reading to kids in a park

“You can find magic wherever you look.  Sit back and relax all you need is a book!” 

Dr.Seuss

Do you want to inspire your kids to explore the world? Enter the world of reading and imagination. There are many inspiring travel books that are fascinating, fun and adventurous that are perfect for children to read.

It is never too early to inspire travel. As we love travelling and reading we are going to share some of our favourite travel books for children. We have also asked some of our fellow family travel bloggers to share their best books about travel for kids. To make it easier for you to choose the best travel books for kids we have split the choices into different age categories starting from best baby books about travel that you can read to your little ones and up to young tweens who can read fun travel books to inspire their future travels around the world.

Disclaimer: This article contains links to where you can purchase the books from. We have no affiliation with any of those links. In other terms, we are not earning any commission if you purchase these books.

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Best Travel books for 0-4 Years

The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson

You can purchase this book here.

A beautifully illustrated book great to read to your young kids, perfect for children aged 3 to 8 years old. This lovely book discusses themes of travel, adventure, friendship and kindness. The Snail and the Whale is a colourful, rhyming book about a snail who is looking for an adventure. He befriends a humpback whale who takes him on a journey around the world. They have many adventures together to see ‘towering icebergs’, ‘fiery mountains’, ‘golden sand’ and ‘far off lands’. We have been reading the story to our kids for a few years and they still love it 🙂

Recommended by Asha from Hometravelguide.com and @travelingbambinos

A Walk in London by Salvatore Rubbino

This book can be purchased here.

A wonderful travel book for small children is “A Walk in London” by Salvatore Rubbinos. In there, a mother and her sweet little daughter explore the beautiful streets of London and visit the main sights of the city. The story is told in a really child-friendly way, has a lot of heart and character, and is beautifully illustrated with colourful pictures.

While reading, not only the child but also the adult is taken on an exciting sightseeing tour of London and so it goes, for example, with the red double-decker bus to the highlights of the city. The stone lions in Trafalgar Square, the changing of the guard, the whispering gallery in St. Paul’s and Big Ben are just a few of the child-friendly stories! Little ones will learn a lot about London and adults will also learn some new interesting thing or two!

A Walk in London is just right for children ages 0-5. If you like the book, you should also order A Walk in Paris and A Walk in New York.

Recommended by PlacesofJuma

Amazing Airplanes by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker

Amazing Airplanes is a great travel book for young children, ages 0 to 4.  This book is one of a series of books about transportation.  They all star several animals, including a cute, chubby bird that squeezes into his airplane seat.  

The book is perfect for kids travelling for the first time because while most books talk abstractly about airplanes, this one walks them through what to expect at the airport and on the flight.  It uses words large enough to expand their vocabularies, but not so difficult that it loses their interest.  

This book can help a nervous child feel more comfortable about air travel, making the trip a better experience for the entire family.

Recommended by Adriane from Put on Your Party Pants

Fish is Fish By Leo Lionni

Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni

You can purchase this book here.

Leo Lionni’s “Fish is Fish” will spark the imagination of the youngest future travellers.  Two young friends, a minnow and tadpole, share the same pond, until the tadpole sprouts legs and becomes a frog.  He leaves his friend behind to explore the world beyond the water.  But he always comes back – with vibrant and colourful descriptions of what he’s seen. 

The beautiful illustrations capture the book’s spirit of imagination and discovery. The young minnow desperately tries to imagine the animals, people, and birds his friend describes.  It reminds the reader of how little kids must picture the crazy things they hear about that they have not yet experienced on their own.  

The minnow wants so badly to have his own worldly adventures. So, he jumps out of the water, only to realize he cannot breathe.  He must return to the pond and be content with experiencing the larger world through the stories of his friend.

Through this book, young children can begin to feel the excitement of seeing new things through travel. At the same time, they will be introduced to the concept of human limitations, the notion that the world is full of diverse people, and the importance of friendship and kindness. 

Recommended by Lee of Mango Tree Travel.

Jeremy’s Tail by Duncan Ball

You can buy the book directly from the author here: https://www.duncanball.com.au/book_other_jeremys_tail.html

For a fun picture book with a travel focus, consider Jeremy’s Tail. This book is about a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey gone wrong as it takes Jeremy on a mad, worldwide adventure as he tries to get back to the game while blindfolded relying on strangers’ comments.

The best part about this book is the illustrations which clearly illustrate the different cultures as Jeremy travels the world. It’s a good starting point to talk about travel, culture and the places Jeremy is travelling.
It’s best for younger kids up to 7 who’ll enjoy the simple story telling and the vivid pictures.

Recommended by Sharon from Dive Into Philippines

Best Travel books for 5-7 Years

Larry Gets Lost Series by John Skewes and Michael Mullin

You can buy books from the series here.

The Larry Gets Lost series involves a dog named Larry who always gets separated from his human family when they are travelling on vacation. Larry is always able to check out the most popular sights in the US cities that his family travels to.

The books tell his adventurous stories in rhyme and also include background information on the places that he visits. The reader can choose to include that information, or stick with the fun rhymes.

The Larry Gets Lost series are perfect to read together with younger children before vacationing in the specific location as then the child is able to see what kinds of activities are offered and decide what they want to see and do on their vacation.

This series is a good reminder to stay close to your families while you travel. Families can talk about the importance of holding hands in busy areas, paying attention to your surroundings, and not wandering off.

Recommended by Lanie van der Horst from Make More Adventures

Madeline and the Cats of Rome by John Bemelmans Marciano

You can purchase this book from here.

Madeline and the Cats of Rome follows the twelve little girls in two straight lines on a visit to the Eternal City. They tour the city’s most iconic attractions until a theft starts a chase between Madeline and the thief.  Madeline learns that the thief is stealing to try to help the cats of Rome without homes. After the thief ends up getting them both arrested, they join forces to help the cats get adopted by families from all over the world. This is a great travel book for kids because of its beautiful illustrations of Rome’s most famous sites. It also teaches kids about right and wrong and the power of working together to solve a problem. 

Recommended by Caitlin Dismore from twinfamilytravels.com

“Kyler Treks to Ghana” by Stephanie Claytor

This book can be purchased here.

Kyler Treks to Ghana,” is about an African American family traveling to Ghana for a “homecoming trip” to learn about the culture and traditions of their ancestors. The children’s picture book explores the West African nation’s rich heritage, including its food and Kente cloth, its notable landmarks, and its role in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. While this book is a great read for children of all ages, it’s especially captivating for children ages 5-7 due to its rich, authentic, imagery which represents modern-day Ghana. The main character, Kyler, is about six years old. Each chapter dispels stereotypes and leaves a lasting impression on the reader. The book encourages children to travel the world and form their own opinions about different cultures and destinations.

Recommended by Author Stephanie Claytor from Blacktrekking

The Magic Treehouse by Mary Pope Osborne

This book can be purchased here.

The Magic Treehouse is a series of children’s novels by Mary Pope Osborne about two siblings, Jack and Annie, who travel back in time to learn about the history and cultures of the world. From visiting the Ancient Romans in Pompeii to the Bedouin tribe in the Middle Eastern desert to fighting dragons with the knights of Camelot, there are plenty of adventures to love and explore in this exciting book series. What’s more, is that children not only get to learn about world history and ancient civilizations, but they can also grow their reading skills. The Magic Treehouse series was written with the intention of being beginner chapter books for children aged 6-8, so not only do they develop a love of reading, but they can perfect their skills, too!

Recommended by Louisa Smith from Epic Book Society

This is how we do it by Matt Lamothe

This book can be purchased here.

Perfect for ages 5-7, children reading This Is How We Do It will enjoy the glimpse into the way kids so much like them eat, play, and live around the world. 

The author and illustrator, Matt LaMothe, captures the day-to-day lives of families from Russia, Uganda, Italy, Peru, Japan, Iran, and India in an enthralling level of detail. The people are modelled after actual families, who are introduced in photos at the end of the book.  

It beautifully shares how kids find joy and happiness in so many diverse lifestyles and are similar in their basic needs and wants. What makes this book such a treasure is the curiosity it invokes for other cultures and the resulting conversations it prompts.     

Recommended by Catherine from Postcard Narrative

Come Over to My House written by Dr. Suess

You can purchase this book here.

Come Over to My House, by Dr. Suess, is an inspirational travel book for ages 5-7 years old. The rhymes take the reader on a journey through forests and deserts, to places where people live in tents and igloos.  The book exposes children to different foods and ways of eating, as well as various ways kids have fun around the globe. However, despite all of the differences, the message is one of acceptance and friendship. As Dr. Suess writes, “Some houses are marble and some are just tin. But they’re all, all alike when a friend asks you in.”

Recommended by Donna from Explore The Road With Donna Marie

Olivia Goes to Venice by Ian Falconer

This book can be purchased here.

Olivia Goes to Venice is a picture book by Ian Falconer following the adventures of irrepressible and curious little pig Olivia and her family as they visit Venice. Just like in the other Olivia books, the little pig gets into trouble without meaning to, this time in Venice. Along the way, Olivia visits the canals of Venice and eats a lot of gelatos. 

My children loved this beautifully illustrated picture book (and the other Olivia books). They wanted to go to Venice after reading and rereading it a hundred times. Of course, on our trip to Venice, we did all the things that Olivia did, such as takings a gondola ride and eating a lot of gelatos. We did stop short of inadvertently destroying one of their national treasures though!  

Although it’s a picture book, it is not a hard page book. To appreciate the beautiful illustrations I’d recommend it for a 5-year-old. My kids felt they had already seen some of Venice because they had pored over the illustrations so much. They really enjoyed their trip to Venice I feel because they felt comfortable following along in the steps of one of their favourite book characters. 

Recommended by Shobha from Just Go Places

Best Travel Inspiring books for 8-12 Years

The Travel Book by Lonely Planet Kids

This book can be purchased here.

The Travel Book by Lonely Planet Kids is the ultimate resource for kids (8-12 years old) to learn about our fascinating and diverse world. Featuring gorgeous imagery, the book is full of facts about every country (and territories that do not ‘qualify’ as countries). This second edition features a full page dedicated to each country, arranged by continent.

Kids will be adding countries to their must-see list as they explore details of each location with facts about the flag, maps, cultural tips, how people live, language, native animals, mouth-watering food, and more. The quirky “fun facts” are a highlight too.

The Travel Book provides a fun way for kids to learn about other cultures and ways of life that are different from their own. It inspires fascination about what makes the world a diverse and magnificent place.

Recommended by Debbie Fettback from WorldAdventurists.com

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss

You can purchase the book from here.

Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” is a great travel book for kids aged 8-12 years (although it is also enjoyed by children of all ages).  It features all the colorful, whimsical artwork for which Dr. Seuss is known.  This children’s book covers many important themes which are pertinent to travel and which also apply to life in general. 

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” starts off by encouraging the reader to explore, and to be empowered to make decisions on where to go.  The story depicts that, a lot of the time, things won’t go as expected.  Dr. Seuss goes on to show that it is important to be adaptable and persistent in the face of adversity.  Keep moving forward and things will turn around and lead to success!

Contributed by Lisa of Waves and Cobblestones

Not For Parents Europe by Lonely Planet

This book can be purchased here.

For a great introduction to Europe and all the interesting things your kids can find there, consider giving them Lonely Planet – Not For Parents Europe. This book is 96 pages long and aimed exactly at 8 to 12 years old. While it’s not a guidebook as such, it will give your kids tons of information in a fun and informative way about what they can find there. 

It’s especially recommended for kids who will be travelling to Europe soon. However, since it’s about interesting facts and places, it will interest any kids with an interest in the world. It covers such things as ice hotels, evil rulers, food and more. Be careful though, it’s sure to create a very long bucket list for your kids!

Recommended by Sharon from Dive into Germany

The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid by Dylan Thuras and Rosemary Mosco

This book can be purchased here.

Created by the popular travel and culture website Atlas Obscura, The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid is a fun and fascinating read for young people and parents alike. Published in 2018, the New York Times bestseller was written for the 8 to 12 age group but is also suitable for older kids and teens.

The book takes readers on a journey to 100 of the world’s most thrilling and unconventional destinations, documenting the natural phenomena, animals, man-made creations and other quirks that make each country unique. From diving into the world’s largest cave system to peering over the world’s highest waterfall, this book captures the imagination and provides useful information in an easy-to-read format, accompanied by vivid illustrations.

The book’s overall goal is to show kids how different countries and cultures have more in common than we might expect, sending a subtle but important message that we’re all global citizens.

Recommended by Emily from Wander-Lush

The Mystery of the Missing Lion by Alexander McCall Smith

Books from this series can be bought here.

These light-hearted and adventurous mystery novels take place in the country of Botswana in the heart of Africa. The author was born in Zimbabwe and later lived and taught in Botswana, and beautifully depicts the day-to-day lives of Botswana children, parents, and teachers. The main character in this young reader series is the bright and intelligent Precious Ramotswe, a young girl with a talent for solving mysteries and outsmarting the adults around her. 

This series is great for opening kids’ eyes to how children may grow up in different countries and situations around the world (for example where snakes and monkeys make visits to their homes and classrooms). As readers get to know Precious, her struggles and her passions though, they’ll realize children in Botswana are in fact not very different at all from their own friends and peers. 

Recommended by Erika from Erika’s Travelventures

Best Travel Inspiring books for 12 years plus

The Alchemist written by Paulo Coelho

This book can be purchased here.

If you are looking for a book all about adventure, following your dreams, and learning valuable lessons along the way, The Alchemist is the book for you!

This fable-style story follows a young man named Santiago as he follows his desire to travel and experience the world. He meets interesting & influential people throughout his journey.

At times, he gets a bit side-tracked and forgets his ultimate desire to explore and finds himself complacent in the “normal” day to day. But he always seems to snap out of it and continue on his journey.

Although there is nothing inappropriate at all in the book, the philosophical storytelling style may not hold the attention of young readers. It’s best for kids 12 years old and up. 

Recommended by Jody from My Travel Obsession

The Passport Project written by Kellie McIntyre

This book can be purchased here.

When 14- and 12-year-old sisters embark on a global family journey, they discover that surviving new customs and cultures is scarier than surviving middle school. This “enticing global travelogue led by teenagers” (Foreword Reviews) reveals the “awkward hilarity of teen/family travel while highlighting the gift of a global worldview.” (Rachel Macy Stafford, NYT Bestselling Author). This TRUE, coming-of-age adventure takes readers from Alabama to 13 countries across four continents. Celebrating freedom and diversity, The Passport Project is a multicultural mashup of Nat Geo, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and The Amazing Race. Includes a discussion guide and 100+ maps and images of people and places around the world.***Warning: Readers have reported being infected with the travel bug. There is no cure.***

Recommended by Kellie from 4 Worn Passports

Mandie Mystery Series written by Lois Gladys Leppard

Books from this series can be purchased here.

Mandie is a historical mystery series that takes place in the early 1900s. Mandie, along with her friends and her white cat Snowball, always seems to find a mystery no matter where she is; whether it is in her home in North Carolina or while she is travelling to Washington DC, New York City, or even all over Europe. By travelling across the globe, Mandie inadvertently inspires young readers to want to visit these places.

The series gives the reader a glimpse into the life of a turn of the century preteen navigating life and growing up. As she adventures, Mandie meets new people and learns valuable lessons on kindness, friendship, and faith. The Mandie series is great for ages 12+.

Recommended by Tabitha Bailar from travelcompositions.com

Thoughts for the road

You are never too young to travel and get inspired. There are so many amazing places to see and discover; get out there and enjoy it. Need some real travel inspiration then check out some of our awesome family holiday inspiration ideas perfect with kids.

* Disclaimer: This article contains links to where you can purchase the books from. We have no affiliation with any of those links, and we are not earning any commission if you purchase these books. The links are only provided to be useful.

If you are looking for travel inspiration, make sure you read our ultimate 3 part guide to the Best Family Destinations around the world:

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