Kids have wanderlust too. And if they don’t, this list should give them some.
In honour of World Book Day, I have put together a list of 30 books that my children have truly enjoyed reading. They are all about people and places in the world. We try to visit local bookshops whenever we travel, and it’s such fun when we stumble upon books printed in both the local language and English (or French in our case).
The suggestions are organised in 3 age groups, based on my own experience. Amalya and Lior still enjoy being read the same story sometimes. And Marcelo and Amalya often trade books, so this list is quite fluid.
I tried to point to a variety of online shops not to give the hegemony to Amazon (dream big!)! If you have a favorite bookshop in your hometown, would you share the name in the comments section? We can all do our part to support independent bookshops, they are a precious but disappearing tribe. In London, our go-to bookshop is Daunt books, especially the one located on Marylebone High Street, with the prettiest wood-panelled room in the back all about travel.
Also, I linked each book to a post written about the destination for parents with wanderlust.
For younger children, approximately 5-8 years old:
- Krishna steals the butter: stories around Hinduism | India
- Pablo Neruda, poet of the people: Neftali was his nickname..one of my favorite poets | Chile
- Shackleton’s journey: another version, more suited to older children | Antarctica
- The Butter Man: illustrated by my friend Julie Klear. Makes me want to eat a couscous each time | Morocco
- Edward the Emu: we bought this one during our trip around the world | Australia
- Mubu & Mu Mu: written by the founder of the Elephant Nature Park, which we visited in 2012 | Thailand
- Metha’s Great Adventure: we brought it back from a trip, seems tricky to find online | Bhutan
- Wunambi the water snake: a beautiful story telling about aboriginal heritage| Australia
- The Fox’s Kettle: beautifully illustrated by a Canadian author | Japan
- The Yellow Balloon: watercolours around the world, searching a little ballon | Around the World
- People: by Peter Spier, such beautiful illustrations again | Around the World
- My Village, Rhymes from Around the World
For 7-10 years old:
- Cloud tea monkeys: about a mother tea picker in India. For us it was relevant after our trip | Sri Lanka
- The Dreamer: another book about Pablo Neruda’s life, words only | Chile
- The Ice Bear: could be from anywhere very cold and very wild:)
- Elvis the Camel: could be for younger children too. We bought it in | Oman
- Manfish: the story of Jacques cousteau, for all ocean lovers | Fiji
- Illustrated Myths Around the World: by the very good Usborne publishing house
- The Little Pleasures of Paris: a really sweet trip around my hometown | Paris
- Nelson Mandela: The long walk to freedom: we picked up this one on Robben Island | South Africa
For 8-13 years old:
- Explore, the most dangerous journeys of all times | Around the world
- Ice Trap: also about Shackleton’s journey, but for older children | Antarctica
- Treasure Island: a classic! we have it in French from when I was young | Adventure
- Kensuke’s kingdom: by Michael Mopurgo | Japan
- Running Wild: also by the great Michael Mpurgo | Indonesia
- I am Malala: hopefully everyone know’s that one | Pakistan
- The Everest Files: for older children in this age group | Himalayas
- Refugee Boy: one of Marcelo’s favourite books when he was 10 | Ethiopia & Eritrea
- Letter for the King: adventures in a faraway fictitious land
- Wilds of the Wolf: by the charismatic adventurer Steve Backhall | Siberia
- Mud, Sweat and Tears: autobiography by another extraordinary adventurer Bear Grylls | Around the World
I like this quote from Michael Mopurgo’s website:
Stories make you think and dream; books make you want to ask questions.
Happy Reading & happy snug times, especially if you are, like us, caught in The Beast from the East. Now, that sounds like a catchy title for a children’s travel book…
Ps: Is there any book you’d like to add to the list?