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25 “Travel” Books To Inspire Kids and Teens


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I love books. So do my husband and my daughter. We use travel books to learn about places we visit.  And we rely on them to learn about places we have not yet gotten to.  They can give you a sense of place and expose you to art, history and culture, all from home. And books make great presents. My daughter regularly revisits her books and some favorites hang around well after she’s outgrown them.

Here are 25 books (or series) about the big blue marble and the people who live here for kids of all ages. The age guides are flexible; give a take a year on most of them.

I hope at least one makes it into your house this year.

Travel Books for Preschoolers

travel books for toddlers: Good Night World1. I brought Good Night New York City with us the first time I took Tiny Traveler walking around midtown Manhattan, pointing out the real-life versions of the pictures in the book. Her eyes lit up as she made the connection and learned books could be about real places. The extensive Good Night Our World Series introduces little ones to their hometown or state and many places beyond.

travel book for toddlers: yum yum dim sum2. Yum Yum Dim Sum is part of Amy Wilson Sanger’s World Snacks series that covers Japanese, Mexican, Indian and Jewish foods, too. But this one is my favorite for the fun rhymes and clever graphics. We read it so many times at home (and over dim sum), I still know it by heart

3. Everyone loves Madeline as a story about a spunky French girl. But Ludwig Bemelman’s books about Paris and London are full of their city’s landmarks and nods to their culture, too.

Travel Books for School-Age Kids

travel books for kids: I see the sun4. Becky Mladic Morales at Kid World Citizen recommends the ‪ I See The Sun series for introducing early school-age kids to places like Nepal, Russia and even Afghanistan through the eyes of other children. The books are bilingual, too.
Best for: Grades K to 2

travel books for kids with Bella5. Jessie Voigts‪ at Wandering Educators likes the Travel with Bella picture books that depict Singapore and Vietnam through the eyes of a visiting American girl.
Best for: Grades pre-K to 1

6. Kirsten Maxwell‪ at Kids are A Trip recommends Waiting for the Biblioburro, based on a real-life traveling librarian in Colombia.
Best For: Grades K to 3

7. Marisa Langford‪ at Adventures of Tampa Mama says, “We love the Dodsworth books. Dodsworth in Rome, Dodsworth in London, and so on are so great to read and then discuss places!” We concur Tiny Traveler loves the funny stories of a debonair traveling rat and his trouble-making duck friend.
Best For: Grades 2 to 4

M. Saseks classics are great travel books for kids8. We cannot get enough of Miroslav Sasak’s cool, retto, “This Is…” books. These giant picture books with a 1950s feel deliver cities like Paris, New York, Venice, Rome, San Francisco and even Cape Kennedy to kids with fun fact nuggets and amazing art. We’ve taken them to Paris and Edinburgh and have one for our hometown of New York.
Best For: Grades 2 to 5

9. It’s not unusual for TT and I to both be reading alexander McCall Smith books at the same time. His Precious Ramotswe Mysteries for kids deserve way more attention. The mysteries are a kid-friendly vehicle for introducing his readers to the landscape and culture of Botswana. And it works.
Best For: Grades 2 to 5

kids travel book series by giada delaurentis10. Shannon Entin at 100 Routes Across America likes Giada De Laurentiis’ Recipe for Adventure series that takes kids to Naples, Paris, Hong Kong, and New Orleans. The books include recipes at the end. “My tween daughter loves them.”

Best For: Grades 2 to 5

11. Michele Chan-Thomson‪ at Malaysia Meanders ‪ likes The Genius Files series about a set of road-tripping twins. “They are humorous action/suspense books set during trips to various offbeat tourist spots across America.”
Best For: Grades 2 to 5

12. We think reading about adventurers makes kids adventurous. So we like The Rescuers, about worldly mouse Bianca who travels to Norway via diplomatic pouch on behalf of the Prisoners’ Aid Society.
Best For: Grades 3 to 7

chitty chitty bang band is a travel book for adventurers13. We read Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang while road-tripping this summer. It has nothing to do with the Disney Movie (aside from the lovable car) and is a fun, rollicking adventure across the English and French countryside.
Best For: Grades 3 to 7

14. It’s impossible to not want to visit London after following Paddington Bear through it in the very funny and very British original early chapter books like A Bear Called Paddington.
Best For: Grades 3 to 6

‪15. Chan-Thompson also recommends the Thea Stilton Adventures and notes that reading Thea Stilton and the Cherry Blossom Adventure with her kids, “inspired me to book our springtime trip to Kyoto and Tokyo.”
Best For: Grades 3 to 6

16. ‪Chan-Thomson‪ also says that Tua and the Elephant “is an excellent read” for families planning a visit to Thailand, especially Chiang Mai, or who are interested in that country.
Best For: Grades 3 to 6

travel books for kids: where is the great wall?‪17. Maxwell‪ at Kids are a Trip also likes Where Is the Great Wall? for its ability to weave Chinese history and culture into the story of the building of the wall.
Best For: Grades 3 to 6

18.Ann Belle at Kids Travel Books likes Lonely Planet’s Not For Parents Travel Books. “Their format is really fun, even if you aren’t actually traveling.” There are fun books about the world, as well as destination guides that are specific (London) and broad (Africa).
Best For: Grades 3 to 6

19. Belle also recommends the Travels with Gannon and Wyatt series, which are, “more stories than travel guides” that take twin protagonists from Greenland to Botswana to Egypt and beyond.
Best For: Grades 4 to 7

20. Maxwell‪ is also Keen on a series art-themed mysteries centered on two kids who live in Chicago by Blue Balliett. The Wright 3 revolves around Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House. Another centers on works by Vermeer and another set in England involves a Calder sculpture.
Best For: Grades 4 to 7

‪21. Angela Tiffin‪ at Traveling Karma likes the My Story series from Scholastic that looks at places in history through the fictional diaries of teenage girls. 45 Rising; The Diary of Euphemia Grant is set in Scotland during the Jacobite uprising. Others take on the Irish Famine, the French revolution and the Berlin Olympics
Best For: Grades 4 to 8

travel books for tweens: a long walk to water‪22. Maxwell also recommends the dramatic but worthwhile A Long Walk to Water, based on a true story about the intersecting lives of two young people caught up in war and poverty in the Sudan.
Best For: Grades 5 to 9

23. Claudia Laroye‪ at The Travelling Mom likes The Roman Mysteries, in which the young Flavia Gemina sleuths around ancient Vesuvius, Rome, Pompeii and more. “They’re great on audiobooks as well!”
Best For: Grades 7 to 9

Travel Books For High schoolers

travel books for teens: lust for life24. ‪Keryn Means‪ from Walking On Travels is a fan of the Lunar Chronicles series for tweens and teens! “Distopian stories that bring you around the globe and even to the moon. Loved it. Great depiction of Paris.”

25. For teens interested in art or in European cities, travel blogger Lisa Nass Grabelle‪ suggests Irving Stone’s The Agony and The Esctasy, which bring Michelangelo’s art to life in Italy and Lust for Life, which does the same for Van Gogh in Amsterdam. “I read them before my first trips to those countries as a teen, and had my daughter read The Agony before her first trip to Italy.”

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4 Comments

  1. January 5, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    We’ve launched a new series for girls ages 6-9 to inspire girls’ sense of curiosity and adventure in a boundaryless world. The Pack-n-Go Girls Adventures are early chapter books packed with spooky mysteries, international friendships, and lots of fun and easy multicultural learning. So far, Pack-n-Go Girls from Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, and Florida have visited girls from Austria, Mexico, Thailand, and Brazil!

  2. December 23, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell, was something my preteens and teens enjoyed hearing me read aloud to them. It’s the memoir of the youngest member of a British family that moved to Corfu in the 1930s. Great writing, terrific stories!

  3. December 8, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    There are some great recommendations on this list including quite a few that I hadn’t heard of before, which is handy given that Christmas is just around the corner! Some of our favourites include Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska (Author), Daniel Mizielinski (incredible illustrations) and Atlas of Adventures by Rachel Williams and Lucy Letherland

    • eileen g
      December 10, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks for more suggestions!