Just Imagine


Around the World

Most of the book choices children make are stories set in the UK, USA or in fantasy worlds. The books in this pack are carefully selected to include a range of settings from different countries from around the world, and raise interesting questions about culture and community. Themes of hardship and survival are prevalent amongst the exotic, exquisite and sometime dangerous settings. There is also much to discover not only about what makes us different, but also what we have in common with peoples across the globe.

Book introductions

  • Before introducing the children to the books in this pack you may wish to discuss which countries they have visited around the world and plot these on a map.
    • Identify the most common locations and discuss why these are the most visited places.
    • Ask the children to share what they remember about the culture and environment of these locations.
    • Some children in the class may have lived in other places before coming to the UK. Invite them to share their knowledge, with due sensitivity to those who may have moved to escape conflict or other disasters and may therefore not want to share.
    • Move on to identify places that are less well visited. Can you find any places in the world where no one in the class has been? Make the point that we can explore places in stories, even if we can’t visit them in real life.
  • Present the children with a world map with the locations where the books are set shaded in.
    • Use atlases to work out which countries/continents/location have been shaded in.
    • Share holiday brochures in order to decide which of these children would most like to visit.
  • Browse the books before making them available for children to borrow
    • share initial thoughts as to what they books might be about
    • display the books with related items


Book talk

Some questions to consider:

  • From the books that you have read have you fund out how life is different in other countries?
    • What are the basic essentials of life?
    • What sorts of things might happen, if people don’t have access to the basic essentials?
    • What would life be like without technology? Can you think of some ways in which life might be improved? What challenges would be created if we lived in a digital free world?
  • What is a community?
    • What is your community and what makes it special?
    • How is community depicted in the books you have been reading?
    • What are the roles of men and women in your community?  Do the roles of men and women differ in different countries?
    • In what ways are children’s lives similar and different to yours in the books that you have been reading?
  • Art, music, food and culture
    • Have you learnt anything about the art, music and culture from the books that you have been reading.

Use a ‘Making connections’ table to draw comparisons and stimulate discussion about text to self,  text to text and text to world connections.


Text to self



Text to Text



Text to World


Text to Self: Reminds me of things that have happened to me

  • How is this similar to my life?
  • How is this different to my life?
  • What did I feel when I read this?
  • Do you empathise with any characters in the books? Why?

Text to Text:  Reminds me of books I have read, pictures or films that I have seen

  • Which books and why?
  • Which films and why?
  • In what ways is it different to books that you have read before?

Text to World: Reminds me of things that are happening in the world

  • How is this story similar to things that happen in the real world?
  • How is this story different to things that happen in the real world?
  • You could encourage reading articles in First News or The Week Junior if you have them in school.


  • What are the main themes in the books that you have been reading?
  • Have you learnt anything interesting from the books that you have been reading?
  • Encourage children to find and share key quotations that refer to the important incidents in the plot or significant decisions made by the characters.

The Reading Journey: Around the World (24 books)

 The Reading Journey is Just Imagine's programme for supporting independent reading, to develop wider reading and make more productive use of book corners.  The Reading Journey is designed specifically to keep class... Read more

Display ideas

Map of the World

Display a world map and use it to generate discussion of where the children have visited or lived, and to explore where they would most like to visit.

Interesting Artefacts

Create a display of artefacts related to the books in this theme. Give the children the opportunity to look at and add to the display with items from home or made themselves as they progress with their reading journey.

Explore and Predict

Make predictions about the books based upon the items on display, previous knowledge of the countries, the authors and back cover blurbs. Display initial thoughts on sticky notes.

Holiday brochures

Display holiday brochures and use them to explore different locations around the world. Images in these brochures can be compared to images of the same country from different sources of the country. Use to facilitate discussion about why these images look different and the persuasive language used. Compare them to the way in which the countries...

Country Comparisons

Working in pairs or small groups, compare countries from books that you have been reading.

Make books accessible

Display the books in the pack. Give children regular opportunities to look at the books and share their thoughts/opinions/feelings. Display posters and other books that fit with the theme that the children have found in the library or brought in from home.


Darryl Crawley is Deputy Headteacher at Rodings Primary School, where he has designed a whole school mastery curriculum balancing skills and knowledge. He is passionate about reading and children’s literature and has recently redeveloped the school’s library and is leading the school’s new radio station. Darryl welcomes working collaboratively with colleagues on projects to promote reading and writing across the primary curriculum.