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11 Books That Will Inspire Your Kids to Travel

Looking for alternatives to Shopkins and Pokémon cards this holiday season? Order these books instead.


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Quite a few books came out this year that will inspire children to explore the world in one form or another. These 11 titles are sure to get your kids spinning the globe and planning your next trip.

1. Kids love seeing pictures of themselves and talking about themselves. My kids can’t get enough of looking at their own photo albums. That’s why I loved the concept behind Family Stories. It’s a completely customizable book that features your child traveling to Peru, Kenya, Australia, Jordan, China, Italy, and the USA. And by customizable, I mean that you get to choose what the characters look like, the family makeup, and what names are used, i.e. Jasmine Travels the World. There’s also information about a child from each country at the end of the books, which helps kids connect with the places they’ve just read about.

Age Range: 2 - 6 years

2. The My Little Cities series from Chronicle Books is a great gift for any transportation obsessed wee ones. The four board books---New York, London, San Francisco, and Paris---feature text that’s suitable for a toddler’s attention with fun city-centric illustrations. The last two pages of each book contain a paragraph about each sight, helping adults answer the inevitable “What is that?” and “Where is that?”

Age Range: 2 - 5 years

3. “Come! Board the London Bus and see the London sights with us.” Child-friendly poems like this verse on the first page of Patricia Toht’s All Aboard the London Bus introduce children to London’s well-known landmarks. Stops include Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the London Eye. Keep your eyes peeled for the raven that appears on each page.

Age Range: 4 - 8 years

4. Speaking of adventures, the Journey Trilogy by Aaron Becker, which includes Journey, Quest, and Return, takes the reader on wordless journeys through the eyes of a child; the illustrations will stir your imagination. Each limited edition box set comes with a never-before-published print by Becker that depicts the father and daughter from the series on a sailboat---it’s gorgeous.

Age Range: 4 - 8 years

5. Who better to encourage kids to travel than the lovable Paddington Bear? Released this October, Paddington Storybook Collection: 6 Classic Stories includes six complete books under one cover--- Paddington Bear and the Busy Bee Carnival, Paddington and the Magic Trick, Paddington's Day Off, Paddington in the Garden, Paddington at the Circus, and Paddington’s Prize Picture. Continue the adventure with the January 12, 2018 release of "Paddington 2" starring Hugh Grant, Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, and Ben Whishaw.

Age Range: 4 - 8 years

6. This is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe follows the real lives of seven kids for one day from seven countries including Iran, Peru, Russia, and Uganda. Find out what kids in different parts of the world eat, where they learn, and how they play. It will teach as well as inspire. My kids are obsessed.

Age Range: 5 - 6 years

7. Scott Kelly was the first NASA astronaut to spend a year in space, setting the record for the longest spaceflight by an American. His unlikely journey from average student to man in space is chronicled in My Journey to the Stars, a 50-page book that uses illustrations as well as Kelly’s personal photos to tell the tale. The tome proves anything is possible and the stars are never out of reach.  

Age Range: 5 - 8 years

8. 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the world’s introduction to perennial journeyman, Where’s Waldo. To mark the momentous occasion, Candlewick Press published Where’s Waldo? Destination: Everywhere, a hardcover collection of 12 of Waldo’s favorite adventures including The Wild, Wild West and Pirate Panorama. Yes, Wenda, Wizard Whitebeard, Odlaw, and Woof are here too. Also joining the celebration were Where's Waldo? The Totally Essential Travel Collection and Where’s Waldo the Coloring Collection, both 6 inches by 6 inches making them perfect for on the go Waldo hunting. The Travel Collection also has six post cards that you can send while you’re adventuring.

Age Range: 5 - 9 years

9. What adventure would be complete without souvenirs, which inevitably turn into collections? Nina Chakrabarti’s My Collection of Collections encourages people to explore collections of all forms from museums to personal mementoes like matchbooks or luggage tags. There are also places to personalize the pages with stickers (included) and spaces to include your own notes or drawings, as well as a place to start your very own collection.

Age Range: 6 - 9 years

10. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Treehouse series. If your favorite pint-sized reader has yet to get hooked on the time-traveling, world-visiting adventures of siblings Jack and Annie, there’s no time like the present. This year’s addition, A Big Day for Baseball, takes the brother-sister duo to 1947 where they meet Jackie Robinson. Other adventures have taken them to Paris, Pompeii, and ancient Egypt. Each book also has a companion Fact Tracker book that helps readers explore the “facts behind the fiction.” This silver anniversary also marked the division of the series into two; the Merlin Missions still detail Jack and Annie’s adventures, but are geared towards the 7-11 age group.

Age Range: 6 - 9 years

11. Art Up Close: From Ancient to Modern by Claire d'Harcourt is like a seek n’ find book, except the focus here is on the art world’s greatest masterpieces. Each spread contains a full-color reproduction of one of twenty-three famous works of art–Benozzo Gozzoli’s The Procession of the Magi, an Arabic manuscript from the Book of Nativities by Albumasar, and Domenico Remps’s Cabinet of Curiosities–that includes 10-12 enlarged details for kids to find within the images. It’s a great way to introduce kids to works of art found in some of the world’s famous museums. The last few pages of the book features facts about the pieces themselves, and the artists who created them.

Age Range: 8 - 12 years


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