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21 Best Children’s Books to Inspire a Love of Travel

Reading to your children about the wonderful world we live in is a sure way to get them interested in exploring it. ANGELA SAURINE reveals some of the top children’s book choices to add to your list

20 best childrens books to inspire a love of travel

1. The Snail and the Whale

This tale of a snail with an itchy foot that hitches a lift on the tail of a whale, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (creators of The Gruffalo), is pure delight. Together, snail and whale go on an amazing adventure – past icebergs and volcanoes, sharks and penguins – and the little snail feels so small in the vastness of the world. But when disaster strikes and the whale is beached in a bay, it’s the tiny snail’s big plan that saves the day.

2. Peppa Goes on Holiday

Peppa Goes on Holiday book

Beloved pig Peppa and her family pack their suitcases and fly all the way to Italy for their first overseas adventure, where they eat pizza and go sightseeing. But there’s so much to see and do that Peppa keeps leaving poor Teddy behind! Will he make it home in the end?

3. Journey

Journey by Aaron Becker

A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall, and escapes through it into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. Author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

4. Spot Goes on Holiday

Spot Goes on Holiday by Eric Hill

Much-loved dog Spot and his parents go to the seaside and discover all the fun that can be had in the water and on the beach. From the pen of the famous illustrator Eric Hill, this is a charming story of fun and mischief, with simple text and lots of surprises behind the lift-up flaps.

5. The Adventures of Tintin

This classic series of 24 stories, created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, was one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century. Its hero is Tintin, a courageous young reporter and adventurer, who travels to destinations including South America, Egypt and Tibet, with his faithful dog Snowy.

6. Pig the Tourist

Pig the Tourist

When Pig, the world’s greediest Pug, ventures off on holiday, he causes chaos wherever he goes. This is the latest in a series of books from New York Times best-selling author Aaron Blabey, whose other titles include Pig the Pug, Pig the Elf and Pig the Grub.

7. Adventures Around the Globe

Adventures Around the Globe by Lonely Planet

Explore the ruins of Machu Picchu, the canals of Venice and the bright lights of New York with this book from Lonely Planet Kids. Designed for children aged six to eight, it encourages little ones to discover each of the continents with fun facts, maps, sticker scenes and puzzles. They can also decorate real-life locations, like the sacred river Ganges in India or the mosaics of Park Guell in Spain.

8. The Snow Wombat

The Snow Wombat. Image Allen and Unwin

This beautifully illustrated book, set in Australia’s high country, is guaranteed to give kids an interest in the snow (and instil a sense of longing in their parents!) It perfectly captures the alpine region with pictures of stockmen’s huts, native wildlife and snow gums.

9. Madeline

Madeline book cover

This book series follows the adventures of a seven-year-old girl attending a boarding school in Paris with eleven other students, under the care of their teacher, Miss Clavel. Madeline runs away to join a group of travelling gypsies, visits a friend in London and travels to Rome, Texas and the White House in Washington DC.

10. Let's Go for a Drive

Told entirely in speech bubbles, this entertaining book about best friends Gerald and Piggie, by Mo Willems, will have kids itching to do a road trip.

11. Paddington Abroad

When the Browns go on holiday to France, the world’s favourite bear is put in charge of the ‘eyetinnery’. But even with the whole trip planned down to the last marmalade sandwich, somehow Paddington takes the family off the beaten path on a voyage no one could forget, even becoming the only bear ever to ride in the famous Tour de France bicycle race.

12. Oh, the Places You'll Go!

In the last book published during his lifetime, Dr Seuss writes about the journey of life and its challenges. After leaving town, the protagonist travels through several geometrical and polychromatic landscapes and places.

13. Are We There Yet?

Are we there yet by Alison Lester

Join Grace and her family on their adventures around Australia in this warm, heartfelt story based on an actual journey taken by award-winning author and illustrator Alison Lester.

14. Where's Wally?

Search for the distinctive character, identified by his red-and-white-striped shirt, bobble hat, and glasses, on the ski slopes, in a museum, on the beach and at an airport, campsite and safari park.

15. Around the World in 80 Days

The classic 1873 adventure tale of gentleman Phileas Fogg and his quest to travel around the world in just eighty days by train and ship. The travelogue sweeps through many exotic settings, including the jungles of India, where Fogg and his French valet, Passepartout, rescue a Rajah’s widow, and across the Pacific to the American frontier, where they brave a bison stampede and an attack by Sioux Indians.

16. Ruby Red Shoes Goes To Paris

Ruby and her grandmother Babushka are off to Paris for a holiday. When they arrive, they go to meet Babushka’s brother, Monsieur Gaspar Galushka, who loves hats as much as Ruby loves red shoes. And with Monsieur is his grandson, Felix, who becomes Ruby’s guide. Together, the two young hares zip around Paris on Felix’s racy red scooter, taking in all the beautiful sights that the French capital has to offer.

17. The Tale of Peter Rabbit

A lovely prelude to a trip to England’s Lake District, Beatrix Potter’s story of a mischievous rabbit and the trouble he encounters in Mr McGregor’s vegetable garden is a classic. The famous author often holidayed in the region and developed a love of its landscape and animals, which she closely observed and painted.

18. The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows. Image Allen and Unwin

Join Ratty, Badger, Toad and Mole on an adventure in this classic novel by Scottish author Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Suitable for kids aged nine to 12, it is set by the River Thames in England.

19. Where in the world is Melbourne?

Where in the world is Melbourne

This new e-book, published by Visit Victoria, can be read front-to-back or back-to-front. Each way provides a different international and local perspective on the city. The parallel stories, which meet in the middle, feature an Australian family who explore their own backyard, and a family from overseas. The story showcases the colourful urban canvases of Melbourne’s laneways and iconic sporting mecca, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, along with the state’s Aboriginal history and the Great Ocean Road’s 12 Apostles.

20. Respect

Respect cover

Evocative images of red earth, a sky full of stars, and Aboriginal people gathered around a campfire will help motivate a trip to Australia’s outback, with the accompanying words also providing a greater understanding of Indigenous culture before they get there, in the latest offering from Magabala Books.

21. Little Nic’s Big World

Nic Naitanui book

AFL star Nic Naitanui, who was born in Sydney to Fijian parents, celebrates the diversity of different cultures when it comes to art, music, sport and more in his new book, Little Nic’s Big World, which is a follow up to his previous children’s book, Little Nic’s Big Day. It’s supported with beautiful images by Fatima Anaya, who grew up in Central America. 

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