by Jennifer Close
1. Around the World
We have read a lot of guidebooks but the Lonely Planet’s Not-For-Parents Series is the first one we have seen that was truly written with children in mind. The pages are bright, flashy and full of fun facts that your kids will love. There are just a few books in the series and they include New York, Paris, USA, Rome, Australia, Britain and China. We read the New York guidebook and although we still have yet to make it to NYC, I sometimes catch the kids flipping through the book and making plans.
Fellow A Traveler’s Library contributor, Brette Sember, shared her love for one of my favorite books, Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. To me, travel does not necessarily mean packing a suitcase and heading out across the country. Our adventures sometimes keep us closer to home and blueberry picking is one of our favorite summer activities. We go blueberry picking every year and we read this book before each trip.
3. The Beach
Next time you are headed to the beach with your family, pick up The Magic of Seashells by Fredlee. We read this book before a trip to the beach and had so much fun trying to identify the seashells we found.
4. Oregon Trail
If you have a reader that loves history, the You Choose series might be a good fit. They are interactive historical novels that allow the reader to choose his or her own path by answering the questions and flipping to the coordinating page. We read a story about Westward Expansion. Now that we are closer to the route of the Oregon Trail, we will be reading that book to prepare for our visit.
Traveling to a country where people speak a different language can be exciting and overwhelming for children. To prepare them, read some books that help teach a few important words. Keryn, from Walkingon Travels recommends a book titled The Pet Dragon if you are planning a trip to China.
Nonfiction books are a great way to introduce your children to a new destination, but a fictional account of a place will help them imagine and dream. Before we visit an aquarium, we always reread Swimmy by Leo Lionni. It is one of my favorite books and is a great way to remind children of the different animals in the sea.
7. A Corn Maze
Sharing books that inspire your children to travel is not always easy if they are reluctant readers. If you have a reluctant reader, take a look at what they do read. If there is a book series that interests your child, see if they have a book that goes along with the theme of your trip. For example, my son was reading the Boxcar Children series. Before our corn maze visit, I found a Boxcar Children mystery that takes place in a maze.
8. Bonus Tip
Don’t forget that a book doesn’t have to be specifically about travel or a new destination to inspire. You never know what might trigger your child’s wanderlust. My 8 year old has been reading the Magic Tree House books and recently finished one about Pompeii. For some time, he was obsessed with all things volcano. Be open to what catches their attention and then foster it with new books. If you can’t find a book that addresses the area you are going to visit, check out What Should I Read Next. Put in your child’s favorite book and see what similar suggestions are made. Who knows?
All photos here are used courtesy of Two Kids and a Map.com. Links used in this article lead you to longer articles on the particular book or other sources of information.