I asked my very good friend Jo, who has a passion for books, if she would compile a list for me that would be useful when planning to travel with children. This is the list that she has put together for me. It’s comprehensive and gives some really great direction and inspiration when preparing, and embarking on travelling with your children. So, with her blessings, here’s Jo’s list of ‘great ideas!’
… So travel books! Well, first I always think the best books for preparing for travel are stories set in the country, or by authors from the country that you’re about to discover. They give ideas for what to see and what to look forward to. (Not really ‘preparation’ I know so I have listed these kind of books further down). I always think it is a great thrill to see something you read about in a story in real live. Or visiting the house where the author lived and wrote the stories. I would love to visit Roald Dahl’s house! (me too Jo!) Before we went to the US we read “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge”. it’s a really old story but based on fact and the park with the lighthouse and bridge are still there in New York. We were so excited to actually see it in person. We also read a story about the ‘Thimble Islands’ in Connecticut where we stayed, and we ended up taking a boat trip around the islands! So cool. Before we went to Switzerland we read ‘Heidi’, and 2 famous Swiss kids stories ‘’Florina and the wild bird’ and ‘A bell for Ursli’. The last 2 stories are about everyday life in the mountains and mention some customs (like the cow bells!). For Australia, ‘Possum Magic’ by Mem Fox would be good as Grandma Poss and Hush travel around Australia in the story getting things to make Hush re-appear. Would be exciting for visitors to find the same places and food when on holidays. ‘Katie in London’ – by James Mayhew When Katie and her cousin Jack visit London with Grandma, they don’t think there’s much to see and do. At Trafalgar Square they meet a talking stone lion, and he takes them on a wonderful tour of the city. ‘A walk in London’ – by Salvatore Rubbino Come along on a mother-daughter day trip as they wend their way past the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, through Trafalgar Square, and on to Covent Garden. Listen closely and you might just learn a secret about the Whispering Gallery in Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Then it’s on to the Tower of London and the river Thames ‘Katie in Scotland’ – by James Mayhew When Katie meets the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, fun and adventure soon folllow. Katie and Nessie discover how beautiful and stunning the country is as they take in the sights, from the Highlands to the Edinburgh Festival and including Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park and Museum, Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood, The Royal Mile, The National Gallery and Portrait Gallery, and Greyfriar’s Bobby. ‘Madeleine’ stories for a France trip ‘Olivia goes to Venice’ – by Ian Falconer (such a funny little story, it really made us want to go to Venice!) This series I am not familiar with but I came across it on my searches: ‘The adventures of Bella and Harry’ by Lisa Manzione – about 2 dogs that travel to different countries. Also look for folktales from the country, or stories about famous paintings/museums/ sights to see in the country, as well as stories about a famous person who came from the country.
The Younger Audience – 2-5yrs
This blog has a huge list of younger kids stories about different countries: http://delightfulchildrensbooks.com/read-around-the-world/ Here are some general ‘travel’ books for kids and are more for ‘preparing’ for travel ‘A Day at the Airport’ – by Richard Scarry ‘My First Airplane Ride’ – by Patricia Hubbell ‘A Visit to the Airport’ – by Particia J. Murphy ‘Going on a Plane’ – by Anne Civardi (for younger kids around 0-5 but useful for still ok for older first time travellers) ‘The Noisy Airplane Ride’ – by Mike Downs ‘Go on an Aeroplane’ (Topsy & Tim) by Jean and Gareth Adamson
*Aussie Road Trips
‘Are We There Yet?’ – by Alison Lester (tells of a family trip driving around Australia) ‘To the Top End: Our Trip Across Australia’ – by Roland Harvey ‘All the Way to W.A.: Our Search for Uncle Kev’ – by Roland Harvey ‘In the Bush: Our Holiday at Wombat Flat’ – by Roland Harvey
*General ‘Travel’ stories (some imaginary!)
‘Lisa’s Airplane Trip’ – by Anne Gutman (Gaspard and Lisa series that is on TV) Lisa experiences for the first time in her life what it is like to travel on an airplane when she flies by herself to meet her uncle in the United States. The meal, movie, and other passengers provide endless amusement for Lisa ‘Toot & Puddle’ – by Holly Hobbie Two best friends with very different interests. One is a homebody, and the other loves to travel. When Toot spends the year traveling around the world, Puddle enjoys receiving his postcards. ‘How To Make An Apple Pie And See The World’ – by Marjorie Priceman This story about making an apple pie takes readers around the globe to gather ingredients. ‘It’s Vacation Time’ – by Lerryn Korda Three friends prepare for summer vacation: Little Nye makes popsicles to take on the trip, Nella overstuffs a suitcase, and Lester removes an array of playthings so the suitcase can be closed. Makes packing seem fun (when it sometimes isn’t!) ‘The Travel Game’ – by John Grandits Armed with a globe, an illustrated almanac, and their imaginations, Tad and Aunt Hattie play the travel game. They ride elephants in India, escape deadly piranhas in the Amazon River, and hail a water taxi to visit the beautiful boat city of Hong Kong—all without leaving the apartment.
This list is good for older kids (6-10yrs) or for parents to read to the younger age group:
http://www.edudemic.com/learn-about-traveling-using-childrens-books/ Has books like “Peter Rabbit” for visiting the Lakes District, UK “Anne of Green Gables” for visiting Prince Edward Island, Canada “Harry Potter” for visiting castles You could add “Hachiko” for a trip to Tokyo or “Greyfriars Bobby” for a trip to Scotland
* Travel guides for kids:
-Fodor Series with kids (eg. ‘Fodor’s around Paris with kids’) -‘Lonely Planet Not For Parents’ series (eg. ‘Lonely planet not for parents Rome’) -Activity books to do on a journey (eg ‘50 things to do on a plane’, ‘100 things for little children to do on a trip’, ‘The everything kids travel activity book’) -Travel journals – where kids write down their adventures. Can start with kids writing ‘my packing list’ then simple things such as ‘animals seen’ ‘weather’ ‘landforms’, ‘food eaten’ etc. Older kids can write and younger ones can draw pictures. **A note on age groupings – I don’t think you really need them. A younger child can listen to a book intended for an older child to read themselves – as you know when you read the kids long chapter books at night. And reading abilities are so diverse! I think the main reason to put a recommended age would be for content – if it contains themes that young kids aren’t ready for (relationships usually or maybe killing etc) So I wouldn’t separate the books by such ‘strict’ ages groupings. A more appropriate way to do this would be to categorise into younger kids 0-5 and then maybe 6-10.