Books are a great way for children to exercise their imagination, and a trip is the perfect opportunity to read. When else do kids have countless hours of uninterrupted time to sit and read? Traveling takes time, so I encourage our children to read books about the places we are going.
One of our favorite series is the American Girl books. We read about Felicity before visiting Williamsburg, Josephina is a nice preface for a trip to the southwest, and Kanani can help your child imagine Hawaii before ever setting foot on the island. Don’t be fooled by the title – these books aren’t just for girls! Although he’s not a fan of the dolls themselves, even our son enjoys the stories of these heroines from various periods of history.
Another series that is a huge hit at our house is the “Who Was…” collection of biographies. These books, targeted to the 8-12 year old child, cover the lives of some of the greatest historical figures to have ever lived. Who Was Louis Armstrong? would be a good introduction to New Orleans, Who Was Ben Franklin? should be read before a trip to Philadelphia, and Alabama would be experienced in the books Who Was Rosa Parks? and Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?
One of the best books to take along on any road trip is National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas. It features simple road maps, games, facts about each state, and fun places to stop along the way. We have one for each of our children so that they can mark, color, and write in their books as we go. These books live in the seat pockets in the backseat of our car so that they are there every time we take off on a trip.
Check out your local library for other children’s titles about wherever you happen to be going. There are countless historical fiction books for children that librarians would be happy to help you find. Which ones are your kids’ favorites?