From the first day I started buying books for my kids, I’ve been trying to add as many travel books to their collections as possible. Books about exploring new places, books set in countries I want to visit one day, books from places we’ve already been to – you name it, we’ve got it! I thought I’d share some of my favorite books about travel for kids in case you need some inspiration for your travel library.
Why did I choose these 40 books? Well, we own every single one of them so I can promise we’ve read them all at least once and my kids love them! From England to Canada to the US to Japan to Brazil, we have books set all over the world that we love to read as a family. Hopefully you’ll find some new books about travel for kids to love too!
Kitty Kat, Kitty Kat, Where have you been? I’ve been to London
We love visiting London and this book covers some of the major tourist attractions. If you have a trip to London planned it’s a great book to read for some inspiration on where to go and what to see (you can read more about visiting London with toddlers here).
The Wind in the Willows
This classic book is a great addition to any children’s library anyway, but the setting in the English countryside really adds to the story. I grew up in a small village like the one Toad lives in and this book always reminds me of my childhood.
Set in London, Paddington is the tale of a brave little bear who travels from darkest Peru to find a new home in the big city. There are several different Paddington books but my kids have this treasury and it’s always a favorite read. We absolutely love the movies too!
Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Rags to Riches
We have most of the Magic Tree House collection and they’re perfect for kids who love to learn about new places. This book is actually from their Fact Tracker series which are companion books to those in the main series; Rags and Riches gives some history on what it was like to be a child in the days of Charles Dickens in London.
The Train to Glasgow
My kids love trains so this is one of their favorite books! It’s a fun filled tale of a train journey to Glasgow that gets more chaotic as the journey goes on and my kids have always thought it was hilarious!
The Water Horse
Based on a Celtic folk tale, The Water Horse tells the story of a young girl who brings home a strange egg that hatches into a sea serpent that keeps growing and growing as the family searches for the perfect home to house their new pet. If you’re familiar with the story of the Loch Ness Monster, this tale will feel very familiar!
I don’t think any children’s book encapsulates Paris the way that Madeline does! From the story of brave little Madeline and her adventures to the beautiful drawings of Paris, this book depicts the City of Light perfectly.
Eloise in Paris
You might be familiar with the story of Eloise and her adventures at The Plaza. This story follows Eloise as she explores Paris, seeing many of the famous sights on her way!
Giada de Laurentiis Recipe for Adventure in Rome
Celebrity chef Giada de Laurentiis has a series of children’s books that focus on different cities around the world and their culinary offerings. We have this one, which is set in Naples, Italy and is a great introduction to Italian culture.
Cool Italian Cooking: Fun and Tasty Recipes for Kids
I wouldn’t usually include a cook book in a list like this, but food is such an important part of Italian culture that I think a good cook book for kids that focuses on the food of the country is a great way to learn more about it. This is a great way to introduce kids to Italian cuisine if you have a trip coming up (particularly if you travel with a picky eater!)
The Carpenters Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Christmas Tree
This is a really beautiful Christmas story that not only captures the spirit of Christmas, but incorporates one of the most iconic parts of a New York City Christmas: the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. If you have a trip planned to visit New York City at Christmas then this would be a great book to read before your trip.
What was Ellis Island?
I love this series of books and we own quite a few of them. This one focuses on Ellis Island and how it served as the gateway to America for so many immigrants coming across the sea. If you plan to visit Ellis Island on your trip, or if have family that came through Ellis Island, this book would be a great read.
Eloise at The Plaza
This book is an absolute classic and one I think every child should read! The stories of Eloise at The Plaza are so much fun to read and I was always so jealous of her fantastic life at The Plaza (I still am to be honest!) If your kids like this book and you have a trip to New York City planned, check out the Eloise at the Plaza Tea at The Plaza Hotel!
Good Night Central Park
We have a huge amount of the Good Night books (over 50 at last count!) and this is one our favorites. My kids love exploring Central Park on our trips to New York City and always love to point out favorite activities as we read the book (you can find more tips on visiting Central Park with kids here).
Good Night Broadway
If your kids love musical theater then Good Night Broadway is a really fun read. If you have a trip to New York City planned and you’d like to take your kids to a Broadway show, read through my tips on taking kids to their first Broadway show.
A classic children’s book set in Boston, this story tells the tale of Mrs Duck and her search for the perfect place in Boston to hatch her eggs and raise her little ducklings. If you go to the Public Garden in Boston there is actually a Make Way for Ducklings statue with Mrs Duck and all of her babies! Read more about visiting Boston with kids here.
Little Women: a Babylit Storybook
Little Women is one of my favorite books of all time but it’s obviously not a book that most young children are going to enjoy. This BabyLit version is the perfect version of the story for little ones to read.
Freedom Trail pop up book for Boston
Not only is this a great book about Boston, but it’s a wonderful history book. Covering the Freedom Trail as it winds throughout Boston, this is an engaging way to teach kids about what they might see on the trail and why it’s so important to American history.
Good Night San Francisco
This is a rare Good Night book that we own for a city we haven’t visited yet. We actually bought it in anticipation of an upcoming trip; one of my favorite things about the Good Night books is that they show so many fun places in the city or country they’re covering and it makes for a great starting off point for an itinerary for that place! We’ve made a list of places we want to visit in San Francisco just based off this book!
Magic Tree House: Earthquake in the Early Morning
Another Magic Tree House book, this one is from their main series and finds Jack and Annie in San Francisco trying to escape the earthquake that hit the city in 1906. It’s a great child friendly account of this event in history.
Alaska’s Dog Heroes
This is an amazing book that any animal lover will love. It tells the stories of famous Alaskan dogs and their tales of heroism, bravery, stamina and loyalty while working in Alaska. Just be prepared for your kids to beg for one of these dogs once the book is through!
Up on Denali
This is a fantastic engaging book about Denali in Alaska, including information on its origins, human explorations, glaciers, wildflowers and more. We bought this book because my kids watched a documentary about Alaska and wanted to learn more about Denali, and this book covers just about everything you want to know about the mountain.
Maui Hooks the Islands
If your kids have watched Moana then they’re probably familiar with the story of Maui, and this is a great book about Hawaiian legends that would be perfect for younger children. If they enjoy this book, then there are a number of other books in the series that cover other Hawaiian stories.
The Goodnight Gecko
We picked this book up in the gift store when visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and it’s always been one of my favorite books about travel for kids. It’s a cute little story about a gecko that is afraid to come out at night and it makes for a lovely bed time story.
Anne of Green Gables: A Babylit Places Primer
As with Little Women, Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books but I don’t expect my kids to be reading it any time soon. This is a great introduction to the story that covers some of the locations set in the book.
We bought this Good Night book in anticipation of our Vancouver trip next year and it’s been so much fun to read through some of the places we’re going to visit.
The Legend of the Poinsettia
I love this Christmas story of the first poinsettia and how it came to be through a child’s selfless act. It’s a beautiful Christmas story and the illustrations in the book are lovely.
Japanese Celebrations; Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns and Stars
We bought this book when my oldest son was studying Japan in school. It’s a month by month account of all of Japan’s holidays and festivals, including ancient stories and pictures of the amazing decorations and foods. We put this book down and immediately wanted to visit Japan!
You Wouldn’t Want to be a Ninja Warrior
This is a great series of books that cover some of the more exciting and bizarre jobs in history. This one goes through what it takes to become a Ninja Warrior (and my son agreed by the end that no, he didn’t want to become a Ninja Warrior after all!)
Unfolding China: Following the Great Wall
This is a fascinating book that walks the reader the whole way down the Great Wall of China on an interactive fold out map. It also includes interesting facts about the history of the wall and China itself.
D is for Dancing Dragon: a China Alphabet
This is a cute book that covers Chinese culture in an A to Z format including food, music, wildlife, customs and history.
Magic Tree House: Day of the Dragon King
This Magic Tree House book goes back to Ancient China where Jack and Annie learn of the Dragon King who ordered all books to be burned (my kids were absolutely outraged by this idea!)
Living in…South Africa
This is a great book that covers the basics of what it’s like to be a kid living in South Africa including the country’s cities, customs, animals and culture. My kids always love books that cover what it’s like to be a child living in a different country, I think it makes different places seem a little less different to them to see other children doing the same things they do just in another place.
Who was Nelson Mandela?
This is a great book about Nelson Mandela and why he has been so important to the history of not only South Africa, but the world. My kids were fascinated by his inspiring story.
Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales
Speaking of Nelson Madela, this is a great book of some of his favorite African folktales. The stories are mostly fables about things that have happened to shape the land and how people came to exist in the country. There’s even a tale about a lion named Simba!
Mystery of the Lazy Loggerhead
This is a great series that reminds me of the Magic Tree House books. In this story, the girls try to protect the native loggerhead turtles who are in danger. These books are great for grade schoolers learning to read chapter books for the first time.
Magic Tree House: Afternoon on the Amazon
This Magic Tree House book is set in the Amazon and goes into detail about the rainforest, including why it’s so important. We’ve talked more about responsbile tourism when traveling with kids and doing our part for the environment recently so this was a great book to read about why we’re trying so hard to protect our planet.
Where is the Great Barrier Reef?
Australia is number one on our bucket list so we’ve read books set in the country a lot in the last couple of years. One of the number one things we want to do as a family when we do visit is explore the Great Barrier Reef so this book has been a great introduction for my kids.
Over in Australia: Amazing Animals Down Under
We’ve also really enjoyed this book for learning more about the amazing animals native to Australia, from the cute and cuddly koalas to the not quite so cuddly snakes and spiders!
I hope you found some new books about travel for kids on this list! When we can’t be exploring new places it’s always fun to read about them, to plan new adventures and remember past travel memories!