Compassion at the Library

Here are some great books about Compassion countries for kids and families! You may be able to find them at your local library.



E is for Ethiopia by Ashenafi Gudeta
I really like books that walk you through the alphabet while telling about a country! This book is full of colorful photos of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia (Fiesta series) by Negash Debebe andHabte Lakew
Describes the festivals of Ethiopia and how their food and activities reflect the culture of the people.

Ethiopia (Continent in the Balance) by Robert I. Rotberg

Modern World Nations: Ethiopia by Carol Ann Gillespie


One Hen: How a Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway
This picture book is an excellent illustration of the transformative power of microloans- what seems like a small purchase, just a hen, has the power to change a village, a community, and even a country!

In the Small, Small Night by Jane Kurtz
Two small children from Ghana, recently moved to the United States, tell traditional folktales at bedtime.

The Royal Drum by Mary Dixon Lake
An Ashanti folktale is presented in an interactive way- young readers will enjoy memorizing the symbols at the beginning of the book and helping grown-ups tell the story when they see the symbols!

The Spider Weaver: A Legend of Kente Cloth by Margaret Musgrove
A lovely picture book sharing the centuries-old legend of how kente cloth came to be. 

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah: Champion for Ghana's Disabled by Leanne K. Currie-McGhee
This biography for older kids tells the story of athlete Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, an amputee athlete who works to make life better for disabled children in Ghana!

Colors of Ghana by Holly Littlefield
Each  page of this vibrant book shares a color, both in English and Ashanti, and describes something about the culture of Ghana as it related to that color.

We Visit Ghana by John Bankston
A great introduction to Ghana for older elementary aged students!

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson
"Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled. Thompson's lyrical prose and Qualls's bold collage illustrations offer a powerful celebration of triumphing over adversity."


Discover Kenya by Chris Ward
This book is chock full of photos, graphs, fun facts, and other info about Kenya! It would be best for third grade students and up.

Festivals of the World: Kenya by Falaq Kagda
This book series shows us several festivals and celebrations from around the world- and this this volume is about Kenya!

Countries of the World: Kenya by  Bridget Giles
A book from the series by National Geographic. These books also include a timeline of the country's history, a glossary of terms, and lots of fun facts.

Nations of the World: Kenya by Bridget Giles
Another fun encyclopedia-style book about Kenya!

Papa, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joose
A sweet picture book about a Maasai boy questioning the depth of his father's love.

Ndito Runs by Laurie Halse Anderson
Every day many children in Kenya run miles to school--so does Ndito. From her village in the highlands she runs barefoot, across ridges and down hills, under baobab trees and through tall grass. As she runs she calls up animal dreams to keep her company--she imagines she's floating like a gazelle and soaring like a crane. Anderson's text and van der Merwe's paintings evoke the sights, sounds and the feeling of Africa.

Kenya (Globe Trotter's Club) by Sean McCollum

First Come the Zebra by Lynne Barasch
A pretty picture book about the Maasai in Kenya, and the Great Migration!

Kenya in Colors by Sara Louise Kras
I love this series, which shows how different colors relate to various countries! An example would be the red cotton robes of the Maasai.


Rwanda by Andy Koopmans
Informational book from the "Continent in the Balance" series. It contains lots of pictures, which I like.

We Visit Rwanda by John Bankston
One fun thing about this series is that it includes a couple of recipes!


Cultures of the World: Tanzania by Jay Heale
This book is a bit old, but I love all the pictures inside. Most of the information isn't outdated- it contains mostly cultural information, rather than statistics.

Imani's Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood
I love this sweet story about a little Maasai girl named Imani! An author's note at the end tells of the jumping dance called adumu.

In a Cloud of Dust by Alma Fullerton

Anansi Finds a Fool by Verna Aardema
The Anansi stories are folktales from West Africa. While this book does not specifically mention Togo, the tale it tells is from this region!
Kente Colors by Debbi Chocolate
Kente is a type of colorful cloth worn by people in some West African countries- including the Ewe people of Togo. While this book does not specifically take place in Togo, the gorgeous illustrations depict life in West Africa.

Countries of the World: Uganda by Kingsley Ohgojafor
An overview of Uganda, filled with plenty of pictures and lots of information.
Enchantment of the World: Uganda by Ettagale Blauer
Describes the geography, history, culture, industry and people of the country nick-named "The Pearl of Africa."


Bangladesh (Enchantment of the World series) by Tamra B. Orr

Facts About Countries: Bangladesh by Michael March

This helpful and informative book provides an overview of the country of Bangladesh, and includes online resources for further reading!

Twenty-Two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank by Paula Yoo
This awesome storybook tells the true story of a man from what is now Bangladesh who worked to build a community bank so women in his region could take out microloans and start their own businesses! He had a great idea for breaking the cycle of poverty in his city- and even won the Nobel Prize in 2006!

Count Your Way Through India  by Jim Haskins
This book shows the reader the Hindi characters fr the numbers 1-10, and shares something about India for each number. For example, for "three" we learn about the three pieces of furniture Mahatma Gandhi owned after he vowed to live a simple life (a cot to sleep on, a mat to sleep on, and a spinning wheel.)
Cultural Traditions in India by Molly Aloian
This is a gorgeous book which talks about different holidays and festivals in India! It's so colorful and pretty!
First Reports: India by Sarah E. De Capua
This simple, small book provides elementary-aged readers with an overview of Indian history and culture.
Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia
A young boy enjoys a visit with his grandparents from India!
I is for India by Prodeepta Das
This lovely book takes the reader on a tour of India by way of the alphabet! D is for Diwali, E is for Elephant...this book is really neat!
India (Fiesta series) by Susie Dawson
Discusses the festivals of India and how their songs, recipes, and traditions reflect the culture of the people.
Meet Our New Student from India by Khadija Ejaz
The "meet our new student" series is a fun and creative way to introduce cultures to kids! In this volume, we're introduced to "Jai", a fictional boy from India who has moved to the United States. The book is about his classmates learning about his country before his arrival!


Indonesia (Cultures of the World series) by Gouri Mirpuri

Indonesia (Ask About Asia series)  by Judith Simpson


Philippines (Social Studies Explorer series) by Vicky Franchino
This bright book is full of information on the Philippines for older elementary students. It would be a great resource for school projects!

Lakas and the Manilatown Fish by Anthony D. Robles
This picture book is fun because not only does it tell a story set in the Philippines, but it also includes the Tagalog translation alongside the English!

It's Cool to Learn About Countries: Philippines by Vicky Franchino
This informative, fun, social studies book is best for older elementary students.

Christmas in the Philippines from World Book
This book takes a small amount of information- a mention of Christmas traditions from an encyclopedia article- and expands on it. The book provides lots of information about Christmas festivities in the Philippines, and also includes recipes and crafts.

Spotlight on the Philippines by Bobbie Kalman
This is a fun and colorful book providing basic details about the Philippines and Filipino culture!

Children of the Philippines by Sheila Kinkade
This book is full of photographs of little kids in the Philippines! It's a bit older but lots of fun to look at!

Seahorse Reef: A Story of the South Pacific by Sally M. Walker
Seahorse Reef is a real place in the Philippines! There are tons of seahorses there, and it's fun to read about the conservation efforts taking place in that region.

Pedro and the Monkey by Robert D. San Souci
A trickster tale from the Philippines. This story is a lot like "Puss in Boots!"

The Philippines by Tammy Mildenstein (Modern World Nations series)
An informational book for older elementary aged students.

Filipino Children's Favorite Stories by Liana Romulo
A collection of folk tales and fairy tales from the Philippines.

Philippines (Modern World Nations series) by Tammy Mildenstein

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka (Countries of the World series) by Krishnan Guruswamy
This book is essentially an expanded encyclopedia entry on Sri Lanka. It is intended for older elementary aged students.


The Cooking of Thailand by Matthew Locricchio (Super Chef series)
This fun book is for older kids and their families. Many traditional (and sometimes familiar) Thai dishes are represented here. I like the fact that they include the name of the dish in Thai!

Cooking the Thai Way by Supenn Harrison and Judy Monroe
Here's another family Thai cookbook! This is geared toward older children, with some assistance from adults on a few dishes. There are also cultural notes and menu suggestions.

Cultural Traditions in Thailand by Molly Aloian
This book shares about a dozen different Thai holidays and celebrations!

Festivals of the World: Thailand by Harlinah White
This book series shows us several festivals and celebrations from around the world- and this this volume is about Thailand!

Central America & the Caribbean

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic: A Book by Pat McCarthy
This book is part of a series, and it's kind of interesting- it's supposed to look like a website all printed out, and aims to help kids with internet research and proper citation. This book is part of a series of ten books, each profiling the top ten countries of origin for recent immigrants.


Children of Guatemala by Jules Hermes
This book is a little dated, but it does a good job showing us a look at life in Guatemala! Kids will especially like seeing all the Guatemalan little bitties!

Guatemala in Colors by Ann Stalcup
A beautiful, colorful book depicting Guatemalan life as it relates to the colors of the rainbow!

Cultures of the World: Guatemala by Sean Sheehan
Another encyclopedia-style book. This one is a little older, but it still has lots of fun pictures!

Guatemala (National Geographic Countries of the World series) by Anita Croy
A very colorful book about the history and culture of Guatemala.


Eight Days: A Story of Haiti by Edwidge Danticat
This picture book is about a little boy who was trapped under his house for eight days after the earthquake in 2010. He used his imagination to try to cope with the fear of being trapped. Each day, he imagined participating in his regular, daily activities in Haiti.

Bouki Dances the Kioko by Diane Wolkstein
This book relays a traditional trickster folktale from Haiti!

Josias, Hold the Book by Jennifer Riesmeyer Elvgren
Young Josias is a Haitian boy who puts off his schoolwork in order to plant beans for his family- but when they aren't growing, Josias learns that books can help him know the best way to grow food for his family!

Meet Our New Student from Haiti by John A. Torres
Another volume in the series mentioned earlier, a class is learning about Haitian culture in preparation for their new classmate Jean Paul's arrival.

Circles of Hope by Karen Lynn Williams
Facile wants to give a gift to his new baby sister, so he decides to plant a tree. His efforts are thwarted over and over, until at last he finds the perfect place and the perfect way to get his sister's tree to grow!

Haiti by Jim Bartell
Provides basic information about the land and people of Haiti.

Children of Yayoute by Francois Turenne de Pres
A collection of traditional folktales from Haiti

Earthquake in Haiti by Miriam Aronin
This book includes lots of information and many pictures from the 2010 earthquake. It also follows some real people who were trapped and who were involved in the rescue efforts. Learning about the earthquake can be scary, but it is integral to understanding Haitian life.

Hope for Haiti by Jesse Joshua Watson
A young boy in Haiti learns the healing power of games (namely soccer) after the 2010 earthquake.

Enchantment of the World: Haiti by Martin Hintz
This book is like a mini-encyclopedia about Haiti. It's full of pictures, too!


Armando and the Blue Tarp School by Edith Hope Fine
Young Armando and his father work as trash pickers at a dump in Tijuana, Mexico. Armando wants to go to school, but can his family afford to let him learn rather than work? The book is based on a real person, a teacher who taught at the dump in Tijuana for almost 30 years.

Cooking the Mexican Way by Rosa Coronado
Part of a multi-volume series, these books share menu plans and recipes from Mexico. There are also a few cultural notes about the country as well.

Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story by Tomie de Paola
A retelling of the popular folktale, set this time in Mexico

Foods of Mexico  by Barbara Sheen

The Fabulous Firework Family by James Flora
This fun picture book tells the story of a family in Mexico preparing to celebrate holidays with fireworks. The book includes many Spanish words and phrases, and explains that fireworks are a welcome addition at many Mexican celebrations!

Cultural Traditions in Mexico
This colorful non-fiction book details Mexican holidays and celebrations throughout the year.

Meet Our New Student from Mexico by Tamra Orr
The "meet our new student" series is a fun and creative way to introduce cultures to kids! In this volume, we're introduced to "Kimberly", a fictional girl from Mexico who has moved to the United States. The book is basically her sharing about her country's history and culture!

Isabel's House of Butterflies by Tony Johnston
This picture book, which is based on a true story, tells the tale of how a butterfly sanctuary came to be in Mexico. The fact that the sanctuary exists largely in part thanks to a small child is pretty awesome- and it's fun learning about the butterfly migration!

Christmas in Mexico by Cheryl L. Enderlein
A colorful and informative book about Christmas traditions in Mexico! This short book is best for early readers.

Mexico in Colors by Ann Stalcup
In this book, young readers are introduced to Mexico through colors- grey represents the Mayan pyramids, green for iguanas, red embroidery on the clothing of indigenous people, etc.) There are several other books in this series which profile Compassion countries as well!

The Cooking of Mexico by Matthew Locricchio
This cookbook is fun for the whole family- kids are given fairly easy recipes for Mexican foods, and are directed to seek an adult's assistance when necessary (such as when knives or stove tops are involved.)

Mexico (Social Studies Explorers) by Barbara A. Somervill
This is a bright and informative profile of Mexico, intended for upper elementary kids. It's an excellent resource!

The Cooking of Mexico by Matthew Locricchio (Super Chef series)
This book works best for older children and their families. Many familiar and traditional Mexican dishes are represented here, along with cultural notes and Spanish translations for the dishes.

Cultural Traditions in Mexico by Lynn Peppas
This book shares a dozen different Mexican holidays and celebrations!

Christmas in Mexico (Christmas Around the World series from Worldbook)
This book contains lots of information about the Christmas holidays in Mexico. It is an expansion of the Worldbook encyclopedia's section on Mexico!

Mexico: Enchantment of the World by R. Conrad Stein
Best  for older elementary aged students, this book is full of gorgeous photos and tons of information!

Country Explorers: Mexico by Lerner Publishing Group
This is a basic profile of Mexico, but one thing I especially like about it is that it gives some information on the First Peoples of the country, and what areas of the country in which they live.

A Ticket to Mexico by Tom Streissguth
An introduction to Mexico for early readers.

Let's Go Traveling in Mexico by Robin Rector Krupp
"In this entertaining and educational picture book, Quetzalcoatl, the Toltec and Aztec god represented by a feathered serpent, takes readers on a year-long tour of Mexico. The simple text reads like a story with a smattering of interesting statistics and facts....A great introduction to the history, geography, and culture of our neighbors south of the border."--School Library Journal

Christianity in Mexico by Frances Hawker
"Christianity in Mexico follows Ariceli during the Fiesta of Saint Anthony. Join in as her village celebrates the festival of their patron saint, and she takes part in her first Holy Communion." - from the back of the book

Festivals of the World: Mexico by Elizabeth Berg

South America


The Children of Bolivia by Jules Hermes
This excellent book shows us how children in various areas of Bolivia live. It's filled with many color photographs of these cute little kids!

Bolivia: A Portrait of the Country Through Its Festivals and Traditions by Hannah Beardon (Fiesta series)
This book is a little older, but it has lots of information about festivals and celebrations in Bolivia!


Foods of Brazil by Barbara Sheen
Not only does this book provide recipes for some Brazilian dishes, it also tells us about the crops grown in the country, as well as which dishes are served for holidays and festivals.

A Visit to Brazil - Heinemann First Library Series
This elementary-aged book provides small children with an overview of Brazil, from typical homes and landmarks to holidays, foods, and sports!

Caopeira: Game! Dance! Martial Art!
This book introduces the Brazilian hybrid dance/martial art called "capoeira." It also includes many Portuguese terms and facts about Brazilian music and culture.

Brazilian Foods and Culture (Festive Foods and Celebrations series)
This book for elementary-aged readers describe several celebrations from Brazil, and provides easy recipes for foods that may be served throughout the country.

Count Your Way Through Brazil by Jim Haskins
This colorful counting book brings us through the Brazilian Portuguese for one through ten, providing information about the country along the way.

Christmas in Brazil from World Book
This book is a bit older, but it's still fun to look at! It's like an expanded encyclopedia article focusing on Christmas traditions in Brazil.

Cultural Traditions in Brazil by Molly Aloian
This book describes a dozen different holidays and celebrations in Brazil!

Brazil: A Portrait of the Country Through Its Festivals and Traditions (Fiesta series) by Charles Phillips
Describes the festivals of Brazil, showing how the celebrations with their songs, foods, and activities express the customs and beliefs of the people.

Amazon Journey: Cruising the Rain Forest by Gare Thompson
National Geographic published this little non-fiction chapter book, which takes readers through the Amazon Rain Forest in Brazil.

Enchantment of the World: Brazil by Ann Heinrichs
Scholastic published this series of books about countries around the world. It's up to date and includes lots of pictures.


Tuki and Moka: A Tale of Two Tamarins by Judy Young
A young Ecuadorean boy helps rescue local wildlife from traffickers.

Children of the Ecuadorean Highlands by Barbara Beirne
This fun book provides lots of information about Ecuador, and specifically focuses on the kids who live there.


We Visit Peru by Bonnie Hinman
Part of the "Your Land is My Land." This informational book for older elementary-aged kids is full of gorgeous photographs, interesting statistics, and an easy-to-understand narrative about the culture of Peru.

A Child's Day in a Peruvian City by Sara Andrea Fajardo
This picture-filled book follows a little boy named Enrique through his day in Ayacucho, Peru. It's filled with fun facts about Peruvian culture and Spanish phrases, too!

Welcome to Peru by Dora Yip
Part of the "Welcome To My Country" series, this colorful book provides some basic information about the people of Peru.

Up and Down the Andes: A Peruvian Festival Tale by Laurie Krebs
This picture book takes us through Peru with rhyming text, describing the culture and festivals of the country.

Festivals of the World: Peru by Leslie Jermyn
This book series shows us several festivals and celebrations from around the world- and this this volume is about Peru!

Peru (Fiesta series) by Charles Phillips
Discusses the festivals of Peru and how its songs, recipes, and traditions reflect the culture of the people.

Exploring Countries: Peru by Lisa Owings
This elementary-level book gives the basics about Peruvian culture. It has lots of nice photos!

Peru: A Question and Answer Book by Muriel L. Dubois
The format for this book is really fun! It asks questions like "What are Peru's main industries?" and "What are the traditional foods of Peru" and answers them!


  1. What an incredible idea! I've bookmarked this page.

  2. This is awesome! Thanks so much for compiling this fantastic resource!

  3. This is wonderful!!! As a homeschooling Mom and child sponsor, we will use this. Thank you!

  4. This is amazing!!!!!!! Do you mind putting a short line at the end of your description just stating youth or adult? For when I skim your list in the library with Juanito grabbing my arm ;) Thanks again for all your work!!!!!!! This is incredible. I love you for this!!!!

  5. Hey everyone! I'm glad you like the list- as a quick note, all the books on here are for children, up to about fifth grade. Even the cookbooks! : )


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