Perhaps a more accurate, but more long-winded title, should be, ‘Books for kids whose parents love travel and want their kids to be excited about travelling too’. Loving travelling doesn’t just mean loving being on holiday. It means enjoying everything about being away from home. From seeing how people live, eat, play and worship differently around the world, to learning about the history of a particular place through its ruins and monuments, to experiencing different landscapes and wildlife, and even the journey itself.
My list of books is meant for children and families who enjoy exploring together, for those kids who have shown an interest in life away from home, and those adults who want to share their love of travelling with their family.
I’m not a book reviewer or a book blogger, but I do love books and reading. I am an author and, full disclosure, I’ve included two of my own children’s books here. My love of travel and thirst to explore inspired me to write them, so I hope you’ll agree it’s appropriate to include them. Most of the books on the list are ones which are pulled off our shelves time and time again, whereas others are brought with us on our journeys.
The Atlas of Adventures series illustrated by Lucy Letherland are perfect for poring over at home. The beautifully illustrated pages ignite thoughts of adventure. The boys love spotting places and animals they’ve seen, or adding things to our never-ending list of places to go. Suitable for ages 5+.
Unsurprisingly Lonely Planet publish an exceptional range of children’s books for the traveller, and the armchair traveller. Their kids version of The Travel Book and their kids atlas are frequently pulled off the shelf and used as reference material for homework or to help visualise a place or country that pops up in conversation. We also like their language learning books and their activity books. Suitable for ages 5+ (not the reading age, but pictures and having snippets read to them).
Under Earth, Under Water by Aleksandra Mizielinksi and Daniel Mizielinksi (suitable for ages 5+) isn’t exactly a travel book, but it’s a fantastic reference book for kids packed full of information about this precious planet that we live on. Fostering an interest in the world around us is a great starting point for young explorers. Atlas of Dinosaur Adventures aside, perhaps, The Big Book of the Blue by the exceptional Yuval Zommer and the Adventures in… sticker book series by Lonely Planet (all suitable for ages 4+) are also great books for kids with an interest in the natural world.
Follow in the footsteps of some of the greatest explorers in history as you leaf through Great Voyages: daring adventurers from James Cook to Gertrude Bell. I had a blast writing this, escaping from my desk on a daily basis as I endured icy conditions with Ernest Shackleton, fought my way through jungles with Maria Sibylla Merian and faced lions with David Livingstone. Reading about these extraordinary adventurers has inspired my family and I to be more adventurous as travellers, seeking to discover more about our world and the people and animals that we share it with. Suitable for ages 7+.
For the creative kids in your life a copy of My Book of Stories: write your own adventures should keep them busy for hours. It’s full of story starters inspired by some of the best adventures stories ever written. Lines from Treasure Island, illustrations from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and characters from Peter Pan inspire the invention of new companions, the creation of magical worlds and tall tales of travel on the high seas. Designed to be written in, and smaller than most gift books, it’s perfect to take on your travels. Suitable for ages 7+.
What are the best fictional adventure books you’ve read this year? We’ve read through a few classics including Around the World in 80 Days. One of our favourite new novels was The Explorer by Katherine Rundell. Set in the Amazon, it’s a tale of survival, trust and friendship. The main characters aren’t given an easy ride, but our kids stuck with them every step of the way. Our eldest had already added visiting the Amazon to Grand Adventure wish list before we started this book. Reading this definitely got him more excited, and perhaps a little more nervous too! Reading to the kids I’d suggest it’s suitable for ages 6+, but probably 8+ if reading to themselves.
While you’re here please allow me to encourage you to buy books from your local bookshop. If you do buy from Amazon or one of the big chains please do write a review! It really does make a huge difference to sales. Thank you.
What are your favourite books for the young travellers in your life? Please share in the comments below. We’re always on the look out for more books about the world.