It’s almost summer.
I can hardly believe it myself. One thing that seems to be on people’s minds right now is summer travel. While my friends are busy finding flight and hotel deals, I urge them to remember the kids. Taking time and spending money to travel is a luxury for most people. For families, the biggest travel concern is the kids. What are the children going to do? How are we going to keep them occupied?
The good news is that every city, town, or village has, at least, a small population of children. And with that population of children there is usually a nice assortment of child-friendly activities. Usually a decent park with a fun playground. Maybe a nice museum. I’ve been to playgrounds with my kids all over the world. I love seeing what types of equipment different countries offer their kids.
And though those breaks to get the wiggles out are much needed and fun, I’ll be honest. I don’t travel to compare different playgrounds. I don’t want to spend my valuable vacation time sitting at playgrounds. I’m a strong believer in deeper travel and I think that’s still possible with kids in tow.
How do I do it? I get them interested in the places they’re going to visit before we go there. This can be done with movies, websites, or trying new recipes. My favorite way to do it, though, is through books.
There are so many varieties of children’s travel books available to teach kids about other cultures.
I’ll share a few of my favorite types here.
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Lonely Planet has a series of travel guides specifically for children. Their “Not For Parents” guides give kids all the inside information about a place, but leave out all of the boring logistics. So, technically not a guide, but an awesome resource of interesting topics kids are sure to love.
The Leap and Hop series is more than just a travel guide. It’s an interactive book that provides information, encourages age-appropriate discovery at local sites and attractions, and is a destination-specific travel journal.
One of the things I love about a series of books is that you get to know the characters. And then those familiar characters usually take kids on a tour of a different destination in each book, stopping at places they’ll likely see in person on their visit. There are several popular travel series, covering almost any destination. These include Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures, The Magic Tree House and the accompanying Fact Checker series, and the This Is series by M. Sasek. Other series kids will love are:
- Molly and the Magic Suitcase: Join Molly and Michael as they learn about the cultural differences they experience on their travels.
- Rabs and Ted: This bear and rabbit get into interesting situations around different cities.
- Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: These adventures are based on real-life brothers who also travel the world.
- If You were me and you lived in: Many people strive to “travel like a local” and this series gives a kid’s perspective of life in different countries.
Folktales and Fairytales
These books rarely directly discuss the attractions a family might visit while on a trip. However, folktales and fairytales give kids a better understanding and appreciation of the country.
Browse a selection of folktales, fairytales, and myths at Kids Travel Books.
What is the kid interested in?
With so many options available these days, there’s a great chance that a book exists that coincides with the child’s interest. A sports fanatic may find biographies about a country’s popular athletes. An artist can discover the local craft movement via art books.
And this group, the Multicultural Kids Blog Bloggers, are the best resource. Within this group we have several published authors:
- The Pack-n-Go Series by Janelle Diller and Lisa Travis. An American girl travels the world and meets girls in different countries.
- Aisha the Indian Princess by Lucy Abdullah. Join Aisha as she visits different cities around the world.
- Maria Magdelena has a short story about her home country, Indonesia, titled If there is no Rainy Season. She also wrote an activity book to help kids understand geography, Two Brave Kittens.
- Giselle Shardlow’s Kids Yoga Stories offers a variety of yoga-themed books, coloring books, and multilingual books to cover different interests.
- Farrah Qazi’s Zachariah’s Perfect Day explains the routine of a Muslim family during Ramadan.
- As I mentioned earlier, one way to prepare kids for a trip is through cooking, and Cooking with Languages is the perfect option for those visiting Spain. The activity cookbook focuses on Spanish food and is written in both English and Spanish.
- La Familia Cool by Dania Santana, is another Spanish bilingual book. This one, however, looks at diversity, self-esteem, and racial differences.
As you can see, there are plenty of options available to prepare your kids for a trip to a new place. For more resources, I suggest my own website, Kids Travel Books. I also have a Pinterest Board dedicated to Travel Books for Kids posts written by other bloggers. And finally, wherever your travels take you, join us here at Multicultural Kids Blogs this summer as we explore more books in the Read Around the World Series. Every week starting on June 2 a different blogger will introduce you to a new book with a worldly theme. Remember these books don’t need to just prepare them for the trip they’re about to embark on, they’ll also teach them about places they’ve never been before.