Skip to Main Content

Exploring the World with Literature (Grades 2-4): Europe

Based on the Project Exploring the World: Seven Continents in One Global Micro-Library (30 books and a guidebook). The project was supported by the ATA Educational Trust, and the complete resource is available to Alberta Teachers through the ATA Library.

Search Curriculum Lab Materials

Go to Main Library / Summon

Introduction to Continent

Europe is the sixth largest continent. It is bordered on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the east by Asia, on the south by the Mediterranean Sea, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. It comprises fifty countries, but two countries, Russia and Turkey, are partly in Europe and partly in Asia. European countries are of diverse backgrounds and cultures. What is true of one or more countries may not be true of some others. For example, the way in which countries are governed varies from one to another.

More than 820 million people live in Europe and they speak many different languages. Not only are many languages spoken across the continent, several are spoken within some countries. For example, in the small country of Switzerland, French, German, Italian, and Rumantsch are all official languages. Much of the literature written within each country of Europe is written in one of the country’s languages and may or may not be translated into other languages of that country or into English. The exception, of course, is the British Isles where publishing in English thrives.

Choosing titles to represent Europe in the Micro-Library was challenging. In particular, we found few portrayals of contemporary children.

I see the Sun in Russia was chosen for its striking, realistic art and the narrator’s simple yet engaging view of his day. The Boy who Wanted to Cook celebrates French culture and countryside through the eyes of a chef’s son. D is for Dala Horse introduces students to the rich traditions and stunning landscape of Europe’s Nordic countries.

Additional selections take readers to Italy, Ireland, France and the Czech Republic, giving a small taste of the continent’s diversity.  

Recommended for Sharing

Further Reading