It is never too early to inspire the love of travel in your little one. Studies show that reading to children at an early age helps to develop brain activity and problem-solving skills, so why not enhance this with a desire to explore the world as well? Reading books aloud to kids opens up new adventures and stirs the imagination in creative ways. Discovering new cultures, new worlds, and new faces is just part of the experience. It is a bonding time and a way to encourage curiosity, no matter where you are at that moment.
Today is also Read Across America Day, which is intended to promote reading among kids and teens. So grab your little globetrotter-to-be and read one of these 10 books, or all of them, while traveling the world through story time.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss (Random House)
It is fitting that this book opens the list, as Dr. Seuss has inspired creativity and traveling to faraway imaginary lands for years. Although more of a “life” trip than a tour of different countries, Seuss talks about soaring to high heights and seeing great sights that can spark global conversation. Most importantly, this book pushes young readers to make their own life a journey in and of itself.
This Is the World, by M. Sasek (Universe)
Sasek’s “This Is” series covers places from Hong Kong to Sydney and San Francisco to Rome. With iconic illustrations and fun statistics about each place, the books are still relevant after over 50 years. A fun current fact sheet is in the back of the books. This particular edition is perfect for young voyagers, as it combines excerpts from This is New York, Paris, Greece, London, Australia, Texas, Munich, Rome, Britain, Hong Kong, Israel, San Francisco, Edinburgh, Venice, Washington D.C., and Ireland. Whew! A real around-the-world vacation.
My Mom Is a Foreigner But Not Me, by Julianne Moore (Chronicle Books)
Not only an Academy Award-winning actress, Julianne Moore writes children’s books with heart and a personal touch. This endearing tale about children whose mothers are from faraway lands captures the multicultural life that we treasure. Funny hairdos, offbeat food, and embarrassing expressions become the fabric that weaves our societies together by the end of the story. A must-have for celebrating the variety of people around us.
Busy, Busy World by Richard Scarry (Golden Books)
Finally it’s back! This July, by popular demand, the classic stories of furry creatures perusing and moto-scooting the world will be available once more. There are 33 stories in this book, and all of them have enthralling and jam-packed illustrations where new characters and moments are discovered each time the book is read. Poland, Rio de Janeiro, France, Hong Kong, and more are inside. Don’t be left behind — preorder this book for a happy summer surprise.
At the Same Moment Around the World, by Clotilde Perrin (Chronicle Books)
Artistic and clever, this very cool book takes readers around the globe eastward from the Greenwich Meridian. Each page illustrates one of the 24 time zones and moves from day to night. Senegal, Russia, Peru, and Bulgaria are introduced through not only the concept of hours but also through activities like walking a dog or dancing on a ship crossing the ocean. The fold-out map in the back is fantastic for an easy geography lesson postreading.
Lately Lily, by Micah Player (Chronicle Books)
This brightly colored and chic graphically designed book really celebrates the love of travel and more importantly, of movement. A collage of varied suitcases opens the story, and kids love to choose which bag they will take on their trip. Lily and her best friend, Zeborah the plush toy, go on adventures abroad by train, plane, boat, and camel. They have fun making friends everywhere, and when they get home, they reminisce about their many adventures and keep the travels alive through letters.
Around the World With Mouk, by Marc Boutavant (Chronicle Books)
Another graphically hip book for tots, Mouk starts his world tour in a Parisian café saying goodbye to his friends. Each page features a different site, from Greece to Finland to the Sahara, with local customs and new animal buddies sharing comments and stories throughout. The sleek pages are excellent for grabbing little minds’ attentions, and the 46 reusable stickers turn this book into an afternoon activity.
Good Night World, by Adam Gamble (Good Night Books)
This board book is a great way to start toddlers or younger ones off with a love of the earth. Durable and brightly hued to allow for interaction, and maybe even some chewing on the corners, Good Night World shows readers the planet’s natural wonders. A beautiful message of conservation and respect for the world we inhabit, it is a melodious read that will soothe at bedtime.
My Granny Went to Market, by Stella Blackstone (Barefoot Books)
What child doesn’t love stories about a grandmother who brings home exotic gifts and souvenirs from her magic-carpet-ride shopping bonanza? A rhyming book starting in Istanbul, where the said carpet is purchased, this wild ride teaches kids about the multitude of cultural objects and the people who sell them. A great introduction to starting collections and traveling through objects.
The Lonely Planet Kids Amazing World Atlas: Bringing the World to Life, by Lonely Planet (Lonely Planet)
Every young adult needs an atlas, and this beginning geographical tome is ideal for 8-year-olds and up. Filled with photos, facts, sports stats, school life, and humor, this book engages minds and entertains with over 50 illustrated maps. Vivid photos bring reality into the escapade, and the easy mix of history and culture will start many discussions.
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