This blog post was updated on February 5, 2016.
Every year, bibliophiles and educators around the globe celebrate today, February 6th, as Take Your Child to the Library Day. Designated as a day to encourage and promote reading to kids, the “holiday” is timed to coincide with legendary kiddie author Hans Christian Anderson’s birthday. So what better reason than to take a look at children’s books that will make any young reader want to get up and go out to explore? And while we could list some solid tomes and series that highlight specific destinations and travel activities, James Mayhew’s Katie books or J.C. Greenburg’s Andrew Lost books for example, we thought it best to explore the books that would inspire any kid reading them to want to be a traveler.
So here are five children’s books that you can borrow from your local library to give young readers the urge to hit the road and/or hop on a plane.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
A classic entry by arguably THE name in children’s books. This cliche graduation gift is actually an inspiring and thoughtful picture book that uses Seuss’s trademark language to tell a second-person story about the joys of exploration and discovery.
My Side of the Mountain by by Jean Craighead George
Published in 1960, George’s Newberry-award-winning young adult novel centers around the adventures of Sam Gribley, a teenage boy who runs away from his New York City home to live in the wilderness of the Catskill mountains. It’s a tale of survival, courage, and self-sufficiency that also expertly explores the competing needs for independence and human connection. This book will inspire readers of any age to trek out into the wilderness.
Georges Remi’s The Adventures of Tintin
The brainchild of a Belgian cartoonist, The Adventures of Tintin is a series of graphic novels (24 in total) about a globe-trotting young reporter. The tales often combine elements of action, mystery, science-fiction, and thriller genres and usually always take their protagonist, along with his faithful canine companion Snowy to far-off places. They can be a little outdated at times (one volume takes place in the Soviet Union), but they still highlight the thrill of a journey.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl’s fantastical tale of a miserable English orphan who boards the titular enormous fruit with a group of human-size bugs to escape his misery and find adventure is pretty dark for a kids’ book, but it also showcases the joy of traveling with others and how it can form the foundation for the strongest of friendships.
Mary Pope Osborne’s The Magic Treehouse Series
Osbourne’s series about a magical treehouse that takes its occupants (usually a young girl and boy) on adventures through time and space first began in 1992 and are still going strong (the 53 book is set to hit bookstores this summer). The books introduce readers to facts and concepts in history, geography, science, and more; and can be a great way to get any kid to want to discover more about the world.