KCLS Recommends: Children's World Fiction
Annotation:(Zimbabwe/ England) Wilhelmina grew up wild on a farm in Zimbabwe. When circumstances change, she is sent to England to boarding school. "Lions and hyenas are nothing compared to packs of vicious schoolgirls." Ages 8 - 12.
Annotation:(Sudan) An encouraging story of a young Sudanese refugee's experience. Poetic verse and captivating gray-toned illustrations make this an appealing title for reluctant readers. Includes a historical note, glossary, and pronunciation guide. Grades 5-7
Annotation:(Nigeria/ Canada) Anna Hibiscus, who lives in Africa with her whole family, loves to splash in the sea and have parties for her aunties, but Anna would love to see snow. Don’t miss the other books in this delightful series for young readers. Ages 5-9
Annotation:(Multinational) A little girl's smile as she skips down the street in New York inspires a neighbor to send cookies to her grandson in Mexico, and the goodwill soon spreads around the world . Ages 4 – 8.
Annotation:(Soviet Union, 1930s) In the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, ten-year-old Sasha idolizes his father, a devoted Communist, but when police take his father away and leave Sasha homeless, he is forced to examine his own perceptions, values, and beliefs. Ages 9 – 12.
Annotation:(India) 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. Ages 9-12
Annotation:(France) Having been raised to believe he will die before he reaches the age of fourteen, Pepper Roux runs away on his fourteenth birthday in an attempt to elude his fate, assumes another identity, and continues to try to outrun death, having many adventures in the process. Ages 10-14
Annotation:(Norway) New friends Nilly and Lisa help eccentric professor Doctor Proctor develop his latest invention, a powder that makes one fart, making them very popular at school, but someone is planning to steal the industrial-strength formula for evil purposes. Ages 8-12
Annotation:(Burma) Nick endures servitude, beatings, and more after his British father's plantation in Burma is invaded by the Japanese in 1941, and when his father and others are taken prisoner and Nick is stranded with his friend Mya, they plan a daring escape on elephants. Ages 9-12
Annotation:(India) 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. Ages 8-12
Annotation:(Japan) After many years of retirement, an old Kamishibai man--a Japanese street performer who tells stories and sells candies--decides to make his rounds once more even though such entertainment declined after the advent of television. Ages 6-10
Annotation:(East Africa/ England) Left an orphan after the influenza epidemic in British East Africa in 1918, thirteen-year-old Rachel is tricked into assuming a deceased neighbor's identity to travel to England, where her only dream is to return to Africa and rebuild her parents' mission hospital. Ages 9-12
Annotation: (Sudan) When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Ages 10+
Annotation:(Multinational) Written in English and 12 other languages including Cherokee, Danish, Hebrew and Inuktitut. Mothers and sons in traditional dress recount the important roles mothers play around the world. Beautiful illustrations by award winners Leo and Diane Dillon. All Ages.
Annotation:(Finland) Tove Jansson is revered around the world as one of the foremost children's authors of the twentieth century for her illustrated chapter books regarding the magical worlds of her creation, the Moomins. Ages 9 – 12.
Annotation: (India) When a boy spots a young tree in the middle of the path that runs through the village, he puts rocks around the base of the tree to protect the tree from being trampled. Ages 4 – 7.
Annotation: (Chad) The children arrive on the first day of school for their first lesson: to build the school! Once the school is built, they settle into lessons for the next nine months until the rainy season comes and washes it all away. Ages 4 – 7.
Annotation: (Bangledesh) 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. Ages 7-12
Annotation:(United Kingdom/ Italy) After learning that she was adopted, thirteen-year-old Saffron's relationship with her eccentric, artistic family changes, until they help her go back to Italy where she was born to find a special momento of her past. Ages 9+
Annotation:(Japan) 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. Ages 9-12
Annotation:(Antarctica) Sophie Scott is only nine years old, but she's going to Antarctica on an icebreaker with her dad, the ship's captain. During the voyage to Mawson Station and back, Sophie keeps a diary. Ages 6 -9
Annotation:(19th century London) When Clara vanishes after the puppeteer Grisini and two orphaned assistants were at her twelfth birthday party, suspicion of kidnapping chases the trio away from London. Soon the two orphans are caught in a trap set by Grisini's ancient rival. Ages 9 - 13.
Annotation:(Netherlands) Squirrel and ant discover a mysterious feast with an invisible host in the depths of a forest in this collection of nine charming short stories about friendship, dancing, memories, and lots of cake. Ages 5-8
Annotation:(Switzerland) In a tiny village in the Swiss Alps, an angel meets an American girl named Zola who has come with her father to open a school. Together Zola and the angel rescue a group of homeless orphans. Ages 8-12
Annotation:(Multinational) A composite of global cultures, Walk this World celebrates the everyday similarities and differences that exist between cultures around the world. Ages 5 - 8.
Annotation:(Korea) 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. Ages 9-12
Annotation:(England) In 1599 England, twelve-year-old lying, thieving Will Sparrow runs away, meets many colorful characters on the road, and then reluctantly joins a traveling "oddities" exhibit, where he learns to see beyond appearances. Ages 8 – 12.
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“World Fiction” can be from any place on earth, however, the spirit of this booklist is to highlight countries and cultures outside the U.S.A. and to encourage children to travel outside of the “American” experience through literature. Books on the list do not have to be strictly “realistic,” although, fantasy settings and folklore may be excluded. i.e. “magical realism” and metaphorical fiction may be included. The list may include picture books, graphic novels, and chapter books. Books will be selected by qualified librarians based on their quality, availability and kid appeal.