• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Want to get organized in 2022? Let Dokkio put your cloud files (Drive, Dropbox, and Slack and Gmail attachments) and documents (Google Docs, Sheets, and Notion) in order. Try Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) for free. Available on the web, Mac, and Windows.


BookTrek: the Countries How-To

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 6 months ago


BookTrek: The Countries




All of our programming for kindergartners through third graders follows a similar structure. We create hour long programs based on a particular subject. We incorporate adult and teen volunteers, trying hard to include male volunteers if possible. The program consists of storytelling, question and answer time, music, and hands-on activities like games, crafts, and science experiments. There is a mix of small group activities and whole group activities.  We build in opportunities for kids to use their five senses and to be active and involved in the program through audience participation. We generally include food during the school-year programs but not in our summer programs because the size of the group is so much larger during the summer.



Each week in Booktrek: the Countries kids learn about a different country through a game or dance, songs, stories, maps, crafts, food, and conversation about country information.  We have done BookTreks for 45 plus countries.



We generally do this program in six week sessions. For each session we try to have a country from every continent and some well known countries balanced with some lesser known countries. Before turning in the publicity that details the countries that we will be covering, we try and do some preliminary planning, making sure that we can find a few really good stories to share and a craft and game. Some countries are very easy to research and gather stories and activities for but some take more work and more creative searching. We try to stay culturally accurate and only do things that we can prove with research would be from that country. See attached booklist for resources that can help with your planning.


When searching for stories, we often look for folklore first. Storytelling is a huge component to this program, and we often tell or read stories for 20-30 minutes.


Structure of the Program

At the beginning of the program, while we are waiting for everyone to arrive, kids sign-in, put on a nametag, and then get their passport stamped. Kids fill out a “passport” that has room for personal information like their name, their school, their favorite country, and their favorite book. The passport includes the flags of all the different countries we will be visiting during that session, and they get a stamp over each flag each week. If a child misses a week, they can read a book about that country and still receive a stamp in their passport. Once we have a large enough group, the volunteers start the game.



After the game, we gather the kids into one group and introduce the country.

1. We have a large inflatable globe and will point to Europe and say something like “Is Australia here?” We point to several incorrect areas and then ask the kids to help us point to the right area by saying things like “You need to go left or up or down etc.”

2. We share interesting facts about the country taken from nonfiction books and CultureGrams (an online source that our library subscribes to). We ask the kids what they know about the country. Sometimes if a child or volunteer can speak the language of that country, we will ask them to teach us something.

3. We often have music playing in the background during the game and during the craft, but sometimes we play music during this introduction time and ask the kids what they think the song is about or we or the volunteers might teach them a song from that country.



Stories are next, and we try to choose stories that have audience participation. The kids love the storytelling, and afterwards we often talk about the story and any questions that the kids may have.



For the last twenty minutes of the program the kids work on their craft and eat their snack. This is also a time for kids to look at the books that are on display and to look at any realia that has been included in the program. Often we try to bring in musical instruments from that country, pictures, and other objects (usually souvenirs from staff members who have traveled to that country).



Snacks can be an exciting time of the program because it is a chance for kids to try something they may not be accustomed to. From our experience, kids really do try the new foods. One mother commented that she couldn’t get her son to try tofu but during one of our programs he did, and he wanted his mom to buy some to have again. Another time we had spicy plantain chips for kids to eat, and one boy was so excited when we told him that he could go to Kroger and find them there. He told his mom right away that they needed to buy some the next time they went shopping. Sometimes we buy food at the supermarket. Sometimes we go to specialty markets to purchase things. Often, though, we find a recipe and make the food ourselves. Of course with food we always have to be careful about allergies. We advertise that we have food in the program, and we talk to parents as they are dropping their kids off to let them know what the food will be for that week. We always have the recipe or product packaging available for parents to look at.



BookTrek Resources




Travel the Globe by Desiree Weber et al. 1998.

Global Art: Activities, Projects, and Inventions from Around the World by MaryAnn F Kohl and Jean Potter. 1998.

Around-the-World Art & Activities: Visiting the 7 Continents through Craft Fun by Judy Press.  2001.

Multicultural Math: Hands-On Math Activities from Around the World by Claudia Zaslavsky. 1994.

Happy Birthday Everywhere! by Arlene Erlbach.1997.

Happy New Year Everywhere! by Arlene Erlbach. 2000.

Kids Around the World Celebrate! The Best Feasts and Festivals from Many Lands by Lynda Jones.  2000.

Small World Celebrations by Jean Warren. 1998.

Papercrafts Around the World by Phyllis Fiarotta and Noel Fiarotta. 1996.




Unique Games and Sports Around the World: A Reference Guide edited by Doris Corbett, John Cheffers, and Eileen Crowley Sullivan. 2001.

Sidewalk Games: Around the World by Arlene Erlbach. 1997.

Children’s Traditional Games: Games from 137 Countries and Cultures by Judi Sierra. 1995.

Play with Us: 100 Games from Around the World by Oriol Ripoll. 2002, 2005.



Holidays of the World Cookbook for Students by Lois Sinaiko Webb. 1995.

Multicultural Cookbook for Students by Carole Lisa Albyn and Lois Sinaiko Webb. 1993.

The Kids Multicultural Cookbook by Deanna F. Cook. 1995.

The Kids Around the World Cookbook by Deri Robins. 1994.

The United States Cookbook: Fabulous Foods and Fascinating Facts from All 50 States by Joan D’Amico and Karen Eich Drummond.  2000.



Twenty-Two Splendid Tales to Tell from Around the World, Vol. 1 by Pleasant DeSpain.1994.

Earth Care by Margaret Read MacDonald. 1999.

Favorite Folktales from Around the World edited by Jane Yolen. 1986.

Tuck-Me-In Tales: Bedtime Stories from Around the World by Margaret Read MacDonald.  1996.

More Ready-to-Tell Tales from Around the World edited by David Holt and Bill Mooney. 2000.

Noodlehead Stories by Martha Hamilton. 2000.

Trickster Tales by Josepha Sherman. 1996.

American Folk: Classic Tales retold by Charles Sullivan.  1998.

Sweet Land of Story: Thirty-Six American Tales to Tell by Pleasant DeSpain.  2000.

Tatterhood and Other Tales: Stories of Magic and Adventure edited by Ethel Johnston Phelps.  1978.

The Young Oxford Book of Folktales by Kevin Crossley-Holland. 1998.

The River that Went to the Sky by Mary Medlicott. 1995.

Tales from Africa by Mary Medlicott. 2000.

A Treasury of Mermaids: Mermaid Tales from Around the World compiled by Shirley Climo. 1997.

Cats of Myth by Gerald & Loretta Hausman. 2000.

Hyena and the Moon by Heather McNeil. 1995.


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.