My kids are always on the lookout for new books. Their book collections are so large that I’m planning on opening a second-hand bookstore in my old age (in the meantime we just like visiting these amazing children’s bookstores in London).
Books are the best way to escape. Even if you can’t jump on a plane, books allow you to travel to distant lands and embark on far-flung adventures. You can travel the world without ever leaving your bedroom!
There are so many great travel books for children out there from inspirational travel stories and destination guides to novels set in distant lands and beautifully illustrated atlases.
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Best travel books for kids
“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet”
– Jhumpa Lahiri
Travel books for toddlers
Journey follows the adventures of a young girl as she escapes into a world where wonder, danger and adventure abound. Beautifully illustrated, this story of self-belief and friendship will resonate with all kids…and parents. By Aaron Becker. The follow-up, Quest, is an equally pretty and compelling picture book.
Dave’s Cave by Frann Preston Gannon. This is a fun story that teaches kids to be happy with what you have. Great for younger readers.
This is London is one of those books that you just have to have your kids’ bookshelves. Witty, charming and perceptive, M Sasek shares his impressions of London with its beautiful buildings, black cabs, the Underground and more.
There are plenty more cities featured in this book series including New York, Paris and Rome. These books also make great travel gifts for kids.
Younger children will enjoy reading about everyone’s favourite pig, Peppa, and her visit to see the sights of London. Peppa’s Journey to London is a fun adventure led by the inimitable Miss Rabbit and her friend the Queen.
Travel books for kids aged 4 and older
A great tale for young readers is A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting that tells the story of a young, aspiring bear spotter who goes on an adventure into bear country. By Michelle Robinson (Author), David Roberts (Illustrator).
Written by Kate Pankhurst, descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst, Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World is a brilliant book for all kids. Fascinating facts and fun illustrations introduce young readers to just some of the amazing women from countries around the world who have really made a difference. Some of the amazing women included are Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie and Amelia Earhart.
You’re Called What?! by Kes Gray is a superb book that celebrates animals with weird and wonderful names. The book includes somme of the world’s most bizarre creatures from the Blobfish to the Blue-Footed Booby. It will make kids laugh and teach them about some of the world’s most unusual creatures.
A Dublin Fairytale by Nicola Colton is a really lovely spin on the traditional Little Red Riding Hood story. Little Fiona goes on a walk to visit her granny who is sick. Instead of walking through the woods, however, Fiona takes the reader on a trip through the city of Dublin.
Travel books for kids aged 8 and older
My kids love The Explorer by Katherine Rundell. This is a real adventure tale of four children fighting for survival in the Amazon after their plane crashes in the jungle. While trying to find their way out, they make a fascinating discovery. This is brilliant for children aged 8+.
The Percy Jackson book series has a been a huge hit with kids across the world and has taught a generation of kids about ancient Greek myths and mythology. We’ve been planning a trip to Greece ever since my eldest finished these books.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul follows Greg Heffley and his family as they hit the road with predictably disastrous results! The perfect book to take on a family road trip. By Jeff Kinney.
We are big fans of Lonely Planet Kids books in our household and The Travel Book: A journey through every country in the world is a hit with everyone (including me!). Filled with illustrations and photographs, the book travels through 200 countries around the world. Each destination gets its own dedicated page with fascinating facts on food, wildlife, festivals and more. Perfect for young explorers.
For a real whodunnit mystery for kids try First Class Murder: A Murder Most Unladylike Mystery by Robin Stevens. This great book is a variation on the classic Murder on the Orient Express novel by Agatha Christy. Best friends Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are travelling on the Orient Express with Hazel’s dad when they discover that a heiress on board has been murdered. The girls set about trying to find out who did it.
Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Author) and Steven Lenton (Illustrator). The inspiration for the tale is the story of Laika, a stray dog from Moscow who was sent into space by the Russians in the rocket Sputnik II. In this story, Laika befriends the alien Sputnik, who comes down to earth disguised as a dog and makes friends with a young boy called Prez. Confused? You won’t be once you read it!
Best maps & atlases for kids
The Atlas of Oddities by Clive Gifford (Author) and Tracy Worrall (Illustrator). This book celebrates the events, objects and people that make our world such an interesting place. This around-the-world adventure takes readers from scorching deserts to icy poles, introduces you to a range of animals and plants, and introduces capital cities, borders and fun facts. A public toilet for dogs anyone?
Atlas of Adventures: A collection of natural wonders, exciting experiences and fun festivities from the four corners of the globe. by Lucy Letherland. This beautifully illustrated trip around the world is perfect for armchair travelling. Meet penguins in Antarctica, join the Carnival in Brazil or take a safari down the Zambezi River in Africa.
Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski is a favourite in our household. The 52 maps are beautifully illustrated and as well as showing cities and rivers and mountains, they also show native animals and plants, local foods and the typical names of boys and girls in that country. The accompanying Maps Activity Book is also great.
The Myth Atlas by Thiago de Moraes is a wonderful journey into the realm of gods, myths and legends. Children are introduced to the twelve major mythologies around the world including Egyptian, Greek, Japanese, Norse and Aztec.