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KCLS Recommends: Children's World Fiction

Deep in the Sahara
Deep in the Sahara By Cunnane, Kelly (Book - 2013 ) E CUNNANE Available in some locations

Annotation:(Mauritania) A young girl in the West African country of Mauritania, wants more than anything to wear the scarf or "malafa" that the women she admire wear.

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms
Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms By Rundell, Katherine (Book - 2014 ) J RUNDELL Available in some locations

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.

The Red Pencil
The Red Pencil By Pinkney, Andrea Davis (Book - 2014 ) J PINKNEY Available in some locations Holds: 1 on 13 copies

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

Anna Hibiscus
Anna Hibiscus By Atinuke (Book - 2010 ) J ATINUKE Available in some locations Holds: 1 on 15 copies

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

Because Amelia Smiled
Because Amelia Smiled By Stein, David Ezra (Book - 2012 ) E STEIN Available in some locations

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.

Breaking Stalin's Nose
Breaking Stalin's Nose By Yelchin, Eugene (Book - 2011 ) J YELCHIN Available in some locations Holds: 2 on 36 copies

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.

Boys Without Names
Boys Without Names By Sheth, Kashmira (Book - 2010 ) J SHETH Available in some locations Holds: 4 on 88 copies

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

The Death-defying Pepper Roux
The Death-defying Pepper Roux By McCaughrean, Geraldine (Book - 2010 ) J MCCAUGHREAN Available in some locations

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

Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder
Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder By Nesbø, Jo, 1960- (Book - 2010 ) J NESBO Available in some locations

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

Elephant Run
Elephant Run By Smith, Roland, 1951- (Book - 2007 ) Y SMITH Available in some locations

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

Homeless Bird
Homeless Bird By Whelan, Gloria (Book - 2000 ) J WHELAN Available in some locations

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

Journey to the River Sea
Journey to the River Sea By Ibbotson, Eva (Book - 2002 ) J IBBOTSON Available in some locations

Annotation:(Brazil) Sent with her governess to live among the the dreadful Carter family in exotic Brazil, Maia endures many hardships before fulfilling her dream of exploring the Amazon River.

Kamishibai Man
Kamishibai Man By Say, Allen (Book - 2005 ) E SAY Available in some locations

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

Listening for Lions
Listening for Lions By Whelan, Gloria (Book - 2006 ) J WHELAN Available in some locations Holds: 3 on 40 copies

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

A Long Walk to Water
A Long Walk to Water A Novel By Park, Linda Sue (Book - 2011 ) J PARK Available in some locations Holds: 5 on 90 copies

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+

Mama Says
Mama Says A Book of Love for Mothers and Sons By Walker, Rob D. (Book - 2009 ) E WALKER Available in some locations

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.

Moomin [Volume One] : the Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip By Jansson, Tove (Book - 2006 ) 741.569489 JAN V.1 Available in some locations Holds: 3 on 7 copies

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.

Off to Market
Off to Market By Dale, Elizabeth (Book - 2013 ) E DALE Available in some locations

Annotation:We're off to market (in Uganda) but when the bus gets stuck and someone must get off to lighten the load, who will do it? Ages 3- 8

Out of the Way! Out of the Way!
Out of the Way! Out of the Way! By Krishnaswami, Uma, 1956- (Book - 2012 ) E KRISHNASWAMI Available in some locations

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.

Rain School
Rain School By Rumford, James, 1948- (Book - 2010 ) E RUMFORD Available in some locations Holds: 1 on 22 copies

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.

Rickshaw Girl
Rickshaw Girl By Perkins, Mitali (Book - 2007 ) J PERKINS Available in some locations

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

Saffy's Angel
Saffy's Angel By McKay, Hilary (Book - 2002 ) J MCKAY Available in some locations

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+

Seven Paths to Death
Seven Paths to Death By Hoobler, Dorothy (Book - 2008 ) J HOOBLER Available in some locations

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

Sophie Scott Goes South
Sophie Scott Goes South By Lester, Alison (Book - 2013 ) E LESTER Available in some locations

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

Splendors and Glooms
Splendors and Glooms By Schlitz, Laura Amy (Book - 2012 ) J SCHLITZ Available in some locations Holds: 3 on 35 copies

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.

The Squirrel's Birthday and Other Parties
The Squirrel's Birthday and Other Parties Stories By Tellegen, Toon (Book - 2009 ) J TELLEGEN SS Available in some locations Holds: 2 on 14 copies

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

The Unfinished Angel
The Unfinished Angel By Creech, Sharon (Book - 2009 ) J CREECH Available in some locations

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

The Unforgotten Coat
The Unforgotten Coat By Cottrell Boyce, Frank (Book - 2011 ) J COTTRELL BOYCE Available in some locations

Annotation:(United Kingdom) When two Mongolian brothers appear one morning in Julie's sixth grade class, no one, least of all Julie, knows what to make of them. Ages 8-12

Walk This World
Walk This World A Celebration of Life in A Day By Broom, Jenny (Book - 2013 ) E BROOM Available in some locations Holds: 1 on 12 copies

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.

When My Name Was Keoko
When My Name Was Keoko By Park, Linda Sue (Book - 2002 ) Y PARK Available in some locations Holds: 1 on 19 copies

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

Will Sparrow's Road
Will Sparrow's Road By Cushman, Karen (Book - 2012 ) J CUSHMAN Available in some locations

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.

Year of Impossible Goodbyes
Year of Impossible Goodbyes By Choi, Sook Nyul (Book - 1991 ) J CHOI Available in some locations

Annotation:(Korea) 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. Ages 9-12


“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.

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