I have to admit, I am an unabashed book nerd. Before I travel anywhere new, I always like to read a book set wherever I’m going. I think it helps to frame a new perspective. So, naturally, like all good parents, I try to “encourage” my daughter to follow the same path. Along the way, we have found a few great books that I think really help to inspire her to travel, too.
A World Atlas
After about a week of owning this book, my then 2-year-old started asking me when we could go to South America. I think anything with pull out pictures helps to engage young kids, and I think it helps to expose her to diversity, too. I may be reaching there.
A Book About Airplanes
What kid doesn’t love airplanes, and what parent doesn’t fear that first long flight? These two books have gotten us through 2 6-hour+ flights.
- Richard Scarry’s A Day at the Airport: So many pictures, and it also has a sticker sheet.
- Airplane Flight! Again, anything with lift-the-flap or any other interaction is a winner for young kids. We read this 6 times with our then 13-month-old on a flight to Hawaii.
The Good Night Series
The Good Night, Our World series of board books is perfect for to inspire young travelers. Mostly there are books about places in North America (Los Angeles, Cape Cod, Nebraska, Alberta, etc.) but there is also one on Israel and other international destinations.
This is Series
If you have never read any of Miroslav Sasek’s This is the World series, get thee to a library immediately. From London to San Francisco to Hong Kong to Greece, the eye-catching illustrations accompany informational text that’s easy for young readers.
Quick Ways to Learn “Thank You” in Other Languages
Try How Tiger Says Thank You. Tiger and her lizard friend fly to various countries and learn to say thank you in other languages. Part of the Little Traveler’s Library.
Books If you are Traveling to Specific Countries
- Norway: Try a traditional Norwegian folk tale with East O’ the Sun, West O’ the Moon. Besides an excellent lesson as with most folk tales, it has beautiful illustrations and may prep them better for trolls than Frozen.
- Paris: Who does not associate Paris with Madeline? Classics should be passed down to our kids, right?
- The UK: It’s hard to narrow it down here. You can’t miss Paddington, or the BabyLit series that makes classics like Pride and Prejudice and Secret Garden into board books. Certainly when kids get older, Harry Potter could inspire the most reluctant youth to get on a plane to England. So I say why limit your options?
- Germany: I think we all grow up on Grimm’s Fairy Tales. We have a copy in German (toned down a bit from the original blood-thirsty version).
Only the Beginning
Of course, there are hundreds of books set in Asia, Africa (Mama Panya’s Pancakes)…I could go one forever. What are your favorite books to inspire young travelers?