Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book-recommendations from my traveling kids: from science to silly

Books are great to bring when you're traveling with kids. If your kids are able to read, books are an awesome way for them to pass the time. And even if your kids are not reading yet, books make for cuddly bedtime stories in strange hotel rooms (or wherever else you're staying), they can be read in airports when your plane is delayed, and reading them can be a good way to unwind if your children get too wound up from jetlag, boredom, or new surroundings.

Here are some of the books my own children enjoyed on our recent family vacation in the Canary Islands. The list also features some books my kids are enjoying right now at home, including some that take place in faraway places that I'd love to travel to with them some day.

Rain by Manya Stojic. This is a great book with very colorful and vivid illustrations, all about what happens when the rains arrive on an arid plain somewhere in Africa. My daughter, who is 4, loves this book.

Strega Nona's HarvestStrega Nona Takes a Vacation (Picture Puffins)
Strega Nona Takes a Vacation & Strega Nona's Harvest by Tomie de Paola. Both my 8 year old son and my 4 year old daughter love the books about Strega Nona, and these two are their most recent faves. Strega Nona's Harvest makes you totally feel like you should be gardening and might also make you crave some Italian food...

Tyrannosaurus Math
Tyrannosaurus Math by Michelle Markel. What's it take to make math fun for a preschooler? Dinosaurs of course! Especially a T-Rex that counts by 2s and 5s, does addition, subtraction and division while also being a carnivore. This books has a lot of math concepts in it, but they're all presented as part of a fun story about T-Math and his family. Entertaining, whether your kids "get" the math or not.

Not a Stick
Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis. This book cracks my 8 year old son up every time we read it. How many different things can a stick be? Well, a lot of things, let me tell you. Just not a stick.

Little Big Box of Planets... and Pluto, Too!: Earth/Jupiter/Mars/Mercury/Neptune/Pluto/Saturn/Uranus/Venus (Scholastic News Nonfiction Readers)
Scholastic's books about the planets (and Pluto, a dwarf planet too!) by Christine Taylor-Butler & Melanie Chrismer. These non-fiction books are a huge hit with both my kids right now and were their preferred evening reading when we were on our recent vacation. Each planet has its own book, with fantastic pictures, plus lots of (though not an overwhelming amount of) facts about all the planets. It will definitely stir little minds to think about the solar system, planets, and a lot of other big, science-y concepts and ideas.

Vanishing Valentines (Scooby-Doo! Picture Clue Book, No. 10)Meet Big Foot (Scooby-Doo! Picture Clue Book, No. 12)
Scooby Doo Picture Clue Books, by various authors. My daughter is just coming out of a big Scooby Doo phase, and she's been very much into these books. I'm not crazy about picture clue books, where some of the words are replaced by images, but she has enjoyed these stories a lot, and that's good enough for me.

Froggy Goes to SchoolFroggy Gets Dressed (Book and Frog)
Froggy Gets Dressed & Froggy Goes to School by Jonathan London. Both my kids really like these Froggy books, and they're fun to read too. It never fails to make the kids laugh whenever Froggy does something silly, like forget to put on his underwear.

You can find more suggestions for books and stories for traveling kids here.

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