Enhance Your Global Perspective With These Eye-Opening Books

Books are an amazing source of knowledge. Read on to discover some phenomenal and informative books that will help expand your mind!

Book Culture Memoirs & Biographies Non-Fiction On This Day Recommendations
A collage of humanity-related graphics including a hand on the left in green holding a vegetable, a black and white bag of groceries, a hand in red on the right holding a fruit, a succulent on the bottom right, a dinner plate near it, and leaves and orange peels decorate the spaces in between. In front are the the book jackets for Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall, Slow Noodles by Chantha Nguon, and The Survivors of the Clotilda by Hannah Durkin.

Every year, the Girl Scouts of America celebrate International World Thinking Day to encourage learning and embrace differences worldwide. A different global issue is selected yearly as a theme to focus on, such as environmentalism, global poverty, and equitable education. All themes are then tied into gender equality and equity and ways to empower women across the globe.

Every day is a great day to educate oneself on the history, culture, politics, and social scene in countries other than yours. This article highlights five books to aid in your understanding of greater society, helping cultivate a knowledgeable and researched perception of worldwide subjects.

Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything about the World by Tim Marshall

Book jacket of Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything about the World by Tim Marshall. Various types of maps, including topography and nautical maps, are layered behind the title information separated by a white frame.

In Prisoners of Geography, journalist Tim Marshall comprehensively analyzes global geopolitics through the dual art and science of ancient and present maps. The physical characteristics of a country or continent have historically and continually worked to strengthen or weaken the decisions of their commanders. Illustrated are the intricate geographical and environmental constraints faced by political leaders in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, Japan, Korea, Greenland, and the Arctic, often neglected by analysts and reporters.

Tim Marshall provides the geographical answers to the diplomatic questions the world’s most influential political powers beg. In this enlightening literature, readers will gain invaluable insight into worldwide history and a deeper understanding of future contemporary geopolitics.

Slow Noodles: A Cambodian Memoir of Love, Loss, and Family Recipes by Chantha Ngon with Kim Green

Book jacket of Slow Noodles: A Cambodian Memoir of Love, Loss, and Family Recipes by Chantha Ngon with Kim Green. Graphics of a moon, fish, plants, and food ingredients are cream colored on a black background, encapsulated by a wavy frame.

Chantha Nguon’s stunning memoir recounts her life as a Cambodian refugee, the tragic loss of her family, friends, house, and country to Pol Pot’s genocide, and how she regained hope through the language of cooking. Readers meet Chantha during her peaceful early life and follow her as devastation unfolds when Chantha and her family must hide from ethnic cleansing, then escape to Saigon, where Ngon loses her mother and her sister, leaving her to survive in a war-stricken Vietnam alone.

Through an evocative retelling of a river crossing in an exodus to a Thailand refugee camp, Ngon returns to Cambodia after being refused asylum in the West. Back in Cambodia, Ngon lives by working as a brothel cook, serving drinks in a nightclub, selling street food, caring for refugees as a nurse, and weaving silk. Part healing and part act of resistance, Chantha Ngon finds peace in recreating family recipes, honoring her mother, and reclaiming what she lost of her heritage and culture.

The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin

Book jacket of The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin. Two ripped photos of African American men are layered on each other, one with an orange filter. In the background is an image of the open ocean.

Author Hannah Durkin’s grievous narrative of America’s past is a phenomenal work that enhances the reader’s understanding of the Black experience and the history of American slavery. Delivered are the eye-opening stories of the 110 captives of the Clotilda, the last slave ship to sail to America in 1860, the time between the federal outlawing of the importation of captive Africans and the American Civil War.

The Survivors of the Clotilda chronicles the harrowing month-long journey from Nigeria to the American coast, followed by the enslavement of the 103 survivors in Alabama. The lives of the survivors are narrated through the Civil Rights Movement, the creation of Africatown, and the Black artistic community of Gee’s Bend, whose cultural influence remains poignant today.

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells

Book jacket of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells. On a plain oatmeal background is a weak, fuzzy bee at the bottom of the cover.

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells provides an honest and extensive report of the state of the Earth and the impending climate crisis. It is not a matter of if but a matter of when. This book examines the full range of climate-related issues, going beyond the joint fixation of rising sea levels, but relays the truth about food shortages, climate refugee emergencies, wars, and economic ruin all due to environmental degradation. This potent book allows for zero sugar-coating on the projected future of the planet and how it will inevitably impact politics, technology, and humanity for the worse unless immediate sustainable action is implemented.

They Called Me a Lioness: A Palestinian Girl’s Fight for Freedom by Ahed Tamimi and Dena Takruri

Book jacket of They Called Me a Lioness: A Palestinian Girl's Fight for Freedom by Ahed Tamimi and Dena Takruri. Against a turquoise background is a portrait of a woman in traditional Palestinian clothing with long, thick hair.

In this riveting, personal memoir by Ahed Tamimi, a world-renowned Palestinian activist, empowerment is given to the unheard voices of those around the world fighting for freedom and a chance to live a normal life. Tamimi has only known conflict, growing up in the village of Nabi Saleh on the West Bank. She remembers visiting her father as a child, imprisoned for participating in the resistance movement. Her own activism led her to the same fate at 17 years old.

However, this book focuses not only on her life as an activist but also as a daughter, sibling, friend, and student amid a struggle for freedom. A fresh perspective on a polarizing issue, Ahed Tamimi and Dena Takruri detail the humanity in the conflict and the enormity of the losses faced in the tension.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Book jacket of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. A single piece of green, braided sweetgrass runs from left to right in the middle of the cover.

In Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer combines her scientific knowledge of botany and indigenous wisdom to highlight the importance of human reconnection with nature in a fight to save the planet. Through creation stories, myths, and folklore, Krimmer illustrates the significance of human-environmental interactions and intertwined relationships between nature and society. Robin Wall Kimmerer uplifts the lost languages of varying flora, delivering their innate messages and lessons, reminding readers of the gifts provided to us from the Earth in this exquisite literature.

Life-long learning is essential to creating a global perspective that is equal parts logical and empathetic. Educating oneself on diverse global experiences and histories is critical in making informed decisions, and books are one of the best, most reliable, and most palatable media forms to consume information about elaborate topics. Knowledge is power, so pick up one of these books today to enhance your universal perspective.

Click here for more book recommendations!

Click here to discover additional nonfiction reads on Bookstr’s Bookshop page!