Global-Focused Books for Kids
Reading books together is a great way to expose kids to other people and cultures around the world. Our kids can learn that these people are real, and while their lives may be very different from ours, God loves them just as much as He loves us. In fact, God made them uniquely different, and we can appreciate and honor those differences while recognizing that we all need the same Savior — Jesus.
-Love Does for Kids by Bob Goff and Lindsey Goff Vinducich
Our family loves Bob Goff after hearing him speak at a Seed Company event. He inspired our son, Mack, to be brave and follow God wherever He leads.
Mack and I listened to this book in Audible, which was really fun. Bob is the narrator, and he is incredibly full of life. Bob tells the best stories (which are crazily true) and teaches kids how to love BIG, which is really what mission and global outreach is all about. I hope that my sons will live life with radical love and fearless surrender to God — the way that Bob Goff lives every day.
-With Two Hands: True Stories of God at Work in Ethiopia by Rebecca Davis
This is the first book in a series called Hidden Heroes, featuring incredible true stories of Ethiopian communities being transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love how the book starts with missionary Dick McLellan’s own encounter with Christ when he was a boy in Australia. Then it includes his experiences as an adult missionary in Ethiopia along with true-life accounts from native people.
I enjoy reading this very inspiring book with our son Mack. I suggest reading this one with your kids so you can clarify some details for them. It might be most appropriate for ages 9 and up.
-Around the World with Kate & Mack from Wycliffe Bible Translators by Melissa Paredes
This timeless treasure is a wonderful book for all ages and a great resource to get started in learning about different nations and cultures. The author highlights a people group for every letter of the alphabet and provides cultural details, photos, and Biblical references that are easy for kids to understand. The two main characters are Kate (a young girl) and Mack (a parrot), who travel the globe learning about different people groups. Of course, our son Mack thinks this is super fun! A helpful introduction explains Bible translation in very simple and easy-to-understand terms.
I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s invaluable!
Wycliffe created several other resources featuring Kate and Mack that are helpful too, including a world map, games, and Scripture cards. Check out their website for all the goodies.
-The Whole World Needs Jesus by Ann Dunagan
This sweet, beautifully illustrated book appeals to all ages. It teaches kids that the lives of many people around the world are different from ours, and that they need to know the Good News about Jesus. This easy-to-read, rhyming story would be great to read together as a family. Younger kids can easily follow the story, which provides an imaginative way to introduce them to other cultures and people.
-The Fishless Fisherman by Ann Dunagan
In this fun story, Ann teaches kids that we are all God’s fishermen, and that we all get to share about Jesus. We learn about a man who spends a lot of time learning to fish, but he never actually tries fishing. When he meets a successful fisherman, he realizes he needs to put into practice all the things he has been learning. Our son easily connected the symbolism about fishing and sharing his faith with others. This book explains how to be a “fisher of men” to kids, and it reminds me of the parables that Jesus shared.
-Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina Lazo Gilmore
I love books that teach our kids something without them realizing they are learning. That’s exactly what Dorina does in Cora Cooks Pancit, which is based on her true story. Cora is a young girl of Filipino heritage, and she learns to cook pancit with her mama. Pancit is a traditional Filipino dish made with chicken, vegetables, spices, and rice noodles. While they are cooking, Cora learns all about her Lolo — her grandpa — and his life as a cook for the Filipino farmworkers in California when he first immigrated to the U.S. Dorina includes a helpful glossary of words in Tagalog, which is one of the most common languages in the Philippines. She also shares her Lolo’s pancit recipe, which would be fun to make as a family.
-Nate Saint: On a Wing and a Prayer by Janet and Geoff Benge
This book has been highly recommended by several friends. I can’t wait to read it with our son Mack. It is the classic story of Nate Saint, the missionary pilot who was killed by the infamous Auca tribe in Ecuador.
The story is written for older children, but I suggest reading it together at first since it includes information about Nate’s death. Our son is fascinated by aviation, and I know he’s going to love all the details about Nate’s passion for planes and flying.
-Psalm Prayers for the Nations by Sarah Keeling
If you are looking for a great way to incorporate global prayer into your family, I recently published a book helping families pray for the nations. The book can help your family step deeper into the work God is doing around the world. Our family has been forever changed by praying the Psalms for our Bible translation friends in Oaxaca, Mexico.
This simple, easy-to-use book of prayers offers an opportunity for families to spend a few minutes together praying the Psalms for the nations, specifically those who have heard very little about Jesus. Forty families each chose a Psalm and offered praises, thanks, and requests based on the attributes of God in the verses. Each prayer focuses on one of the following areas: Bible translators, missionaries, global pastors, and those who are waiting to hear the Good News.
These are just a few of our favorites, but many more engaging books are available to help kids learn about different people around the world and the richness of their cultures.
Kim Sorgius at Not Consumed has a comprehensive list of “Mission Books Kids Love” on her blog. Check it out for more ideas.