Travel books work like magic – they allow you to travel the world one page at a time. As parents, we learned how reading plays an important role in our children’s development. We start reading to our little ones since they are barely old enough to understand the words. It encourages children to look at the words, point to the pictures, copy the sounds, learn new words, and so much more.
So, what better way to sparkle travel curiosity than travel books for kids? I got the travel bug early on in life and I remember looking at pictures in books and magazines. I couldn’t wait to start exploring the world around me and needless to say, the travel bug is something I wanted my daughter to inherit. And of course, it all starts with travel books for kids!
Here is a list I created of picture and chapter travel books for my daughter, and I wanted to share it with you.
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Best Travel Books for Kids – Preschool (3-5 years old)
1. Little Traveler Board Book
It is never too early to introduce your up-and-coming traveler to monuments, food, animals, and cars from around the world with Mudpuppy’s Little Traveler Board Book Set. This cute little Board Book Set includes four mini board books with eight pages per book, packaged together in a slipcase box.
Your little traveler will see cute drawings of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, puffins from Iceland, and tortoises from the Galápagos. Kids will love the colors and because the books are small and sturdy, it’s perfect for little hands.
2. How to Make an Apple Pie
With apple pie, the sky’s the limit. In this delightful book by Marjorie Priceman, young readers go around the world to collect the ingredients they need to make a delicious apple pie. The only question is if they will be able to make it back home. Along the way, they pick apples in Vermont and steal fresh milk from an unsuspecting cow in England. To really spice things up, they hop on a steamboat to Italy and hijack semolina wheat.
Just make sure you have the ingredients ready at home, your little one will definitely want to make and eat a yummy apple pie.
3. A Day at the Airport
Richard Scarry’s A Day at the Airport tells the story of Sally, Huckle, and Lowly who were supposed to go sailing, but thanks to the rain, end up at the airport with their friend Rudolf von Flugel for fun airport sightseeing. The book is full of small details in the pictures, so it will hold the attention of your little one for a while.
It would be a good idea to bring the book to the airport too so you and your kids can compare the illustrations with the places in a “real” airport. Get ready to answer many airport questions!
4. Going on an Airplane
Once you’re done exploring the airport, it’s time to go on an airplane! The book prepares the little ones for their first flight and first time inside an airplane. It has photos and age-appropriate language for kids to understand. Plus, we all know how stressful it is to travel, imagine how much stress it will be for a kid who will be a first-time airplane traveler!
In this toddler prep book by Amy Kathleen Pittman, young kids will learn what to expect, and what they’ll see and experience while using realistic representations. You can start reading it a few days before your flight to prep kids from parking in the garage all the way to baggage claim. Pretty convenient!
5. Lately Lily: The Adventures of a Traveling Girl
The Lately Lily: The Adventures of a Traveling Girl by Micah Player tells the story of where Lily has been lately.
Lily is a world traveler who loves to see new sights and meet new people. She travels by plane, train, boat, and even by camel. Lily takes her best friend Zeborah along on adventures to exotic destinations before settling down in cozy homes near home.
Beginner readers will enjoy and have fun while they join Lily on a world tour and experience the world through her eyes.
Best Travel Books for Kids – Middle Childhood (6-8 years old)
Looking for a book that will transport your little one to a magical world? Well, you need to check out Peter Sis’s Madlenka! It is a beautiful story perfect for readers of all ages that will take them on a journey around the world. All from NYC!
Madlenka just has to tell everyone about her loose tooth to the diverse cast of characters around her block. Some include the French baker, the Indian news vendor, an Italian ice cream man, and a retired opera singer from Germany (among others!).
This book is a great way to learn about different cultures and traditions while enjoying the illustrations. An added plus, the book was a 2000 New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year.
7. A Dublin Fairytale
A Dublin Fairytale is an illustrated book by Nicola Colton featuring Fiona. This beautiful and unique travel book for kids is set in Dublin and is full of colorful characters and creatures from the fairytale world.
Your little one can follow Fiona on a journey to her Granny’s house, and wander about who is following her through the streets of Dublin. This book is the first published work by Colton and it won the Literary Association of Ireland Children’s Book Award in 2017. When my daughter first read it, she was able to make the connections between little red riding hood and Fiona’s travels around Dublin.
8. Let’s See Ireland
Once your little ones are done exploring Dublin, they can explore the rest of Ireland with the book, Let’s See Ireland by Sarah Bowie. The book includes an illustrated map of Ireland and tells the story of Molly as she goes on a vacation to see Ireland with her mom and dad.
Let’s See Ireland is the perfect travel book for kids to introduce them to this beautiful Irish country. They can follow Molly and her family on a tour of the main sights, including Dublin Zoo, Rock of Cashel, Hook Lighthouse, Cliffs of Moher, and much more! This book is both fun and educational, and it will delight both adults and children alike.
9. Let’s Explore with Cor Cor
Let’s explore with Cor Cor is the perfect travel book for kids to show that with determination, nothing can stop you from exploring the world! Co-author Cory Lee – a wheelchair user who has visited all seven continents – wanted to create the book he wanted to read as a small child growing up. Along with a collaboration with his mother, Sandy Gilbreath, they created Let’s Explore with Cor Cor to show anything is possible for all children no matter the physical challenges.
Cor Cor travels around the world to places like Finland, England, and Africa on different modes of transportation, such as boats, trains, planes, and even on a wheelchair made for sand during his trip to Florida. It goes to show that no matter the challenges, all kids and adults are ready for adventure and fun.
10. Olivia Goes to Venice
Written and illustrated by Ian Falconer, the Olivia series are many, but Olivia Goes to Venice tells the story of Olivia’s family’s spring vacation to Venice where she dodges pigeons in Piazza San Marco, eats gelato (a lot of gelatos!), and wanders over the many bridges dotting Venice.
Along with the illustrations, Falconer uses the photographic background to portray the beauty and reality of Venice so that the little ones will see real-life photos. If you haven’t already, you’ll love Olivia and her fun personality during her Venice trip.
11. Molly and the Magic Suitcase Series
So far, the series Molly and the Magic Suitcase by Chris and Amy Oler gathered their four books set in Europe into their European Adventures. The story follows Molly and her brother Michael who are curious about the world. Together, they hold the magic suitcase, say the name of the place they want to go, and POOF! Instant arrival to their destination. If only it were that easy in real life!
Molly and Michael go on European adventures to places like London, Copenhagen, Rome, and Barcelona. Along the way, they meet different characters, try different games and food, see famous sights, and learn about local culture.
12. Where on Earth? Atlas
Our planet Earth is full of wonderful places and there’s no doubt our world is not small! Where on Earth? Atlas shows the readers all about early Earth (you know, like 500-million-year-old Earth), the continents, and oceans. The book is informative and showcases a range of different topics, including geography, nature, people, history, arts, science, and tech.
The book is full of colorful pages, famous landmarks, such as the Grand Canyon, Amazon, Great Rift Valley, and the Alps as well as wildlife, climate, and night views. Is it a book to read from beginning to end? Probably not, but it’s certainly a book to reference before going on a trip and checking out the continent and fun facts about it.
13. Magic Treehouse
The Magic Treehouse tells the story of Jack and Annie who discover a mysterious tree house filled with books. They never dream that it will take them on exciting adventures worldwide and throughout history! Because the Magic Treehouse is a boxed set of 28 books by Mary Pope Osborne, your young reader will have hours and hours of fun reading material, and travel adventures while completing missions.
The story starts with Dinosaurs Before Dark by taking Jack and Annie back in time to the prehistoric era. There’s also The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, Ghost Town at Sundown, Vacation under a Volcano, and Good Morning, Gorillas.
14. This is… by Miroslav Sasek
This Is… is a series of travel books for kids written and illustrated by Miroslav Sasek. I read somewhere that what was supposed to be three books total, turn into a series of 10+ books, including This is America, This Is Ireland, This Is Washington, D.C., This Is Paris, This Is London, This Is Rome, This is Australia, and so many more!
The series contains illustrations and language that are easy for young readers to read and understand. To be honest, my daughter prefers This Is Paris and This Is Rome over the others, but that’s the beauty of books. You can just read what you love!
15. A walk in… by Salvatore Rubbino
A Walk In… by Salvatore Rubbino is a series of travel books for kids that introduce an international city to young readers told from the point of view of the young traveler. The stories are set in a modern-day world with nice illustrations and easy-to-read language.
Some books in the series include A Walk in Paris, A Walk in New York, and A Walk in London. The little ones can learn so much about each city that they can help you plan your next trip to any of those cities!
16. Atlas of Adventures
The Atlas of Adventures is the perfect travel book for curious kids, who want to know more about the world around them. From a map of the world in every section to colorful two-page spreads featuring its pretty cool locations, both the young and the old will enjoy this book.
Each section begins with an infographic map of the region it explores, and ends with a list of fun facts that are perfect for sharing. Plus, Atlas of Adventures celebrates diversity from 30 destinations worldwide, including dancing the samba in Brazil and steering a gondola in a Venice canal.
17. This Is How We Do It
This is how we do it is a celebration of global perspectives showing the similarities and differences of children from different countries, while also exploring their daily life. It’s perfect for upcoming little travelers.
This genuine exchange provides a look into traditions that may be different from our own but that also mirror our everyday experiences. Inspired by his own travels, Matt Lamonthe takes little readers across the globe and back with this cute picture book. It is the perfect travel book for kids to learn about new cultures and customs.
18. The Flag Book
In The Flag Book, Lonely Planet Kids introduces kids to the flags of every country in the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, and tells them what their designs, colors, and images represent.
Young travel readers will learn why some countries have rectangular flags while others have round ones. They’ll also find out which country has a flag that isn’t rectangular- even though it’s not square either!
The Flag Book also goes over coats of arms, pirate flags, ships and airplane flags, and sports flags…basically, it’s all about flags.
19. Road Trip Activities
Don’t you wish your young travelers would do something on a road trip besides watching videos on their tablets or phones? I admit, we have fallen into this trap on occasion, but some good road trip activities can make time go by faster while on the road.
This activity book is filled with travel games and puzzles for those hours in the car (or airplane!). The kids can play alone or together with the family with a wide variety of games, including mazes, word searches, bingo games, scavenger hunts, cryptograms, Mad Libs, and riddles.
The book’s size makes it easy for kids to throw it in their bag and bring it with them wherever they’re going.
20. Pete the Cat’s Family Road Trip
Pete the Cat and his family go on a cross-country adventure in this travel book for kids created by Kimberly and James Dean.
It tells the story of Pete the Cat and his family as they go on a road trip across America. With the help of friends old and new, they get to visit Niagara Falls, New Orleans, Savannah, and the Grand Canyon. Plus, it has the cutest ending with Pete stating that the best thing was traveling together as a family.
21. 50 Adventures in the 50 States
Do you want to experience the best travel adventure activities in the US with a gorgeous book? From award-winning author Kate Siber, the book provides different adventure activities for each US state.
50 Adventures in the 50 States features outdoor activities illustrated and described alongside facts about the nature and geography of each activity state. It will introduce your children to the states and their capitals and some fun facts about each state. It is perfect for children who are ready to start reading on their own.
Best Travel Books for Kids – Childhood (9-11 years old)
22. Diary of a Wimpy Kid – The Long Haul
Can you believe there are about 17 Diary of a Wimpy Kid books? The Long Haul is book 9 of the series as the Heffley family takes their first family vacation in years.
In this sort of travel book for kids, Greg Heffley is so excited about the trip that he doesn’t even care that his mom has forced him to bring along a video camera to document the whole thing. But things soon go wrong – the RV develops a weird rattling noise and Greg’s dad just can’t seem to get it fixed. Then they’re faced with the prospect of sharing their cramped quarters with another family. And on it goes.
This is by far one of my daughter’s favorite books in the series. It’s easy for her to read and the only reason she stops reading, it’s because she can’t stop laughing.
23. Girl on a Motorcycle
This captivating story of a girl and her motorcycle by Amy Novesky features stunning illustrations by Julie Morstad. The girl on a motorcycle wants to wander the world and go…Elsewhere.
This book is based on the true story of the first woman to ride a motorcycle around the world alone. Each place has something to teach her. Each place is beautiful. And despite all the ups and downs, she continues to get back up and ride. I think it sends a great and inspiring message to young readers.
24. Kids’ Travel Guide – Germany
The Kids’ Travel Guide to Germany is the perfect book for the family planning a trip to Germany with their kids. It will help your kids get ready to visit Germany by preparing for what to expect, what to pack, German food, facts about the country, and they get to meet Leonardo – the travel guide.
The book includes puzzles, tasks, tips, and recommendations you and your kids will love. Because it uses easy language, it is easy to read and the kids can do the activities while exploring some of the big cities in Germany, including Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg.
Do you have a favorite travel book for kids that are missing from the list? Share them with us in the comments below!
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