“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination and the journey. They are home.” ~ Anna Quindlen
This post is very close to my heart as I love to read books to and with my kids. And what best when you can share your love for traveling with your kids and let them get inspired for an adventure.
So we asked our fellow travel bloggers about their recommendations of the best travel books that instill and intrigue the wanderlust in their kids.
So let’s start building our library and keep traveling.
Best Travel Books for Toddlers
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu
So why not take the first step very early in life?
I believe for toddlers the whole idea of vacation and traveling with family is the first thought that needs to be instilled. So any book about a road-trip, a train ride, air travel or colorful places would work the magic.
Read these cute and colorful board books for toddlers that would sow the first seed.
1. Good Night Hawaii
Author – Adam Gamble
Good Night Hawaii by Adam Gamble is a fantastic travel book for children. It is about the state of Hawaii in the United States of America.
Good Night Hawaii is suitable for children aged 0 to 5 years old as it is a board book with rounded corners. It is beautifully illustrated with cute and bright cartoons, featuring children, their families, and the magnificent sights they see in Hawaii. It uses simple rhythmic language to inspire kids to travel or remember their travels to Hawaii.
Good Night Hawaii is special as it takes children on an adventure over the course of a day to see key attractions, enjoy fun activities, and experience Hawaiian culture. It starts in the morning seeing humpback whales, which helps children think about whale watching.
It also highlights mountains and waterfalls to reference the numerous walks in Hawaii like Diamond Head and the Manoa Falls waterfall. Dolphins playing in the lagoon are mentioned to recall a dolphin swimming experience.
There is also talk of sea life to prompt thoughts about Waikiki Aquarium or Sea Life Park Hawaii. Coral reefs spark memories of snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, and playing in the sand at beaches helps to reminisce about Waikiki Beach and Lanikai Beach.
Good Night Hawaii depicts surfers, windsurfers, hula dancers, luaus, and fire dancers. The children in the book see volcanoes and the observatory. Hawaiian greetings like Aloha and Mahalo are also used.
Good Night Hawaii is a great children’s travel book about Hawaii.
Suggested by Clara from Petite Capsule
Buy this book and travel to Hawaii:
2. Maisy Goes on a Plane
Author – Lucy Cousins
Maisy books are a hit among little ones. I remember my toddler getting on every Maisy book available in the library.
In this book, the cute little mouse Maisy goes on an airplane for the first time to meet her friend. It is interesting to see how Maisy gets excited to see the cockpit and makes new friends aboard.
This book is great to read with your kids before their first flight and let them see that seat belts and other checks are important.
Maisy has another fun book Maisy Goes to London in which she visits London with her friends. She explores the famed destinations – Big Ben, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace on the red Double Decker bus. The colorful pictures attract the kids and are a hit among the Maisy fans.
Buy these fun and colorful Maisy books:
Author – Aaron Becker
This unique travel book is unlike most books. Journey is a storybook told through pictures. There are no words and children use their imagination to tell the story page by page.
The story begins in New York City as a little girl bored at home finds a red crayon. She uses the crayon to draw pictures. Each picture opens a door or creates a new adventure with a new place. The girl uses her crayon to help her on her journey, from New York City to a forest, to an imperial city, to a magic carpet and then to a balloon in the sky.
Children are challenged to tell the story using the pages as a prompt. The stories can change daily as the pictures are the only guide to a child’s imaginative way of storytelling.
This book inspires kids to travel as it creates different scenes and locations in the book. Kids are excited to see a girl flying on a magic carpet in the desert and want to join her, or are curious about the city she visits and would love to see something similar.
The book is great for children from a young age until early teens. The book has a wider age span simply because there is no restriction on storytelling. Even adults love being able to come up with new stories every time they read the book to their children.
Suggested by Diana from Travels in Poland
This 2014 Caldecott Honor book is sure to add beautiful memories. Buy it soon.
4. Mr. Chicken goes to Paris
Author: Leigh Hobbs
Leigh Hobbs was Australia’s Children’s Laureate during 2016-17. He is both a terrific writer and illustrator famous for his Old Tom series, which has been serialized for the TV.
Leigh Hobbs’ Mr. Chicken series is a hilarious read, in which Mr. Chicken travels far and wide visiting the key sites and tourist destinations of the city. This is rather like Leigh himself who has traveled worldwide, working in schools in order to champion the creativity of children and to highlight the importance of libraries for this purpose.
Hobbs’ book ‘Mr. Chicken goes to Paris’ was nominated for the CBCA Picture Book of the Year Award. It is full of color, fancy and fun as Mr. Chicken, along with his friend Yvette, visit the key attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame.
Mr. Chicken is charmed by the magic of the city but we are less sure what the Parisians make of a large yellow bird coming to town!
The book is wonderful to read aloud and informative and educational too. It is part of a wider series including Mr. Chicken Lands in London and Mr. Chicken Arrives in Rome. Translated into several languages the books are a great way for children, from pre-schoolers to age nine or ten, to have fun learning all about exciting places to travel overseas from Leigh Hobb’s (and presumably Mr. Chicken’s) home country Australia.
Suggested by Sally Flint from SallyFlint who herself is an author of children’s books.
This cute and hilarious book can be bought from:
5. The Snail and the Whale
Author – Julia Donaldson
Julia Donaldson is the popular UK children’s author of well know colorful rhyming books like The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom. Our favorite of all her books has to be The Snail on the Whale though.
It’s a story about a snail with an “itchy” foot, whose fed up of his life stuck to the same old rock. A humpback whale shows up and offers to take him on a tour around the world. On the adventure, they visit snowy topped mountains, rainforest strewn beaches, vibrant coral reefs ad the depths of the oceans.
Along the way, the snail realizes how vast the world is and how small he is as a part of that. When they visit a busy bay full of tourists in speedboats and jet skis, the whale becomes confused and swims to shore.
He’s beached and the snail has to rush to find help for his new friend. Thankfully there’s a happy ending and they return to the snails home to share their adventures with his friends who all decide to join them on a trip around the world.
The Snail and the Whale is a great book for children under 5 and my daughter has loved it since as young as one thanks to the colorful illustrations. It’s great for inspiring travel in little ones by showing them how many different experiences the world has to offer.
Suggested by Sophie Marie from Lifestyle Queensland
Make this cute little book yours:
6. Berenstain Bears Around the World
Author – Mike Berenstain
In Mike Berenstain’s book, Berenstain Bears Around the World, the Bear family embark on a journey around the world with the help of Doctor Bear’s Anywhere-Anyplace Machine.
With the touch of a button, they are able to visit England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Africa, India, China, Australia, Antarctica, South America, Mexico, Canada, and different places throughout the United States.
This book inspires kids to travel by giving them an idea of all the cool things and places they can find all over the world. At each place, The Bear family visits they see a famous landmark, learn a cool fact or see different animals that call that place home. For example, they find out where you can find delicious chocolate as well as the animals you can find in the rainforest.
The Berenstain Bears Around the World is perfect for beginning readers. This book is enjoyed by all ages, those that love having books read to them as well as kids that are just learning to read. It has simple sentences with simple concepts making it the perfect book for early readers.
They will be able to recognize many familiar words throughout the book. Overall this is a fun book that inspires kids to travel as well as encourage their love of reading.
Suggested by Heather Hoke from Embracing Chaos with Love
Grab your copy now and start traveling:
Travel Books for Children Aged 6- 12 years
This is the age when our young ones are becoming independent readers and are eager to share the wanderlust. So let’s feed them a good diet of books and some best travel quotes that help them dream and explore.
Author: Johanna Spyri
The book is about an orphan girl named Heidi who lived with her Aunt and visited her grandfather in the green mountains of Switzerland to live with him. She enjoyed the simple countryside life and relished the goat milk and delicious homemade cheese.
Heidi made friends with a boy named Peter and enjoyed the life close to nature. But after a few years when her aunt took her to Frankfurt, she was not happy to go and leave her friends and life. While in Frankfurt, she makes friends with Clara, a wheelchair ridden girl. Getting settled in the city, she misses her grandfather and the beautiful countryside.
This is a wonderful book set among the beautiful Swiss Alps and is an appropriate read for all the kids aged 7 – 10 years. Through the book, they get a glimpse into the unspoiled countryside life and true friendship.
Grab the book from Amazon:
8. MISSION: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure series
Author – Catherine Aragon
A book series that my three children not only love but my husband and I have come to rely on during our travels is called MISSION: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure.
When we first moved from America to Barcelona, our days were filled exploring the city and visiting the most popular tourist attractions. Typically my kids would be bored stiff of staring at monuments all day long. But instead, they couldn’t wait to get from one place to another – and here’s why!
Someone gifted us a MISSION: Barcelona book before moving abroad and it turned out to be the very best way to introduce our kids to their new home city!
The MISSION books which are perfect for kids ages 6-10 will transform them into the world of history, art, culture, and architecture but in a fun and exciting way as private detectives. They’ll look for clues and solve problems all while learning about the city.
As the children complete challenges, they’ll earn points towards a special agent certification called the SIA (Secret International Agency).
The MISSION series is available on Amazon for some of the most popular tourist destinations such as Barcelona, Rome, Paris, and New York. To learn more about the series, visit www.scavengerhuntadventures.com .
Suggested by Lauren from The Expat Chronicle
Check out the other books in the MISSION series:
9. Anne of Green Gables
Author – L. M. Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables is a 1908 coming-of-age novel written by Lucy Maude Montgomery. The story follows the stubborn, strong-willed, 11-year-old orphan Anne Shirley as she’s adopted by siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert and carves out a life for herself in the fictional town of Avonlea in Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Though the Cuthberts originally wanted to adopt a boy to help them with tasks on their farm, Green Gables, they are eventually charmed by Anne and allow her to stay. The first of several books in the series, Anne of Green Gables sees Anne navigate friendships, heartbreak, and shenanigans with humor and lots of heart that is sure to charm any reader, young or old.
Anne’s single-mindedness and determination are great qualities for young women to aspire to and the setting in Prince Edward Island is sure to make young readers itch to see this beautiful area of Canada for themselves.
Though it is still quite an entertaining book for adults to read, children of about ages 7-8 and up are sure to enjoy this book to the fullest. So if you’re looking for a great book that will inspire young readers to travel, Anne of Green Gables is sure to have them planning a trip to PEI, Canada!
Suggested by Maggie Turansky from Books Like This One
10. Around the World in 50 Ways
Author – Dan Smith for Lonely Planet Kids
I remember fondly reading the choose your own adventure books as a child. The ability to create your adventure and plot was a thrill for the imagination.
When I discovered that Lonely Planet Kids had created a similar interactive book, with a travel theme, I knew it would be an exciting read for kids.
Written by Dan Smith, Around the World in 50 Ways is a clever book that follows Zac to lots of places around the globe. If the correct route is followed, the reader will start and finish in London, but with many dead ends, it may take several adventures and trips to arrive at the final destination.
Travel to cities, islands, and fascinating locations as you create your unique experience. Choose between various transport options, travel directions, number of days traveling and flying hours. When you arrive at a new destination, read fascinating facts and details before going to somewhere new.
Lonely Planet is brilliant at creating kids’ books that are fun and can be used as a learning resource. This particular book also has the added element of inspiring wanderlust in children as they read about incredible places around the world.
Targeted to children aged 9 – 12 years, my daughter was 7 when we started reading the book to her, and it is still one of her favorites, as the adventure never ends.
Suggested By Sharee Middleton from Inspire Family Travel
So what are you waiting for? Grab it for your kids as well.
11. 50 Must Read Indian Stories – Places of India
Author – Amar Chitra Katha
I grew up with Amar Chitra Katha! It is the most authoritative, age-old publication that comes out with comic books on Indian history & mythology! The language is easy and the comic illustrations are visually attractive to keep the kids engrossed in it!
While I’d suggest kids above 10yrs to read the books by themselves, its never too early for the books to be read to them. The first Amar Chitra Katha book that I bought for my daughter was ‘50 Must Read Indian Stories’. It is set with 5 volumes in 5 subjects with 10 stories in each volume. One of them is ‘Places of India’.
The book deals with 10 different places that are historically important in various time periods – including Puri, Hampi, Tirupathi, Jallianwala Bagh, etc. The best thing about it is that each story talks about both the history and mythology behind each place, esp., the religious sites.
So, when I talk about the Gods depicted in the stories, as well as the actual architecture & sculptures of the temple, it really fascinates my gal. She remembers the stories and relates the Gods to the places.
I have taken my gal to only one of these places. I’m looking forward to taking her to all these places and see them all again through her eyes.
Suggested by Bhushavali from My Travelogue by Bhushavali
Buy these great Indian stories:
12. The Jungle Book
Author – Rudyard Kipling
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling is a classic children’s book written in 1894, but it’s one that many people don’t know as well as they think they do. It was remade by Disney into an animated film in the 1960s, and for most children, this cartoon version is their first introduction to the story.
Or stories, rather, as The Jungle Book is actually a collection of short stories about a variety of animals who live in the jungles of India. The names of some of these characters are actually the Hindi names for their species. For example, Baloo the bear, Bagheera the black panther, and Akela the wolf.
There’s also Mowgli, a young boy (“man-cub”) who was raised by wolves in the jungle, and who became the protagonist of the Disney version. In the book, though, only a few of the stories feature Mowgli, while others are about other characters who don’t appear in the Disney version at all, such as a mongoose named Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and an elephant named Kala Nag.
The stories are actually fables written with the aim of teaching moral lessons, while at the same time introducing children to the animals who live in the jungles of South Asia. Many children will be inspired by these stories to visit the national parks of the region in the hopes of seeing some of these animals in real life.
Parents should keep in mind that, while intended for children, the book was written in the 19th century and therefore uses some old-fashioned language that may be difficult for younger children to understand. It’s therefore probably best for a pre-teen or teenage audience.
Suggested by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan
Add it to your collection:
13. Thea Stilton and the Riddle of the Ruins
Author – Elisabetta Dami
Thea Stilton and the Riddle of the Ruins is an enthusiastic book, written by Elisabetta Maria Dami. She writes under pseudonyms of Geronimo Stilton and Thea Stilton. Thea is Gernimo’s adventure-loving younger sister.
This book is about 5 rodents who love to travel, meet new rodents, and learn new things. They study at Mouseford Academy in Whale Island. This year, an archeology seminar is being held at the campus and the Thea Sisters – Collete, Paulina, Violet, Nicky, and Pamela have entered in, to learn something new, unlike the Ruby Crew.
The head of the academy makes an announcement – the rodents, receiving the highest grades on their projects, win a trip for an excavation program, to Hierapolis, Turkey! And, the Thea Sisters are chosen!!! Once again they are in for an adventure!
The ancient city of Hieropolis seems like an incredible place to visit. The hot springs of Pamukkale with its white travertine terraces are inviting. The details about the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hierapolis-Pamukkale in the story intrigued me enough to take a trip to Turkey pretty soon to witness the rich culture, beauty, and hot springs of the country.
This book is perfect for kids aged 7 to 9 years. The Thea Sisters’ adventures are sure to inspire young readers to take on new adventures themselves.
Contributed by our little reader herself – Amishi Chawla from Roots, Wings, and Many Things
What are you waiting for? Make this yours:
14. Going Solo
Author – Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl will always be remembered as the greatest English storyteller of the 20th Century. He started writing children’s books in the 1960s, in the second part of his life, after he had been working in foreign countries, served as a pilot during WW2, and raised 5 children.
Roald Dahl’s stories are popular all over the world for their brilliant characters, magnificent imagination, sincere spirit, and lots of fun. Such creative talent was inspired by a life of adventures, that the author recounts in the autobiographical short novels “Boy” and “Going Solo”.
In “Going Solo”, the author shares incredible travel stories from the years spent working in East Africa: bizarre encounters with wild animals like lethal snakes and lions, the excitement of learning the Swahili language, his friendships with people from different social status and culture.
The author was sent to work in Tanzania, Dar Es Salaam, that’s where the story is set. The stories go on with the training as a pilot and with misadventures that the protagonist had to face, always with a sense of humor and trust in his own resilience.
The book includes authentic photographs and letters that Roald Dahl regularly sent to his mother back in England. This true story gently inspires kids aged 6-11 to learn about distant places, to be adventurous and brave, as well as to be grounded and alert.
Suggested by Annalisa Franceschini from Travel Connect Experience
Buy the autobiographical of Roald Dahl:
15. Pippi in the South Seas
Author – Astrid Lindgren
Pippi in the South Seas is a famous sequel to Astrid Lindgren’s classic children’s books, Pippi Longstocking and Pippi Goes on Board. Pippi Longstocking is one of the most popular children’s characters of all time and is still much loved by millions of children today.
In the book that was first published in 1948, Pippi receives a letter from her father, a sea captain, who invites her to a tropical island called Kurrekurredutt that is inhabited by natives over which he now reigns as king. She decides to take her best friends Tommy and Annika with her.
They embark on n sailing adventure to her father’s island kingdom somewhere in the South Seas, where they become acquainted with the natives living there. They explore secret caves, play marbles with real pearls and Pippi is being hailed as “Princess Pippilotta.”
What makes the book special is the way Lindgren describes the characters, especially Pippi. Kinds will love how she does all the things kids aren’t supposed to do, but with a good heart. Every day is a crazy adventure with Pippi and she inspires to explore the world.
A child’s dream! You can easily start to read this book to 6-year-olds.
Suggested by Clemens Sehi from Travellers Archive
Buy this adventurous book:
16. Rusty – The Boy From the Hills
Author – Ruskin Bond
If there is one children book that I still cherish reading is Rusty – The Boy from the Hills by Ruskin Bond. The book narrates the most exciting adventures of Rusty from his childhood to his early teens. The book is set in the small Indian hilly town of Dehradun, in 1940 where Rusty lived with his grandparents.
In this book, Rusty recounts his experience of living with his grandparents and his hilarious adventures with his grandfather’s peculiar pets – python, monkey and a tiger. The story then goes forward to Java where Rusty and his father escape to Bombay during the time of World War II. In the meantime, Rusty also escapes enemy bombardment and survives a plane crash.
The story is written in simple words and is extremely enjoyable to read. The book is a great read for children between the age of 7 to 14. In fact, I think the book is a great read for grown-ups as well.
Rusty shares his adventures from Dehradun to Java in simple words while stressing on the little joys of life, just what children love. This book will inspire the little children to be more adventurous and look for the simple beauty of life.
Suggested by Amrita from Tale of 2 Backpackers
A book that’ll definitely bring a smile to your kid:
17. The Adventures of Tintin
Author – Hergé
The Adventures of Tintin is one of the most exciting travel books for Children, and they take around the world on a journey with Tintin and his companion Milou, or snowy as the dog is called in English. Some other main characters are Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus, Thomson and Thompson. In total, there are 24 bands available in over 70 languages.
The Adventures of Tintin is created by Hergé, and published by Casterman, Le Lombard, and Egmont Group. They were published from 1929 to 1976 and still remain as one of the most iconic comic books in the world.
While you might not think about it as a child, Tintin introduces various cultures and places around the world, and it leaves a curious mind that creates wanderlust in the reader.
Tintin is typically recommended for children aged 9 and older. The content is suitable for all ages, so even younger kids can join in if their elder siblings are reading Tintin. Two of my favorite books from the Adventures of Tintin are Tintin in Tibet and Tintin in the Congo.
The series includes a great mix of fantasy, action, mysteries, and humor. There is also an official Tintin app in Apple’s App Store where you can read digital versions of Tintin. Tintin in Tibet is the twentieth volume of Tintin, where crosses the Himalayas and encounter the mysterious Yeti. The mission for Tintin is to help Chang Chong-Chen, and he is followed by Snowy and Captain Haddock. They hire a sherpa to help them travel overland from Nepal into the Himalayas. It’s a great introduction that will introduce a rarely explored area of the world.
Suggested by Alexander Waltner from Gourmand Trotter
Choose from the many Adventures of Tintin:
Best Travel Books for Teens
18. In search of the Castaways
Author – Jules Verne
It’s not surprising that many kids with a curious mind fall in love with the stories of Jules Verne. Or maybe they develop a curious mind thanks to those stories, in a typical chicken-and-egg case. Every novel is a feat of visionary imagination, packed with adventure, lovable characters, fantastic objects – and travels.
As a young teenager of 12 or 13, I remember devouring Verne’s stories. I would surely have liked them at 15 or 17 too. Adventures like ‘From the Earth to the Moon’ or ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ kept me on edge for days on end. It was always exciting, always very much lively, but never brutal.
Besides his better-known travel stories like ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’, there’s one in particular that infused wanderlust in my young heart. Its English title, ‘In Search of the Castaways‘, is more explicit than the original ‘Les Enfants du Capitaine Grant’.
After finding a bottle cast by the survivors of a shipwreck, Lord and Lady Glenarvan set off to their rescue. Unfortunately, part of the coordinates have been erased, and only the latitude remains visible. Together with the children of the castaway captain, they sail to South America, ready to circumnavigate the globe until they find the crew.
How could you resist the call of the horizon after this? My most vivid memory from the book is the description of the Patagons, the strange, large-footed inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego. I have no doubt that this memory motivated my backpacking trip to Argentina 20 years later.
Suggested by Anthony from Green Mochila
19. Love and Gelato
Author – Jenna Evans Welch
Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch is a young adult story set in the Tuscan countryside and Florence. It’s perfect for all ages, but especially teens.
Lina’s mother is dying and all she wants is for Lina to get to know her father one the summer in Italy. But Lina is only sixteen and she really doesn’t want to go. She doesn’t know anyone and her friends aren’t there.
However, she decides to go and once she gets there, she is given a journal her mother wrote when she lived in Italy.
Lina’s charming neighbor Ren joins her as they follow her mother’s footsteps around Tuscany and Florence uncovering more than she ever knew about her parents while learning about herself along the way. She is pleasantly surprised by her love for Italy and everything it has to offer.
While it may not be your average inspiring kids’ story, it can help inspire teens to explore new places and travel while they can, even if they might think they don’t want to.
Whether you’ve always dreamed of visiting Italy or want inspiration to visit a new place, Love and Gelato is the perfect book to show that even if you don’t want to do something, it can be totally worth it and surprisingly wonderful.
If Italy excites you, then read the best books set in Italy for more inspiration.
Suggested by Megan Johnson from Red Around the World
Have you read any of these books? Did they inspire you to feed your kid’s wanderlust? Do share your experiences about your best travel books for kids and suggestions if any. Always happy to grow our collection.
This article includes affiliate links to the products we earnestly love and recommend, meaning at no extra cost to you, we might make a teeny-weeny commission if you click on the link and decide to buy something. The money will be used to sustain this little cozy blog we call our virtual home.
Sharing is nice:) If you have liked our post please share it with your friends and family and feel free to subscribe to our mailing list or you can also follow our stories on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.