Family Travel

3 Books to Get Kids Excited About Travel

What better way to cultivate a young traveler’s sense of curiosity and wonder than through books?

Books are kids’ earliest passports, giving them access to worlds real and imagined. So what better way to cultivate a young traveler’s sense of curiosity and wonder than to invite kids into the world through books? Here are three that will help children connect to the world around them through fun facts, hands-on activities, and cool thought experiments.

The Lonely Planet Kids Travel Book: Mind-Blowing Stuff on Every Country in the World

By: Lonely Planet

This collection of strange and wonderful facts is grouped by country and densely illustrated. Within these pages, kids will discover a world worth exploring. They’ll learn about the water puppets of Vietnam, Mongolia’s nomadic Olympics, and Austria’s traditional game of competitive finger pulling—along with thousands of other fascinating facts.

The World in a Second

By: Isabel Minhos Martins and Bernardo Carvalho

This is the rare picture book that’s conceptually interesting enough to appeal to older readers as well as younger children. It creates a connected snapshot of the world by imagining all the things that people around the world are doing in the same exact second. Not only is this book mind-expanding, it’s also a great introduction to the concept of time zones, since people in the same second are in all stages of their day.

You Are Here: An Interactive Book of Maps and Worlds

By: Robin Jacobs and Kathrin Jacobsen

Part activity book, part sketch pad, this book feels like an interactive atlas, introducing concepts of map reading, navigation, and city layouts in hands-on ways. Early on, there’s an exercise that teaches perspective followed by a chance for kids to map their own immediate environment. It’s full of useful vocabulary and even includes a country checklist for aspiring world travelers.

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Christine Sarkis loves reading—and traveling—with her kids. Follow her on Twitter @ChristineSarkis and Instagram @postcartography for more advice about making every vacation the best vacation.

(Photo: Mr. Mopps Bookstore, Berkeley, California–Christine Sarkis)

By Christine Sarkis

There's a 95 percent chance Senior Editor Christine Sarkis is thinking about travel right now. Follow her on Instagram @postcartography and Twitter @ChristineSarkis.

Christine Sarkis is an SATW-award-winning journalist and executive editor at SmarterTravel. Her stories have also appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her advice has been featured in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now. Her work has been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008. She is currently working on a travel memoir.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: The Trtl Pillow. It's easy to pack and comfortable, and makes it so I can actually sleep on flights.

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Seeing the Aurora Borealis from the comfort of somewhere warm, like a glass igloo or hot spring.

Travel Motto: Curiosity is an amazing compass.

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: Aisle all the way.

Email Christine Sarkis at