Would you like to encourage curiosity in your children? How about global awareness? There’s no better way than with the best travel books for kids. Last week, we discussed great travel reads for adults, and now it’s time to see what children are enjoying, from picture books to chapter books.
Great stories about travel help children expand their horizons and learn about other cultures. From Richard Scarry’s A Day at the Airport to the adventures of Percy Jackson in ancient Greece, we’ve created a list of the ten best travel books for toddlers through ninth graders.
Best Picture Books for Kids About Travel
Travel picture books are a fantastic way to introduce younger children to new cultures and places all over the world. From the wilds of Alaska to the streets of Dublin and New York, your little ones will adore these tales filled with imagination, adventure, and unique destinations.
Wind-Wild Dog by Barbara Joosse and Kate Kiesler
Written by Barbara Joosse and illustrated by Kate Kiesler, Wind-Wild Dog tells the tale of Ziva. Born to a sled-dog mother, Ziva has one brown eye and one blue one. As a result, the Alaskan mushers pass her over as “half-wild” and not fit for dog sledding.
With the patience and perseverance of one musher, however, Ziva becomes a gifted sled dog. But will the call of the wild prove too attractive for her to ignore? Set in the rugged beauty of rural Alaska on the winter solstice, your children will love this captivating story of adventure, wildness, and loyalty. Perfect for kindergarten through fourth grade.
Madlenka by Peter Sis
Written and illustrated by Peter Sis, Madlenka takes kids on a global journey around a New York City block. From the French baker to the Indian news vendor, the Latin American grocer to the Italian ice-cream seller, Madlenka gets to explore a wide variety of cultures all from an ordinary city block! There’s also a retired opera singer from Germany and an Asian shopkeeper.
We get a sneak peek into the images and memories that each of these characters cherishes while learning more about the “Melting Pot” that is America. Madlenka will change the way your kids perceive their corner of the globe and the people who inhabit it. Great for preschoolers through second graders.
A Dublin Fairytale by Nicola Colton
Nicola Colton’s A Dublin Fairytale will transport kids to Ireland for a Celtic spin on “Little Red Riding Hood.” The story is told from the viewpoint of Fiona, who lives in Dublin. Although she wears a red hooded cloak and is off to visit her grandmother, that’s where the similarities end.
Instead of traveling through the forest or meeting up with a wolf, she encounters fanciful characters while touring Dublin’s city center and enjoying its main landmarks. It’s a fun read for preschoolers through second graders.
A Day at the Airport by Richard Scarry
One of the world’s most beloved children’s authors, Richard Scarry introduces kids to travel through his exploration of the airport. Featuring some of Scarry’s most beloved characters, including Huckle Cat, Lowly Worm, and Sally, kids will enjoy this book of discovery while learning all about the inner workings of an airport.
They’ll explore everything from the terminal and the runway to the control tower and much more. The book showcases more than 70 labeled words and a sticker sheet for engaging fun. A fantastic read for preschoolers through second graders.
America’s National Parks by Lonely Planet Kids
Lonely Planet Kids takes children on a journey of adventure through America’s 60 amazing national parks. Featuring awesome facts and spectacular photos, young readers will explore exploding volcanoes, erupting geysers, lush rainforests, and more.
They’ll also learn about the planet’s grandest canyon, the world’s largest tree, and other exciting phenomena in this fascinating exploration of America’s natural wonders. Excellent for kids in fourth through seventh grade.
Best Chapter Books for Kids About Travel and Adventure
These popular chapter books for kids feature exotic settings, captivating storylines, and unforgettable characters. They also come with plenty of world history and mythology.
The Magic Treehouse Series by Mary Pope Osborne
The Magic Treehouse series follows the adventures of Jack and Annie, siblings who go on adventures across time and around the world. From Ancient Rome to India, Scandinavia to the French Alps, these stories will help kids better appreciate world history and cultures.
Osborne does a fantastic job of mixing fascinating details with fast-paced action. She also throws in a captivating dose of world mythology and characters from the Arthurian legends. The series is recommended for grade levels first through fourth.
The Flat Stanley Series by Jeff Brown and Macky Pamintuan
Written by Jeff Brown and illustrated by Macky Pamintuan, the Flat Stanley collection follows the journeys of Stanley Lambchop, an ordinary boy who gets flattened by a bulletin board. Because of his new flatness, Stanley is capable of superhero feats like mailing himself to different parts of the world and gliding like a kite on the breeze.
Inevitably, these talents come in handy as he travels the world, solving mysteries. His worldwide adventures (books one through 12) are a great place to start. Settings range from an African safari to a trip into the Australian Outback. Fantastic for kids in first through fifth grade.
The I Survived Series by Lauren Tarshis
Lauren Tarshis brings to life some of the most fascinating and terrifying events in history through her popular I Survived series. Mixing historical facts with stunning destinations, kids will learn about a variety of challenging events around the world and how kids rose to face them.
They include the destruction of Pompeii, the sinking of the Titanic, the Japanese tsunami of 2011, and more. Each book is based on real-life events and survivor accounts. These books are perfect for second through fifth-grade reading levels.
Percy Jackson, the Kane Chronicles, and Magnus Chase by Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan’s chapter books are beloved by kids. They’re also a great introduction to Egyptian, Greek, and Norse history and mythology.
From Percy’s thrilling adventures with the Greek Olympians to tales of the Egyptian gods in the Kane Chronicles, your kids are in for mad-capped adventures spanning the globe. Excellent for grade levels five to nine.
The Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer
Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series has enjoyed critical acclaim and phenomenal worldwide success. The series follows the adventures of twelve-year-old Artemis, a millionaire and genius, who fights crime.
The stories traverse the planet, from the Arctic to Ancient Atlantis, and feature a colorful array of realistic and mythical characters. Your fifth to ninth-graders will love checking out Artemis’s tales.
Travel Books for Kids
From the adventures or Ziva in Alaska to Flat Stanley’s globetrotting mysteries, the ten travel books for kids listed above will let your children experience the world from the comfort of your home. They’ll also learn about world history and other cultures along the way. Each book or book series is tailored to specific ages so that you can find the best read for your child by grade level and interest. Where will your kids begin their journey?
Global CommUnity offers luxury family vacations to 35 global destinations. Each customized itinerary comes in both 4- and 5-star price points. Your family will enjoy opportunities to interact with a destination’s culture and people in profound ways.
While traveling has come to a halt for the moment, the world will be back on track before we know it. Until then, let Global Community feed your family’s wanderlust through useful and inspiring stories. And when you’re ready to start planning, explore Global CommUnity’s itineraries to open the door to a compelling world of luxury family travel possibilities.