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If you read in English, chances are that there are a few countries that take up the vast majority of your reading. Only 2–4% of books published in English are translated, and even books published in English in countries other than the U.S. and UK often don’t get picked up and publicized in the same way that U.S. American works do.
This is even more pronounced when it comes to children’s books, where the same books top the charts year after year. Parents tend to buy and read to their kids the same books their parents bought and read to them. If you want to branch out, though, and discover children’s books published all across the world, here’s a great place to start!
TheToyZone has gathered up the most popular children’s books from each country and put them into these gorgeous graphics. You can scroll to the end for an interactive table with every pick!
The did this by first looking at the top 20 children’s books published by authors from each country (by number of Goodreads user ratings), then picking the book with the highest average rating.
Under each continent, I’ve listed the books available in English, but the full list can be found at the end of the post.
As a Canadian, Love You Forever isn’t a surprise, but I wasn’t expecting Wonder to take the very top spot for the U.S.!
Most Popular Children’s Books in North America Available in English
Note: Junot Diaz has been left off this list for sexual misconduct allegations.
The most popular children’s book on the continent is Chile’s Papelucho by Marcela Paz, with 111 Goodreads ratings, though there is sadly no English translation!
Most Popular Children’s Books in South America Available in English
If you haven’t checked out France’s Press Here, it’s a fun interactive picture book that inspired many other picture books in the same style!
Most Popular Children’s Books in Europe Available in English
Note: Harry Potter has been left off this list for JK Rowling’s transphobic comments.
Okay, “every country” was an exaggeration: there isn’t enough information for some countries, especially — as you can see — in Africa.
Most Popular Children’s Books in Africa Available in English
The Middle East and Central Asia
Unfortunately, not a lot of these have been translated to English, which just shows how little makes its way over to the USA market from around the world: even many of the most popular books have never been translated. Still, you can show demand for these books by buying the ones that are available!
Most Popular Children’s Books in the Middle East and Central Asia Available in English
The Rest of Asia and Oceania
If you’re intrigued by the idea of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon meets the Ice Capades meets Mean Girls, then you have to pick up Taiwan’s Peasprout Chen series, about a student studying martial arts figure skating!
Most Popular Children’s Books in the Rest of Asian and Oceania Available in English
Want to look at all of the books at once? Play with this interactive table! You can sort by publication date, rating, country, and more!
Thanks to TheToyZone for all of these images and the research!