If youíre looking for some new reading suggestions for younger kids, why not buy (or check out from your library) a few picture books that will let them do a little armchair traveling. Here are ten titles with a strong sense of place that our kids have enjoyed.
Story About Ping: Take your kids on a journey to the Yangtze River in China as they follow a young duck named Ping who is separated from his family and must find his way back along a river bustling with fisherman and houseboats.
A Pair of Red Clogs: A young Japanese girl receives a pair of new clogs only to crack them playing a weather telling game. Besides being a great moral tale about telling the truth, the book introduces a new culture through pages illustrated with fish markets, a family eating around a low table, and depictions of traditional Japanese dress.
Make Way for Ducklings: If youíre heading to Boston, this book is a must read for younger kids. Besides the cute story about a mother and father duck trying to raise a large family of ducklings, kids are introduced to several Boston landmarks through the quirky illustrations.
When I Was Young in the Mountains: Set in the mountains of Appalachian Virginia, this lovely book tells the story of a simpler time, when children might be baptized in a swimming hole, sit on a porch swing at night, and travel bravely to the outhouse in the middle of the night.
Night of the Moonjellies: The setting for this beautifully illustrated book is coastal New England, specifically a popular lobster stand, the work involved in keeping it up and running, and the sea life that surrounds the area.
The Very Last First Time: The setting for this exciting tale is Northern Canada, where a young girl named Eva is lowered through the thick winter ice to the ocean bottom at low tide to search for mussels to feed her family, in the process realizing how grown up she is becoming.
How to Bake an Apple Pie and See the World: This is a great book that takes young readers on a journey around the world. A young girl who wishes to bake an apple pie finds the market closed and sets off to collect the ingredients right from the source. She finds sugar cane in Jamaica, cinnamon in Sri Lanka, and milk from a cow in England, returning home at the end to bake the pie.
Papa Piccolo: This story introduces kids to a little bit of Italy as they follow along on the adventures of a cat and two orphaned kittens. Along the way, kids will be introduced to gondolas and everyday Venetian life, plus a few Italian phrases.
Madeline: If your child hasnít yet been introduced to the Madeline series, they are a great way to spark interest in all things French. Many French landmarks are depicted in the illustrations of the books which follow a young orphan as she goes about her ordinary (or not so ordinary) life with her 11 friends and the beloved Ms. Clavel.
The Magic Tree House Series: For older kids, this series follows the adventures of Jack and Annie as they travel through time and space to visit such places as an Egyptian pyramid, Camelot, and the mountains of Africa.