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9 Delightful Picture Books to Inspire Tiny Travelers

By Flora Tsapovsky

04.02.19

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Introduce the youngest globe-trotters to the world with this array of picture books.

Images courtesy of the publishers

Introduce the youngest globe-trotters to the world with this array of picture books.

Cultivate a love for reading—as well as cultures and landscapes near and far—with these literary selections.

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For many children, books are the original adventure: the first window into another world or culture different from their own. After all, what could be better than a colorful, engaging story to cultivate curiosity for small travelers? The following selections, new and classic, are designed to take children around the world, from the U.S national parks to the farthest corners of Africa. How do you say “hello” in Dutch? What shape is the Louvre? What wonderful creatures await in the Arctic Circle? These books have the answers, plus a big helping of wanderlust for little ones. 

Walk This Wild World

Written by Kate Baker, illustrated by Sam Brewster (Big Picture Press, 2018)

In Walk This Wild World, the reader’s journey starts with the Arctic tundra and proceeds through places such as the Amazon, the Spanish wetlands, and the Himalayas, with each centerfold dedicated to another part of the globe. Highly interactive, the book features elaborate illustrations and numerous flaps in each section, which, as the child opens them, offer educational tidbits that add substance to the lovely images. Hours of exploration guaranteed. Recommended for ages seven and up

Buy Now: amazon.com

The Adventures of Lily Huckleberry in Scandinavia

Written by Audrey Smit and Jackie Knapp, illustrated by Audrey Smit (This Little Street, 2018)

This new book celebrates the adventurous spirit of Lily Huckleberry, a little girl and world traveler who tackles a different region in every installment of an upcoming series. In the inaugural title, Lily ventures to the land of IKEA, where she has a fika feast with friendly Swedish mice, visits the queen of Norway, and helps save Midsummer by sourcing berries from Vikings. Patches and luggage tags to match the book can be purchased online at This Little Street. Plus, the embossed fabric cover and cool designs even make it worth adding to the coffee table book collection. Recommended for ages five and up

Buy Now: amazon.com

All Aboard!

Written by Kevin and Haily Meyers, illustrated by Haily Meyers (Gibbs Smith, 2018)

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Haily and Kevin Meyers capitalize on the adventurous appeal of train rides, structuring their books like a journey: each page is a new train stop, with new landscapes and creatures around it. California takes the mini-adventurer from redwoods to Hollywood; National Parks hops from Zion to Yosemite; New York goes urban and Pacific Northwest explores Oregon and Washington. All books feature dynamic illustrations and fun details (Here’s a tiny surfer in the ocean! There’s an owl in the tree!) that make you want to jump on a train and check out the bisons at Yellowstone. Recommended for ages three months and up

Buy Now: amazon.com

This Is . . .

Written and illustrated by Miroslav Sasek (Universe Publishing reprints, 2003–2004)

Originally issued between 1959–1974, This Is books feature words and images by Czech author and painter Miroslav Sasek. Each focuses on one country or city at a time, highlighting the quirks of Ireland, the luxuries of Paris, and the unique architecture of San Francisco. Parents will appreciate Sasek’s (now retro) art, while kids will get will enjoy the clear and concise explanations. While the look and feel of the series is a welcome respite from modernity, the facts were updated with the latest edition. Recommended for ages eight and up

Buy Now: amazon.com

Hello Atlas

Written by Ben Handicott, illustrated by Kenard Pak (Wide Eyed Editions, 2016)

“Hello” is the simplest greeting, and this beautiful book takes the concept and runs with it. Page after page, young readers are introduced to other kids from all over the world: to their customs, habits, and the way they greet each other. Large, inviting, and full of details about things like the languages spoken by children in Polynesia and the customs of kids from Greenland, the book opens the little readers to the possibility of a bigger world out there, waiting to be explored with a friendly “hello.” An app by the same name adds a sound element to all the fun, allowing kids to hear how to say hello in all the languages described in the pages. Recommended for ages six and up

Buy Now: amazon.com

Pippi Longstocking

Written by Astrid Lindgren

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Pippi Longstocking is one of literature’s most recognizable heroines. Created by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren in 1945, Pippi has raised generations of kids who grew up dreaming of sailing in the sea, owning a monkey, and wearing really high mismatched socks. More than seven decades later, Pippi’s taste for adventure and her free-spirited ways still resonate, making any of her tales a perfect gift for kiddos in need of empowerment and courage. Various publications are available. Recommended for ages seven and up

Buy Now: amazon.com

Hello, World

Written and illustrated by Ashley Evanson (Penguin Workshop, 2015)

This series brings together simple learning concepts and famous world capitals. Perusing Paris, little ones can learn  about shapes by looking at the Louvre and Arc de Triomphe. New York is full of colors, with handy observations such as “New Yorkers wear black,” and San Francisco teaches about numbers by counting sea lions, cable cars, and Victorian buildings. Two more books, focusing on Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo, are coming out later this year.  Recommended for ages two and up

Buy Now: amazon.com

Where the Wild Things Are

Written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins; 25th anniversary edition, 2012)

Adapted into various films, plays, and even an opera, Maurice Sendak’s tale of wild imagination is almost synonymous with childlike adventure. Instead of featuring a concrete location, Where the Wild Things Are takes its hero Max through fictional islands and jungles, eliciting a sense of wonder from kids and kids at heart. While the most recent Spike Jonze film adaptation is marvelous, the book’s simple and captivating pages, with Sendak’s original illustrations, are a great introduction to the world-renowned classic. Recommended for ages two and up

Buy Now: amazon.com

How Airports Work

Written by Clive Gifford, illustrated by James Gulliver Hancock (Lonely Planet Kids, 2018)

For adults, airports can be dull, stressful, or, at best, a step closer to vacation. For kids, however, the airport can be all kinds of fascinating, and no book does a better job demonstrating this than Lonely Planet’s new How Airports Work. Best for curious kids who love to read on their own, the book is packed with fun facts, illustrations, helpful explanations, and information about every part of an airport journey, from the tarmac to baggage claim. Recommended for ages six and up

Buy Now: amazon.com

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