journey that will change the young boy’s life, and his name, forever.

Today is the Day by Eric Walters, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes (Tundra Books, 2015)
Looking forward to a day filled with fun and surprises when her birthday arrives, young Mutanu, a new resident at a Kenyan orphanage, shares a day with her friends as they celebrate the birthday that has been chosen especially for her.


Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain: A Nandi Tale* by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal (Dial, 1981)
A cumulative rhyme relating how Ki-pat brought rain to the drought-stricken Kapiti Plain.

How the Ostrich Got its Long Neck: A Tale from the Akamba of Kenya* by Verna Aardema (Scholastic 1995)
A tale from the Akamba people of Kenya that explains why the ostrich has such a long neck.

The Ostrich Girl* by Ray Prather (Scribner, 1978)
Goaded by the taunts of the village children, a youngster runs deep into the jungle searching for her real mother–an ostrich.

The Matatu* by Eric Walters, illustrations by Eva Campbell (Orca, 2012)
A young boy takes a ride on the matatu bus with his grandfather for his fifth birthday, and along the way his grandfather tells him the story of why dogs chase the bus, goats run from it, and sheep pay no attention to it.

Picture Book Nonfiction

Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship* by Isabella Hatkoff, with photographs by Peter Greste (Scholastic, 2006) and sequel, Owen & Mzee: The Language of Friendship* (Scholastic, 2007).

Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya* by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Simon & Schuster, 2010)
The story of Wangari Maathai, who in 1977 founded the Green Belt Movement, an African grassroots organization, and in 2004 was the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai* by Claire A. Nivola (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2008)
This is the story of Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Green Belt Movement, Wangari came home from college to find the streams dry, the people malnourished, and the trees gone. How could she alone bring back the trees and restore the gardens and the people?

Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees* by Franck Prévot, illustrated by Aurélia Fronty (Charlesbridge, 2015)
Wangari Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her efforts to lead women in a nonviolent struggle to bring peace and democracy to Africa through its reforestation. Her organization planted over thirty million trees in thirty years. This beautiful picture book tells the story of an amazing woman and an inspiring idea.

Only the Mountains Do Not Move: A Maasai Story of Culture and Conservation by Jan Reynolds (Lee & Low 2011)
A collection of photographs featuring the Maasai people in Kenya, traditionally nomadic herders, highlighting the challenges they currently face and the ways the people are adapting their practices and lifestyle due to these challenges.



One Round Moon and a Star for Me
* by Ingrid Mennen (Orchard 1994)
A young boy of rural Lesotho needs reassurance that his father is still his papa, too, when a new baby is born into the family.




Koi and the Kola Nuts: A Tale from Liberia by Verna Aardema (Atheneum 1999)
An African folktale in which the son of the chief must make his way in the world with only a sackful of kola nuts and the help of some creatures that he has treated with kindness.

The Vingananee and the Tree Toad: A Liberian Tale* by Verna Aardema (Warne, 1983)
A strange animal called the Vingananee beats up all the other animals and eats their stew until the tiny Tree Toad offers to fight him.

Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Liberia* by Won-Ldy Paye  & Margaret H. Lippert, illustrated by Julie Paschkis (Holt 2002)
In this tale from the Dan people of Liberia, Head, Arms, Body, and Legs learn that they do better when they work together.

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile* by Won-Ldy Paye & Margaret H. Lippert, illustrated by Julie Paschkis (Holt 2003)
When a crocodile captures Mrs. Chicken and takes her to an island to fatten her up, clever Mrs. Chicken claims that she can prove they are sisters and that, therefore, the crocodile shouldn’t eat her.




The New King* by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Earl B. Lewis (Dial, 1995)
Young Prince Rakoto learns to cope with his father’s death.


by Karen Lynn Williams (Lothrop 1990)
Walking through his village, a young African boy finds the materials to make a special toy.

When Africa Was Home by Karen Lynn Williams (Orchard 1991)
After returning to the United States, Peter’s whole family misses the warmth and friendliness of their life in Africa; so Peter’s father looks for another job there.


The Mean Hyena: A Folktale from Malawi* retold by Judy Sierra (Dutton, 1997)
After suffering as a victim of one of Fisi the hyena’s nasty tricks, Kamba the tortoise offers to paint new coats for all the animals as a way of getting revenge on Fisi.



I Lost My Tooth in Africa*
by Penda Diakite (Scholastic 2006)
While visiting her father’s family in Mali, a young girl loses a tooth, places it under a calabash, and receives a hen and a rooster from the African Tooth Fairy.

The Everlasting Embrace by Gabrielle Emanuel (Viking, 2014)
A young child describes her experiences of life in Mali as she spends a day carried in a blanket on her mother’s back.

Yatandou by Gloria Whelan (Sleeping Bear 2007)
Eight-year-old Yatandou helps the women of her Mali village raise enough money to buy a machine that will replace their pounding sticks.

My Baby by Jeanette Winter (Farrar 2001)
As she waits for her baby to be born, a young African woman describes some of the sights and sounds of her Mali homeland as she creates a beautiful bogolan cloth for her child.


The Hatseller and the Monkeys* by Baba Wague Diakite (Scholastic 1999)
An African version of the familiar story of a man who sets off to sell his hats, only to have them stolen by a treeful of mischievous monkeys.

The Magic Gourd by Baba Wague Diakite (Scholastic 2003)
Brother Rabbit and Chameleon teach a greedy king the importance of generosity and friendship.

Picture Book Nonfiction

Mansa Musa: The Lion of Mali* by Khephra Burns, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon (Harcourt, 2001)
A fictional account of the nomadic wanderings of the boy who grew up to become Mali’s great fourteenth-century leader, Mansa Musa.

Desert Elephants* by Helen Cowcher (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011)
Each year the desert elephants of Mali, West Africa, travel a 300-mile path to search for water. They peacefully pass through the lands of the Tuareg, Dogon, and Fulani people while following the longest migration route of any elephant in the world. This insightful story with bold, dramatic illustrations shows how people work together to preserve the delicate balance of life in the desert and protect these magnificent elephants.

Sundiata: Lion King of Mali* by David Wisniewski (Clarion, 1992)
The story of Sundiata, who overcame physical handicaps, social disgrace, and strong opposition to rule Mali in the thirteenth century.



The Butter Man
* by Elizabeth Alalou (Charlesbridge 2008)
While Nora waits for the couscous her father is cooking to be finished, he tells her a story about his youth in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

Mirror = مرآة Mirror* by Jeannie Baker (Candlewick 2010)
In Sydney, Australia, and in Morocco, two boys and their families have a day of shopping. Readers are invited to compare illustrations in two wordless stories that are intended to be read one from left to right and the other from right to left.

Kassim’s Shoes* by Harold Berson (Crown, 1977)
Kassim succumbs to pressure to abandon his old shoes but has trouble discarding them.

Zorah’s Magic Carpet* by Stefan Czernecki (Hyperion 1995)
A Moroccan woman’s magic carpet takes her to faraway places which provide inspiration for her to create other beautiful carpets.

My Father’s Shop* by Satomi Ichikawa (Kane/Miller 2006)
Come visit Mustafa in his favorite place in all of Morocco, his fathers shop. There, amongst the beautiful rugs, is an entire world of colors, textiles and languages.

The Storytellers* by Ted Lewin (Lothrop 1998)
Abdul and Grandfather pass through the streets of Fez, Morocco, and stop at an old gate, where Grandfather performs as a storyteller.

Ali, Child of the Desert* by Jonathan London (Lothrop 1997)
On a trip to the Moroccan market town of Rissani, Ali becomes separated from his father during a sandstorm.

The Storyteller* by Evan Turk (Atheneum, 2016)
In a time of drought in the Kingdom of Morocco, a storyteller and a boy weave a tale to thwart a Djinn and his sandstorm from destroying their city.


The Bachelor and the Bean* by Shelley Fowles (Farrar 2003)
In this Jewish folktale from Morocco, a bachelor receives a magic pot from an imp, but it is stolen by an old woman.

The Nightingale* by Jerry Pinkney (Phyllis Fogelman 2002)
Despite being neglected by the emperor for a jewel-studded bird, the little nightingale revives the dying ruler with its beautiful song.



Catch That Goat!
* by Polly Alakija (Barefoot 2002)*
Ayoka is put in charge of the family goat, who promptly vanishes and runs through the town’s market stalls taking whatever looks tasty.

Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke & Angela Brooksbank (Candlewick, 2017)
Join Baby and his doting mama at a bustling southwest Nigerian marketplace for a bright, bouncy read-aloud offering a gentle introduction to numbers.

B is for Baby by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank (Candlewick, 2019)
The creators of the award-winning Baby Goes to Market finds Baby stowing away on big brother’s bicycle during a visit to Baba’s bungalow in a neighboring village, in a vibrantly illustrated alphabet story set in West Africa.

The Ancestor Tree* by T. Obinkaram Echewa, illustrated by Christy Hale (Lodestar, 1994)
Saddened by the death of their special friend, the very old man who told them stories and jokes, the village children decide to go against custom and plant a tree for him in the Forest of the Ancestors.

Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor & Mehrdokht Amini (Lantana, 2017)
Waking up in the night when the shadow of a giant chicken crosses her bedroom door, young Anyaugo follows the mischievous bird on a fantastical adventure that challenges her to safeguard her family’s food for the following day’s New Yam Festival.

Bikes for Rent! by Isaac Olaleye (Orchard 2001)
Lateef, a poor young boy living in a village in western Nigeria, works hard so he can rent a bicycle and ride with the other boys.

Bitter Bananas by Isaac Olaleye (Caroline House 1994)
When baboons begin stealing the sweet palm sap that Yusuf sells at the market near his Nigerian village, what is he to do?

Lake of the Big Snake: An African Rain Forest Adventure* by Isaac Olaleye (Boyds Mills 1998)
Ade and Tayo live in an African rainforest village. Their mothers have warned them not to play by the Big Lake. But they can’t resist the lure of the jungle and of course, meet up with ‘the big snake’. (BWI)

A is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Cobblehill 1993)
The author, a member of the Igbo tribe in Nigeria, presents text and her own photographs of twenty-six things, from A to Z, representative of all African peoples.

Ife’s First Haircut by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Frances Lincoln, 2014)
Chinaza, a young girl from Nigeria, is excitedly preparing for her baby brother Ife’s first haircut and the family party to celebrate it.

Amadi’s Snowman* by Katia Novet Saint-Lot (Tilbury House 2008)
As a young Igbo man, Amadi does not understand why his mother insists he learn to read, since he already knows his numbers and will be a businessman one day, but an older boy teaches him the value of learning about the world through books.


The Story of Lightning & Thunder by Ashley Bryan (Atheneum 1993)
In this retelling of a West African tale, Ma Sheep Thunder and her impetuous son Ram Lightning are forced to leave their home on Earth because of the trouble Ram causes.

Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky: An African Folktale* by Elphinstone Dayrell, illustrated by Blair Lent (Houghton Mifflin, 1968)
An African folktale which tells how the Sun and water once lived on earth as friends, but because the Sun failed to build his house huge enough, he and his wife, the Moon, were driven into the sky when the water came to visit.

The Magic Tree: A Folktale from Nigeria by T. Obinkaram Echewa (Morrow 1999)
Although Mbi, an orphan boy, is constantly asked to “do this” and “do that” by his many unkind relatives until a special tree grows, just for him.

The Flying Tortoise: An Igbo Tale by Tololwa M. Mollel (Clarion 1994)
Mbeku, the greedy tortoise, gets himself invited to the banquet in Skyland, but is trapped with no way to get back to Earth in this Igbo tale of why the tortoise has a checkered shell.

In the Rainfield: Who is the Greatest?* by Isaac Olaleye, illustrated by Ann Grifalconi (Scholastic, 2000)
When Wind, Fire, and Rain meet in the land of the Yoruba to decide which of them is the greatest, Wind and Fire make great shows of strength, but Rain demonstrates the power of gentleness.

Chinye: A West African Folk Tale* by Obi Onyefulu (Viking, 1994)
Chinye lives with her cruel stepmother and lazy stepsister, but her life changes for the better when a mysterious old woman in the forest directs her to a magic gourd.

Master Man: A Tall Tale of Nigeria* by Aaron Shepard (HarperCollins 2001)
A boastful strong man learns a lesson harder than his muscles when he encounters one of Nigeria’s superheroes in this Hausa tale which explains the origin of thunder.

The Day Ocean Came to Visit* by Diane Wolkstein (Harcourt 2001)
After hearing Ocean’s stories, Sun invites Ocean to the house he shares with his wife, Moon, but his visitor proves to be more than his house can hold.

Picture Book Nonfiction

Chidi Only Likes Blue: An African Book of Colors* by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Cobblehill, 1997)
Chidi has a favorite color, blue. He says it is the best color in the world. His older sister, Nneka, decides to teach him about other colors seen in their village.

Emeka’s Gift: An African Counting Story* by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Cobblehill 1995)
Emeka goes to visit his grandmother and wishes to take her a present. As he passes through the market he sees lots of things she would like, but with no money, he could not buy anything. Would Granny understand? The story is illustrated with photographs taken in Emeka’s village in Nigeria.

Grandfather’s Work: A Traditional Healer in Nigeria by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Millbrook 1998)
A child describes the work of his grandfather, a traditional healer in a Nigerian village, comparing it to the work of other family members. Include information about plants used in healing.

Here Comes Our Bride!: An African Wedding Story* by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Frances Lincoln, 2004)
A young boy, impatient to attend a wedding, nags his uncle about his upcoming wedding day.

My Grandfather is a Magician by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Millbrook, 1998)
A child describes the work of his grandfather, a traditional healer in a Nigerian village, comparing it to the work of other family members.

Ogbo: Sharing Life in an African Village* by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Gulliver Books, 1996)



Gorilla Rescue* by Jill Bailey, illustrated by Alan Baker (Steck-Vaughn, 1990)
Emmanuel, an employee of the Rwandan National Park, saves several gorillas from poachers and sets out on a tracking expedition to count gorillas for an upcoming census.

The Drummer Boy by Soohyeon Min, illustrated by Peggy Nille (Norwood House, 2015)
Rukundo is known in his village as a drummer. He is devastated when his family falls ill with cholera after drinking dirty water. Rukundo plays his drum as reporters write an article about him. When the article is published showing Rukundo as the Little Drummer Boy, several people read the story and buy the village a water pump


Sebgugugu the Glutton: A Bantu Tale from Rwanda retold by Verna Aardema (Eerdmans 1993)
A greedy poor man tests the patience of Imana, Lord of Rwanda, until he loses everything.



Is it True, Grandfather?
by Wendy Lohse (Scholastic 1994)



Be Patient, Abdul
by Dolores Sandoval (Margaret McElderrry 1996)
With the help of his younger sister, seven-year-old Abdul raises money to go to school by selling oranges in the marketplace in Sierra Leone.



Somali Americans

The Color of Home* by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Karin Littlewood (Phyllis Fogelman, 2002)
Hassan, newly-arrived in the United States and feeling homesick, paints a picture at school that shows his old home in Somalia as well as the reason his family had to leave.


The Soccer Fence
by Phil Bildner (Putnam’s, 2014)
Each time Hector watches white boys playing soccer in Johannesburg, South Africa, he dreams of playing on a real pitch one day and after the fall of apartheid, when he sees the 1996 African Cup of Nations team, he knows that his dream can come true.

The Boy on the Beach* by Niki Daly (McElderry, 1999)
On a hot summer day, a young boy walks down the beach and finds a small boat sitting lonely on the sands, which sparks his imagination as he dreams of being the captain of the ship that sails to exotic and distant lands.

Happy Birthday, Jamela!*by Niki Daly (Farrar 2006)
Jamela wants sparkly “princess shoes” to go with her new birthday dress, but Mama makes her buy practical school shoes instead.

The Herd Boy by Niki Daly (Eerdmans, 2012)
While doing a good job of caring for his grandfather’s sheep and goats on the grasslands of South Africa, young Malusi dreams of everything from owning his own dog to becoming president one day.

Jamela’s Dress* by Niki Daly (Farrar 1999)
Jamela gets in trouble when she takes the expensive material intended for a new dress for Mama, parades it in the street, and allows it to become dirty and torn.

Not So Fast, Songololo* by Niki Daly (Atheneum 1986)
In South Africa, a young black boy shares a special day with his grandmother when they go into the city on a shopping trip.

Once Upon a Time* by Niki Daly (Farrar 2003)
Sarie struggles when she reads aloud in class in her South African school, but then she and her friend Auntie Anna find a book about Cinderella in Auntie Anna’s old car and begin to read together.

What’s Cooking, Jamela?* by Niki Daly (Farrar 2001)
Jamela is responsible for fattening up the chicken intended for Christmas dinner, but instead she gives it a name and makes it her friend.

Where’s Jamela? by Niki Daly (Farrar 2004)
When Mama gets a new job and a new house, everyone is excited about moving except Jamela who likes her old house just fine.

At the Crossroads* by Rachel Isadora (Greenwillow 1991)
South African children gather to welcome home their fathers who have been away for several months working in the mines.

A South African Night*by Rachel Isadora (Greenwillow 1998)
The inhabitants of South Africa divide their activities by day and night, as the animals in Kruger National Park go about their business while the people of Johannesburg sleep and then lie down in the shade as the people wake up.

Goal!*by Mina Javaherbin (Candlewick, 2010)
In a dangerous alley in a township in South Africa, the strength and unity which a group of young friends feel while playing soccer keep them safe when a gang of bullies arrives to cause trouble.

Jafta: The Town* by Hugh Lewin, illustrated by Lisa Kopper (Carolrhoda, 1984)
Jafta gets his first exposure to the hustle and bustle of the city.

Jafta’s Mother* by Hugh Lewin, illustrated by Lisa Kopper (Carolrhoda, 1983)
A little boy living in an African village describes his mother and the love he feels for her.

Somewhere in Africa* by Ingrid Mennen (Dutton 1992)
Ashraf, a South African boy who lives in a big city, dreams of the African wild.

Nya’s Long Walk: A Step at a Time by Linda Sue Park, illustsrated by Brian Pinkney (Clarion, 2019)
When her little sister, Akeer, becomes sick when they are returning home from the water hole, Nya must carry her and the water back to their village, one step at a time.

Straw Sense* by Rona Rupert, illustrated by Michael Dooling (Simon & Schuster, 1993)
An old man who makes dolls breaks through the loneliness of a young boy who doesn’t speak.

Charlie’s House* by Reviva Schermbrucker (Viking 1991)
Charlie builds a house with cast-off materials in his South African township.

The Day Gogo Went to Vote: South Africa, April 1994* by Elinor Sisulu (Little Brown 1996)
Thembi and her beloved great-grandmother, who has not left the house for many years, go together to vote on the momentous day when black South Africans are allowed to vote for the first time.

The Dove* by Dianne Stewart (Greenwillow 1993)
A visiting dove provides the answer to Grandmother Maloko’s financial problems when floodwaters destroy her crops and she must rely on the sale of her homemade jewelry.

Desmond and the Very Mean Word* by Archbiship Desmond Tutu & Douglas Carlton Abrams, illustrated by A. G. Ford (Candlewick 2013)
When Desmond takes his new bicycle out for a ride, his pride and joy turn to hurt and anger when some boys shout a very mean word at him causing Desmond to seek the advice of Father Trevor, who teaches him about the power of forgiveness.

Elsina’s Clouds* by Jeanette Winter (Farrar 2004)
In South Africa, a Basotho girl paints designs on her house as a prayer to the ancestors for rain.


Nabulela: A South African Folk Tale* by Fiona Moodie (Farrar 1997)
When the village girls cruelly trick the daughter of their king, he will forgive them only if they kill Nabulela, a treacherous white-skinned monster.

Picture Book Nonfiction

My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken and Me* by Maya Angelou, illustrated by Margaret Courtney-Clarke (Potter, 1994)
A south African girl describes her pet chicken, painting special designs on her house, dressing up for school, and her mischievous brother.

One Child, One Seed: A South African Counting Book* by Kathryn Cave, illustrated by Gisèle Wulfsohn (Henry Holt, 2003)

Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with her Song* by Kathryn Erskine, illustrated by Charly Palmer (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2017)
A harrowing picture biography of civil-rights activist and Grammy Award-winning South African singer Miriam Makeba.

Count Your Way Through South Africa* by James Haskins, illustrated by Alissa Neibert (Millbrook, 2007)
Uses Zulu numerals from one to ten to introduce concepts about South African countries and African culture.

Long Walk to Freedom* by Nelson Mandela, illustrated by Paddy Bouma (Roaring Brook, 2009)
Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, offers a glimpse into the mind of a great leader, admired across the globe for his dedication to the struggles against apartheid in South Africa. Now the youngest readers can discover the remarkable story of Mandela’s long walk from ordinary village boy, to his dynamic leadership of the African National Congress, to his many long years in prison and, at last, his freedom and astonishing rise to become the leader of his country.

Grandad Mandela by Zazi, Ziwelene & Zindzi Mandela & Sean Qualls (Frances Lincoln, 2018)

Peaceful Protest: The Life of Nelson Mandela* by Yona Zeldis McDonough, illustrated by Malcah Zeldis (Walker, 2002)
A biography of the black South African leader who became a civil rights activist, political prisoner, and president of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela* by Kadir Nelson (Katherine Tegen, 2013)
Presents a biography of the former South African president best known for his political activism and fight to end apartheid.

Halala Means Welcome: A Book of Zulu Words* by Ken Wilson-Max (Hyperion 1998)
Introduces words in Zulu, a “musical language with unusual clicking sounds” while following the activities of a boy at home in South Africa.

Hector: A Boy, A Protest, and The Photograph that Changed Apartheid by Adrienne Wright (Page Street, 2019)
Recounts the events leading to the death of Hector Pieterson on June 16, 1976 at a peaceful protest march, told from the perspectives of Hector, his sister, and the photographer who captured their photograph on that day.



My Great-Grandmother’s Gourd
by Cristina Kessler (Orchard 2000)
Residents of a Sudanese village rejoice when a traditional water storage method is replaced by modern technology, but Fatima’s grandmother knows there is no substitute for the reliability of the baobab tree.

Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan* by Mary Williams (Lee & Low 2005)
Eight-year-old Garang, orphaned by a civil war in Sudan, finds the inner strength to help lead other boys as they trek thousands of miles seeking safety in Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally in the United States.

Sudanese Americans

My Name is Sangoel* by Karen Lynn Williams & Khadra Mohammed, illustrated by Catherine Stock (Eerdmans, 2009)
As a refugee from Sudan to the United States, Sangoel is frustrated that no one can pronounce his name correctly until he finds a clever way to solve the problem.



* by Cristina Kessler (Simon & Schuster 2001)
When a baby rhino loses his mother, he must rely on his own resources to survive until he is adopted by an old female rhino.

Nothando’s Journey by Jill Apperson Manly, illustrations by Alyssa Casey (Jabu Kids, 2016)

Americans in Swaziland

Learning to Swim in Swaziland: A Child’s-Eye View of a Southern African Country* by Nila K. Leigh (Scholastic, 1993)
An eight-year-old girl describes her year living in the southern African country of Swaziland.



Mugambi’s Journey
by John Becker (Gingham Dog 2004)
When lions like those who killed his brothers drive Mugambi, his mother, and two sisters from their den on the plains of Africa, the six-week-old cub proves his courage on their perilous journey toward safety.

In a Cloud of Dust by Alma Fullerton, illustrated by Brian Deines (Pajama Press, 2015)
A Tanzanian schoolgirl struggles with a long walk to and from school that leaves her no daylight in which to do homework. When studying at lunchtime makes her miss out on the bicycle library’s visit, her compassionate classmates find a way to share the bicycles so that everyone can reach home.

Is it Far to Zanzibar?: Poems About Tanzania by Nikki Grimes (Lothrop 1999)
Over a dozen poems with some aspect of the African country of Tanzania as a theme.

True Friends: A Tale from Tanzania* by John Kilaka (Groundwood, 2006)
Elephant offers to store the grain of his best friend, Rat, in his house to stop thieves during a drought, but ends up stealing it himself, causing Rat, who is the only animal who knows how to make fire, to run away.

Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby* by Patricia MacLachlan (Candlewick 2011)
A mother relates the events of a peaceful day along the banks of Lake Tanganyika to her baby, wrapped up and ready for sleep.

The Banana-Leaf Ball: How Play Can Change the World* by Katie Smith Milway, illustrated by Shane Evans (Kids Can, 2017)
Separated from his family when they are forced to leave their home in East Africa, Deo is sent to a refugee camp in Tanzania, where he endures bullying until a coach organizes a soccer team that helps the boys at the camp find friendship and a sense of belonging.

Big Boy by Tololwa M. Mollel (Clarion 1995)
Little Oli wants to be big enough to go bird hunting with his brother Mbachu but has to take a nap instead.

Kele’s Secret* by Tololwa M. Mollel (Dutton 1997)
A young African boy who lives with his grandparents on their coffee farm follows their hen in order to find out where she is hiding her eggs.

My Rows and Piles of Coins* by Tololwa M. Mollel (Clarion 1999)
A Tanzanian boy saves his coins to buy a bicycle so that he can help his parents carry goods to market, but then he discovers that in spite of all he has saved, he still does not have enough money.

Song Bird by Tololwa M. Mollel (Clarion 1999)
An adaptation of a folktale from southern Africa, in which a magical bird helps a kind young girl get back her people’s stolen cattle from Makucha the monster.

Hippo Goes Bananas! by Marjorie Dennis Murray (Cavendish 2006)
As animals tell one another about Hippo’s strange behavior, each makes up something terrible to add to the story, until they are frightened that Hippo will destroy the Serengeti itself.

Babu’s Song* by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (Lee & Low 2003)
In Tanzania, Bernardi’s mute grandfather makes him a wonderful music box and then helps him realize his dream of owning a soccer ball and going to school.

Elizabeti’s Doll by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (Lee & Low 1998)
When a young Tanzanian girl gets a new baby brother, she finds a rock, which she names Eva, and makes it her baby doll.

Elizabeti’s School* by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (Lee & Low 2002)
Although she enjoys her first day at school, Elizabeti misses her family and wonders if it wouldn’t be better to stay home.

Mama Elizabeti*by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (Lee & Low 2000)
When her mother has a new baby, Elizabeti is given charge of her younger brother and finds it more difficult to take care him than it was to care for her rock doll.


Fresh Fish: A Tale from Tanzania by John Kilaka (Groundwood 2005)
A dog schemes to steal fish from a chimpanzee and his animal friends who are trying to get the fish to a market.

Clever Tortoise: A Traditional African Tale* by Francesca Martin (Candlewick, 2000)
Clever Tortoise leads the other jungle animals in teaching bullying Elephant and Hippopotamus a lesson by tricking them into engaging in a tug of war with each other.

Subira Subira* by Tololwa M. Mollel (Clarion 2000)
Set in contemporary Tanzania, this variation on a traditional tale describes how a young girl learns a lesson in patience when a spirit woman sends her to get three whiskers from a lion.


Picture Book Nonfiction 

The Chimpanzee Children of Gombe:  50 Years With jane Goodall at Gombe National Park* by Jane Goodall (Minedition 2014)
Jane Goodall introduces young readers to some of her favorite chimpanzees living in Gombe National Park, describing their behavior and family life.

We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey Through Tanzania* by Laurie Krebs (Barefoot Books 2003)
Learning to count from one to ten becomes more interesting as Maasai children teach readers how to count in both English and Swahili. This fact-filled text includes a map of Tanzania, a description of each featured animal, and much more.

Olbalbal: A Day in Maasailand* by Barbara Margolies (Four Winds, 1994)
Text and photographs describe life in a Masai village in Tanzania.

Rehema’s Journey: A Visit in Tanzania* by Barbara A. Margolies (Scholastic, 1990)
Rehema, a nine-year-old girl who lives in the mountains of Tanzania, accompanies her father to Arusha City and visits the Ngorongoro Crater.

Thirsty, Thirsty Elephants by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Fabricio VandenBroeck (Charlesbridge, 2017)
When her herd suffers during a drought in Tanzania, Grandma Elephant leads Little Calf and the other elephants in a search for the watering hole she remembers from her youth.

Cheetah* by Taylor Morrison (Henry Holt, 1998)
Describes a day in the life of a cheetah family in the Seregeti National Park as the mother hunts to feed her cubs.

Tanzanian Americans 

The Magic Moonberry Jump Ropes* by Dakari Hru, illustrated by Earl B. Lewis (Dial, 1996)
Uncle Zambezi brings his two nieces jump ropes from Tanzania, telling the girls that when they use the magic ropes their wishes will come true.

Under the Same Sun* by Sharon Robinson, illustrated by AG Ford (Scholastic, 2014)
It is Grandmother Bibi’s ninetieth birthday and when she travels to Tanzania from America to visit her son and grandchildren they surprise her with a birthday safari.




Larbi and Leila: A Tale of Two Mice* by Harold Berson (Seabury Press, 1974)
Larbi would do anything to please his pretty wife, but Leila’s passion for beautiful objects brings grief to them both.

Why the Jackal Won’t Speak to the Hedgehog: A Tunisian Folk Tale* by Harold Berson (Seabury Press, 1969)
A retelling of a Tunisian folk tale in which the jackal is twice outsmarted by the hedgehog.



A Good Trade
by Alma Fullerton (Pajama Press 2013)
When Kato heads to the village well to pump a day’s supply of water into two jerry cans, he discovers the aid-worker’s truck has arrived with a special gift for his village.

Who’s Got the Etrog? by Jane Kohuth, illustrated by Elissambura (Kar-Ben, 2018)
When Auntie Sanyu celebrates Sukkot at her home with family and animal friends who are Ugandan Jews–the Abayudaya–Warthog will not let go of the etrog. Includes glossary and facts about the Abayudaya.

Beatrice’s Goat* by Page McBrier (Atheneum 2001)
A young girl’s dream of attending school in her small Ugandan village is fulfilled after her family is given an income-producing goat. Based on a true story about the work of Project Heifer.


Give Up, Gecko!: A Folktale from Uganda retold by Margaret Read MacDonald (Two Lions, 2013)
African animals of every size from Elephant to Gecko stomp on the ground in search of water.

Forest Singer by Sylvia Sikundar (Barefoot Books, 1999)
Mabuti is a pygmy who lives in the forest with his family and friends. Determined to stop them from teasing him about his singing, Mabuti practices singing to the forest animals and manages to tease his friends in return.

Gift Days by Kari-Lynn Winters (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2012)
A young girl who longs to study but must run the household and look after her siblings after her mother’s death gets an invaluable gift from her brother. One day a week, her brother does her chores so that she can pursue her dream of an education, just as her mother would have wanted, in this tale about overcoming obstacles.

Picture Book Nonfiction

Gorilla Walk* by Ted & Betsy Lewin (Lothrop, 1999)
Describes an expedition into the field in southern Uganda to observe mountain gorillas in their native habitat.

Growing Peace: A Story of Farming, Music, and Religious Harmony by Richard Sobol (Lee & Low, 2016)
After witnessing the September 11 attacks in New York City, a Ugandan coffee farmer goes home to his village and forms a coffee cooperative of farms from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian families.



Bintou’s Braids
by Sylviane Diouf (Chronicle 2001)
Rich, earthy illustrations and a heartwarming story capture the spirit of a West African village in this wise tale about a girl who learns she’s perfect just the way she is, even though she’s too young for braids.


Anansi Does the Impossible!: An Ashanti Tale retold by Verna Aardema (Atheneum, 1997)*
Anansi and his wife outsmart the Sky God and win back the beloved folktales of their people.

Anansi Finds a Fool by Verna Aardema (Dial, 1992)*
Lazy Anansi seeks to trick someone into doing the heavy work of laying his fish trap, but instead he is fooled into doing the job himself.

Anansi and the Magic Stick by Eric A. Kimmel (Holiday House 2001)
Anansi the Spider steals Hyena’s magic stick so he won’t have to do the chores, but when the stick’s magic won’t stop, he gets more than he bargained for.

The Singing Man: Adapted from a West African Folktale by Angela Shelf Medearis (Holiday House, 1994)*
A couple’s youngest son is forced to leave his West African village because he chooses music over the more practical occupations of his brothers, but years later he returns to show the wisdom of his choice.




Traveling to Tondo: A Tale of the Nkundo of Zaire* by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand (Knopf, 1991)
On his way to his wedding, with his friends as attendants, a civet cat meets with extraordinary and unexpected delays.



Sikulu & Harambe by the Zambezi River: An African Version of the Good Samaritan Story by Kunie Oguneye, illustrated by Bruce McCorkindale (Blue Brush Media, 2008)
Sikulu the spider and Harambe the hippo travel to the village of Sioma where they encounter an old woman whose clothes have fallen into the river, and while the fish, the stork, and the elephant all have convenient excuses for not helping, Sikulu and Harambe come to her aid. Based on an African folktale; includes a glossary of terms and information about Zambian culture.


This for That: A Tonga Tale* by Verna Aardema (Dial 1997)
Rabbit tricks the other animals of the African plain into giving her food and other treats.

Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan (Atheneum 2003)
Vivid cut-paper collage art and exuberant, rhythmic text blend seamlessly in this joyful Zambian folktale about how Blackbird shared a touch of his coveted blackness with the other birds while reminding them about their own inner beauty.

Picture Book Nonfiction

The Elephant Keeper: Caring for Orphaned Elephants in Zambia by Margriet Ruurs & Pedro Covo (Kids Can, 2017)
Documents the story of a devoted advocate for elephant conservation who, as a child in Zambia, rescued a baby elephant and reevaluated his beliefs about elephants as violent predators while visiting a wildlife sanctuary.



Gugu’s House
* by Catherine Stock (Clarion 2001)
Kukamba loves helping her grandmother decorate her mud home in a dusty Zimbabwe village, but when the annual rains partially destroy all her art work, Kukamba learns to see the goodness of the rains.


Party Croc!: A Folktale from Zimbabwe retold by Margaret Read MacDonald (Albert Whitman, 2015)
In this retelling of a Shona folktale from Zimbabwe, a girl promises a crocodile he can come to a party in exchange for a favor, but since crocodiles aren’t allowed in the village, she doesn’t expect she’ll have to keep the promise.

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale* by John Steptoe (Lothrop 1987)
Mufaro’s two beautiful daughters, one bad-tempered, one kind and sweet, go before the king, who is choosing a wife.

Picture Book Nonfiction

The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can by Tererai Trent (Viking, 2015)
Presents the life of the African activist who grew up in rural poverty, went on to receive an education in the United States, and returned to her country of Zimbabwe to rebuild her childhood school.


Tibili: The Little Boy Who Didn’t Want to Go to School
by Marie Leonard (Kane Miller 2001)*
After Tibili, a young African boy, follows Crope the spider’s suggestion as to how he can avoid starting school, he discovers he wants to go after all.

Under the Baobab Tree* by Julie Stiegemeyer (Zondervan 2012)*
Moyo and his sister Japera hurry to the baobab tree in their African village, wondering whether they will find peddlers, conversation among the elders, storytellers, or perhaps something new.


Categories: Countries