Today it’s world book day! And if you love books, this is a very special day indeed: in the UK and Ireland, today is the biggest celebration of books and reading and it is marked by many local literary based initiatives and children events, aimed at inspiring children to read and to share the books they love with their friends.
My children are only now starting to actually read, but this hasn’t stopped us from trying to pass onto them a passion for books. Since they were tiny, we’ve given them books to touch, feel, observe and this seems to have made them really familiar with the idea of books and to spark in them a real love for the written word.
Despite the ever increasing attraction of screens, apps and videos, a trip to the bookshop is for my children a great treat and the fact that we, parents, have little self-control, when it comes to books, means such a trip often ends up with a handful of wonderfully crisp new books to be brought home!
Among the many books we love, for today’s post I have selected 10 that my kids particularly enjoy and that I believe fit well the travel theme of this blog. The books are not specifically about a destination or even travel in general, but rather books that inspire curiosity about the world: they are perfect for kids who do travel but also for kids that are home for a long time and want to learn and fantasise about faraway places.
Children books to inspire curiosity about the world
This list is made of books we own and love but for the sake of aesthetics, I am including here pictures from Amazon. The added advantage of these pictures is that if you click on them you will be redirected to the Amazon UK website and you can therefore by the books straight away.
Ten little fingers and ten little toes: This is one of my daughter’s (3 y.o.) favourite books. It’s a small, beautifully illustrated book that talks about children from all over the world: what makes them different (their natural surroundings, their health etc) but most of all what makes them all the same. It’s a book about inclusion and thanks to the illustration of different parts of the world, helps give the children the idea that what they experience is just one of the many possibilities and kids are kids (or people are people) no matter where you are from.
The snail and the whale: more specifically a book about travel. The curious snail wants to travel the world but her physical traits make such a journey difficult. Thanks to the help of a friendly whale, the problem is soon solved: the snail hops on boards and her great around the world journey can start!
Lost and Found: this is a fantastic book that both my kids love and that I am particularly fond on. It’s a tale of friendship and of a perilous journey a boy and a penguin take to the South Pole: its only drawback is that ist makes your kids want to go to Antarctica NOW, which might not be so feasible for everyone….
Barefoot books: ore than one book, a series of amazing books that often come complete with music CDs. My kids first discovered them when they were tiny, when they listened to the ones with the best-known children songs, but are now overly fond of their atlas. I might regret saying this, but the atlas also comes as a beautiful app for iPad!
Paddington: again rather that a specific book, the whole of the Paddington series is perfect to make your kids interested in London specifically. Originally from ‘darkest Peru’, Paddington relocates to London and between landmarks such as Hampstead Heath and flagships stores, makes the city come to life. The recent movie version of the book and Paddington itineraries in the city are also a great way to link book and reality: it’s something we haven’t done it but it’s very much in our travel pipeline!
A Dublin fairytale: this book is specifically about Dublin, Ireland and my kids adore it. Little red riding hood does not live in the woods for this one but in Dublin fair city and sees all majour city landmarks while strolling to see her nana. A lovely book for local kids and visitors!
Richard Scarry: the busy busy world book. One of my kids’ favourite authors, this book is a classic and probably needs no introduction. When I first introduced my kids to Richard Scarry they were not too convinced: they were probably too young when I first suggested his books, but now that they are 3 and 5 can’t get enough of him. It was one of my childhood favourite authors too, so I am very happy to oblige any time they as to read it!
The lonely beast: one again, not strictly a book about travel but a book that includes an around the world adventure. I absolutely adore the lonely beast and between books, ebooks and apps, I don’t’ believe I can ever have enough stuff about her!
The big book of big trains. you might find this one a strange name to include in a list to inspire curiosity about the word, but actually, it’s a book that has sparked so many questions about different countries, I should have probably mentioned it first! It’s a book about… trains but since it talks about different models from different parts of the world, it has captured my kids’ imagination. The main hook here is the maglev, the fastest train on earth: it’s in Japan and thanks to it, my kids now are absolutely obsessed with going there on holidays! I ‘just’ need to work on a budget for it….
Last but not least Dr Seuss: an absolute favourite in our house as, I am sure, in many others. I always marvel at how much my kids love these books: the first we had was green ham and eggs but now we are proud owners of VERY many of them. They are always a great laugh and I find them very clever and a fun way to introduce the idea of irony.
So, this is a list of books that we love. Do you have others to suggest? I’d love to add many more to our collection!
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