Around the World in 80 Books (Part 2)

Welcome back to the second part of Around the World in 80 books!  If you haven’t read Part One, click here

passport booksGet your passport!  This month, we are off to explore South America, Europe, and the Middle East – one book at a time.  If you can’t physically visit a country to immerse yourself in their culture, the next best thing is to immerse yourself into the life of a person from that country.  Whenever our family has a chance to talk with a friend or a family member who is from another country, we invite them over for tea and conversation.  One of our favorite tea times was with a friend of mine from Bible study.  As usual, my friend who is from Malaysia arrived in traditional Malaysian clothing and was bearing yummy gifts for the kids and my hubby.  Christy loves to cook, so we invited her to our home to share stories of her growing up and to cook lunch!  (Yes, I actually invited a friend over and asked her to cook our lunch!)  The kids and I had a blast!  She brought authentic spices from Malaysia and even produce from her own garden.  She invited the kids to help her prepare the meal while she explained what the foods and spices were, some of her favorite childhood stories that revolved around the meal she was preparing and even taught us some Mayla words.  Christy also brought pictures and books and told us all about her home town, her family, and her country.  She even taught us how to play one of her favorite Malaysian games.

suitcase booksIf you don’t have any friends or acquaintances from far away and exotic lands, the next best thing is to become friends with a character in a book.  We can learn so much about a country and its culture through the eyes of someone who lives there (fictional or real).  This month, let’s explore South America first and visit the Carnaval in Brazil!  (Hey, I am from N’awlins after all!  We love a carnaval!) It was hard to choose, but here is a list of our top ten favorite books about South America, Europe (so, so, so many to choose from) and the Middle East.


  1. Cassio’s Day:  Brazil by Maria De Fatima (This is a great non-fiction, photographic book series)  (Brazil)
  2. Ada’s Violin by Susan Hood  (Paraguay)
  3. From Dawn to Dusk:  Enrique’s Day by Sara A. Fajardo  (Peru)
  4. My Name is Gabriela by Monica Brown  (Chile)
  5. The Lost City:  The Discovery of Machu Picchu by Ted Lewin  (Peru)
  6. Treasure Hunters:  Quest for the City of Gold by James Patterson (Peru)
  7. Nate Saint:  On a Wing and a Prayer by Janet Benge (Ecuador)
  8. Up and Down the Andes by Laurie Krebs (Peru)
  9. Cameron Townsend:  Good News in Every Language by Janet Benge (Central America)
  10. Waiting for the Bibloburro by Monica Brown  (Colombia)

**Don’t forget about the Count Your Way Through series.  Count Your Way Through Brazil by Jim Haskins was one of our favorites.



  1. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (Denmark)
  2. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (France)
  3. The Adventures of Robin Hood (England)
  4. The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning (Germany)
  5. D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire (Greece)
  6. Fiona’s Lace by Patricia Polacco and Patrick:  Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola (Ireland)
  7. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi (Italy)
  8. Heidi by Johanna Spyri (Swiss Alps)
  9. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (Europe in general)
  10. The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson (Austria)

**Han’s Christian Andersen’s Fairytales are full of European imagery, folktales, and landscapes.  You must check out my favorite art series, Katie and the Sunflowers (and the other Katie books)  by James Mayhew.  Katie has the ability to jump into masterpieces and interact with the painter and the people in the painting.  These are great books to read while studying Europe and its great masters.  ***



  1. Arabian Nights:  Retold from the Classic Tales by Classic Starts (Middle East)
  2. The Legend of the Persian Carpet (Persia / Iran)
  3. Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco (Israel)
  4. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson (Pakistan)
  5. One Grain of Rice by Demi (India)
  6. Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn (Afganistan)
  7. Just So Stories and The Jungle Book by Kipling (India)
  8. Who is Gandhi? and Who is Mother Theresa? (Who is Series)
  9. The Librarian of Basra:  A True Story from Iraq by Jennette Winters
  10. The Hungry Coat:  A Tale from Turkey by Demi

**Don’t forget about the Count Your Way Through series.  There are many Middle Eastern and European countries in this series.  Count Your Way Through Iran by Jim Haskins is a more recent publication and is beautifully illustrated.



indian food.jpgThe best part about “traveling” around the world is trying new foods. Make sure you try out some local ethnic restaurants in your area and attempt to make authentic recipes from around the world.  We even tried to find markets and grocery stores that specialized in a particular culture. This way we could try some of the spices, produce and goodies a country was known for.  When my family and I started “traveling around the world” as part of our Year One cycle, I needed to purchase cookbooks.  Today, delicious ethnic recipes are just click away on the internet or just ask Siri.

Enjoy your homeschooling adventures this month!  Check back next month for Part Three.  We will travel to Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Sayonara, adios and aloha,

Carrie De Francisco

***Mark your calendars for March 27-28th.  If you live in the southern California area, we would love for you to join us for our next homeschooling mom event:  Homeschooling Adventures:  A Weekend to Refresh, Rest and Rejuvenate.  It will be a weekend of encouragement, refreshment, and fellowship.  During our Saturday morning session, Passport to Learning, we will share more on the topic of how to travel the world (literally and figuratively) through books, field trips, games and family vacations.   For more information on the event and sessions, visit our tab “Upcoming Events.”  Make sure you “like” and “follow” our blog for monthly topics on Christian homeschooling and for updates on our registration for our homeschooling mom event in March.***

Check out our Upcoming Events Tab for details of each session and links to register.  See you in March!

homeschool adventure image


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