A Reading List for Global Citizens

There’s so much more to a book than just the reading.

– Maurice Sendak

About the reading list

Are you interested in immersing yourself in global development? Are you looking for stories from the developing world? Do you want to learn from experts or get inspired by some of the most influential global citizens throughout history? If so, this reading list is for you.

AKFC strives to help Canadians discover how they can identify and act as global citizens. An important part of this journey comes from building knowledge and sharing it with others. This reading guide will help you do that. Start by finding books on this list that will fill in the gaps of your own knowledge and understanding. Then take this learning further by convening other global citizens through a book club or informal gathering to share and reflect on your reactions and learning from the book.

The following list is divided into fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. These books were chosen because they represent the diversity of perspectives, formats and ideas available on global development. Each book is hyperlinked to a page providing more information, and reference numbers provided will help you locate the book at your local library.

If you think a book should be added to this reading list, let us know by tagging us on social media @AKFCanada.


Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
Anchor Canada, 2009, ISBN: 0385474547

Brick Lane – Monica Ali
Black Swan, 2004, ISBN: 0552771155

The Other Hand (aka Little Bee) – Chris Cleave
Sceptre, 2008, ISBN: 0340963409

What is the What? – Dave Eggers
McSweeney’s, 2006, ISBN: 193241664

Cause Celeb – Helen Fielding
Penguin Books, 2002, ISBN: 0142000221

Secret Daughter – Shilpi Somaya Gowda
HarperCollins, 2010, ISBN: 0061974307

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Bloomsbury, 2004, ISBN: 0747566534

The Birth House – Ami MacKay
Knopf Canada, 2006, ISBN: 0676977723

A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Vintage, 2001, ISBN: 140003065X


Ascent of Women – Sally Armstrong
Random House Canada, 2013, ISBN: 0307362590

Poor Economics – Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo
Penguin, 2012, ISBN: 0718193660

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier – Ishmael Beah
Sarah Crichton Books, 2007, ISBN: 0374105235

Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo
Random House, 2012, ISBN: 1400067553

Band-Aid for a Broken Leg – Damien Brown
Allen & Unwin, 2013, ISBN: 1743315562

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies – Jared Diamond
W.W. Norton & Company, 2005, ISBN: 0739467352

To Repair the Word: Paul Farmer speaks to the next generation – Paul Farmer
University of California Press, 2013, ISBN: 0520275977

Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Paulo Freire
Bloomsbury Academic, 2000, ISBN: 0826412769

Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War – Leymah Gbowee
Beast Books, 2011, ISBN: 0984295151

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – William Kamkwamba
William Morrow, 2009, ISBN: 0061730327

Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding–And How We Can Improve the World Even More – Charles Kenny
Basic Books, 2011, ISBN: 0465020151

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World – Tracey Kidder
Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2004, ISBN: 0812973011

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide – Nicolas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Knopf, 2009, ISBN: 0307267148

Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela
Back Bay Books, ISBN: 0316548189

The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa – Dayo Olopade
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, ISBN: 0547678312

The Travels of A T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade – Pietra Rivoli
John Wiley & Sons, 2006, ISBN: 0470039205

Out of Poverty: And Into Something More Comfortable – John Stackhouse
Random House Canada, 2000, ISBN: 0679310258

Freedom from Want – Ian Smilie
Kumarian Press, 2009, ISBN: 1565492943

And Home Was Kariakoo: A Memoir of East Africa – M.G. Vassanji
Doubleday Canada, 2014, ISBN: 0385671431

Atlas of Global Development: A Visual Guide to the World’s Greatest Challenges – The World Bank
World Bank Publications, 2007, ISBN: 0821368567

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban – Malala Yousafzai
Little, Brown and Company, 2013, ISBN: 0316322407

Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs – Muhammad Yunus
PublicAffairs, 2010, ISBN: 1586488244

Children’s Books

What’s for Lunch? How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World – Andrea Curtis
Red Deer Press, 2012, ISBN: 0889954828

Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World – Susan Hughes
Owlkids Books, 2011, ISBN: 1926818865

Kamakwie: Finding Peace, Love, and Injustice in Sierra Leone – Kathleen Martin
Red Deer Press, 2012, ISBN: 0889954720

Because I Am a Girl: I Can Change the World – Rosemary McCarney and Jen Albaugh
Second Story Press, 2014, ISBN: 1927583446

When Children Play: The Story of How Athletes, Coaches and Volunteers Are Protecting Children’s Right To Play – Gina McMurchy-Barber
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2013, ISBN: 1554551544

Mimi’s Village: And How Basic Health Care Transformed It – Katie Smith Milway and Eugenie Fernandes
Kids Can Press, 2012, ISBN: 1554537223

One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference – Katie Smith Milway and Eugenie Fernandes
Kids Can Press, 2008, ISBN: 1554530288

Children Around the World – Donata Montanari
Kids Can Press, 2004, ISBN: 1553376846

Every Last Drop: Bringing Clean Water Home – Michelle Mulder
Orca Book Publishers, 2014, ISBN: 1459802233

Yeny and the Children for Peace – Michelle Mulder
Second Story Press, 2008, ISBN: 1897187459

This Child, Every Child: a Book About the World’s Children – David J. Smith
Kids Can Press, 2011, ISBN: 1554534666

If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World’s People – David J. Smith and Shelagh Armstrong
Kids Can Press, 2002, ISBN: 1550747797

Razia’s Ray of Hope: One Girl’s Dream of an Education – Elizabeth Suneby and Suana Verelst
Kids Can Press, 2013, ISBN: 1554538165

Down to Earth: How Kids Help Feed the World – Nikki Tate
Orca Book Publishers, 2013, ISBN: 1459804236

Tell Me Why: How Young People Can Change the World – Eric Walters
Doubleday Canada, 2009, ISBN: 0385667205

Our Earth: How Kids Are Saving the Planet – Janet Wilson
Second Story Press, 2010, ISBN: 189718784X

Our Rights: How Kids Are Changing the World – Janet Wilson
Second Story Press, 2013, ISBN: 1926920953

How to Build Your Own Country – Valerie Wyatt and Fred Rix
Kids Can Press, 2009, ISBN: 1554533104