Years ago, when we first started working with our financial planner - which sounds very fancy, but I assure you it’s not like that.
Our decision to work with a financial planner came about when we were living paycheck to paycheck, and Mark and I finally acknowledged that we are children when it comes to being financially responsible, because we like shiny stuff, and we needed a non-biased person - who’s also smart with money - to tell us what we should spend and what we should save.
In the beginning of our working relationship with him, we were tasked with writing out our family’s priorities so we could finagle a budget that would work for us.
One of our top priorities was travel.
We wanted - and still do - to be able to show our kids the world: to experience different cultures and food and celebrate people who are different from us.
To broaden their horizons and help round them out as humans.
We decided that, while having things is super fun, experiences and memories can never be taken away.
They’re the best kind of education.
I’m sharing 11 books today to help your kids appreciate the importance of seeing the world outside their walls, and to inspire them to travel and explore.
These are the best books to encourage kids aged nine and upwards into the teen years to get out there and grab the world by the horns.
1 - From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg
Conde Nast Traveler says: “Before there was Night at the Museum, there was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. This timeless book tells the story of two young siblings spending the night at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, exploring the details of this NYC landmark. Kids have been dreaming of overnight museum adventures ever since.”
2 - Mapmaker Chronicals, by A.L. TaiT
Author Allison Tait says: “When I sat down to write The Mapmaker Chronicles: Race to the end of the world, that sense of excitement, the joy of being ‘elsewhere’, came with me. The story was inspired by several conversations I had with my oldest son, now 10, one of which was about the earliest maps.
‘How did they map the world?’ he asked me.
‘Well, they had to go,’ I answered. ‘They had to get in their ships and sail off into the unknown, to find out what was there.’
Today, of course, we can ‘visit’ anywhere via the Internet, but the thrill of ‘being there’ – that’s something you can’t capture via a screen.
You have to go.”
4 - Inside Out and Back Again, by Thannha Lai
Condé Nast Traveler says of Inside Out and Back Again: “This Newbery Honor book was inspired by author Thanhha Lai’s childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam after the fall of Saigon and moving to Alabama. The young protagonist not only gives a child’s-eye view of immigration, but also a realistic portrayal of the sights and thrills of Saigon.”
5 - Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot, by Margot Theis Raven
If you know anything about me at all, you know that WWII is my most favorite era, and I’m super-intrigued by anything “true story” based in that time period. Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot is one I love, even though everyone in my family has aged out of its reading level.
Condé Nast Traveler says: This is the true story of seven-year-old Mercedes, a girl living in West Berlin during the Airlift, and Lt. Gail S. Halvorsen, a pilot who would drop nourishment and supplies to the children below. The book’s youthful tone and evocative paintings help portray life in 1948 Germany.
7 - The Magic Treehouse #41: Moonlight on the Magic Flute, by Mary Pope Osborne
Both of my boys were/are huge fans of the Magic Treehouse books, and I’d be a big, fat liar if I said I wasn’t also. I love these books so much because they teach bite-sized history lessons that are easy to understand and relate to.
Condé Nast Traveler says: “This installment of the Magic Tree House series takes us to Vienna, Austria, during the 18th century. Set against the backdrop of the famous Schönbrunn Palace, this book is packed to the gills with history, mystery, and magic.”
8 - Lonely Planet’s My Family Travel Map, North America Edition
I love the guides Lonely Planet puts out there, especially for the littles. This guide introduces kids to the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, and includes a giant fold-out map. The flip side has fun facts to learn along the way, and serves as a keepsake record of memories made along the trip.
9 - Ancient Wonders - Then & Now, by Stuart Hill
Lonely Planet says: “Ancient Wonders - Then & Now introduces children to some of history's most famous civilisations and the amazing palaces, temples and buildings they created. In this interactive and fact-filled tour, kids will discover all about each man-made marvel, what it looks like today, and its influence on modern life.”
Age: 5-8 (a little young, but I love this book so much, I find great interest in its content and I’m much older than 8. Ahem.)
10- Travel Books by Rick Riordan
Kirsten Maxwell of Kids Are A Trip says: “My kids love all of the Rick Riordan books. From Percy Jackson to the Kane Chronicles to Magnus Chase, my kids have learned about Greek, Egyptian, and Norse Mythology as well as world history in a fun way. When we travel, they love connecting in real life with the things they have learned in these books. I highly recommend these series for boys and girls alike!”
11 - Diary of a Wimpy Kid - The Long Haul, by Jeff Kinney
Keryn Means of Walking on Travel says: The Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney is a great book to read before, during or after a road trip with your kids. This popular book brings readers along for a ride as the Heffleys go off on a grand adventure that has many twists and turns, but turns out to be an adventure no one ever expected….”
And really… what kid doesn’t love a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book?