Traveling with kids can feel overwhelming, but bringing along the right summer travel books can make for a relaxing and educational trip. Check out Mary Quattlebaum’s list of Summer Travel Books for you and the kiddos this year.
By Raffi | Illustrated by Nina Mata | Knopf 2021, $7.99
This bright, sturdy board book makes a cheery companion for any tyke en route to the city park or farmer’s market. Lyrics and melody by popular tot troubadour Raffi are paired with Nina Mata’s playful illustrations to celebrate how “everything grows and grows,” including hair, little brothers and all the veggies and flowers in a lush garden.
Ages 3 – 7
The Nice Dream Truck
By Beth Ferry | Illustrated by Brigette Barrager | Harper Collins 2021, $17.99
Yearning for some summer magic? This whimsical rhyming lullaby delivers two scoops! A cosmic vehicle, driven by a girl with “stars in her eyes,” brings dreams to those who delight in puppies, moonbeams and dragons with jellybean scales. The only caveat? The potential recipients must first “hop into bed and snuggle down deep,” close their eyes and prepare for sleep.
Show Us Where You Live, Humpback
By Beryl Young
Illustrated by Sakika Kikuchi
Greystone Kids | 2021, $17.95
Beryl Young’s lyrical paean to the great sea mammal follows a mama humpback and her whale calf as they whack their fins, thwap their flukes and sing a “chorus of silver sonnets” in the dark water. Sakika Kikuchi’s soft-toned watercolors capture the gentle majesty of these creatures and the “wondrous world we share.”
By Matthew Swanson
Illustrated by Robbi Behr
Imprint/Macmillan | 2021, $18.99
Every summer the Maryland author-and-illustrator team Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr and their four kids travel to the Alaskan tundra, where they fish for salmon in a nearby river. It’s a vacation very unlike the usual swimsuit-and-sandal variety. While the younger kids pick tundra berries and play on the beach with their dad, the oldest daughter prepares to join the fishing crew for the first time, to help her mother and relatives. They rise at 4 a.m., don woolly hats, watch for grizzly bears and work hard to catch the marvelous, slippery fish. Text and illustrations bring to vivid life a joyous family and a windswept, incredible land.
By Andrea Wang
Illustrated by Jason Chin
Holiday House | 2021, $18.99
In this heartfelt tale of family and memory, a girl is embarrassed when her Chinese immigrant parents stop the car to forage for watercress. Back home, she refuses to touch the green “dinner from a ditch” that her mother has prepared and wants only vegetables from the grocery store, like her American classmates. But when Mom shares a photo and story about her childhood deprivation, the girl begins to connect with her own family history. She takes a bite of the watercress and it “is delicate and slightly bitter, like Mom’s memories of home.”
Let Liberty Rise!
By Chana Stiefel
Illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Scholastic | 2021, $18.99
A gift from the French people – weighing as much as 40 elephants and packed into 214 crates – crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1885, to help celebrate America’s 100th birthday. But the giant statue (Lady Liberty) had nowhere to stand. Americans had to raise $100,000 (equal to $2.6 million today) to build her an enormous pedestal in New York City Harbor – and much of it came from youngsters contributing pennies, nickels and dimes. This lively nonfiction tale honors the joint effort that allows her to tower today, “America’s symbol of freedom and hope.”
Ages 8 – 12
Wild Vet Adventures
By Gabby Wild, with Jennifer Szymanski
National Geographic Kids | 2020, $19.99
Through stunning photos and short, intriguing stories, kids learn about the work of wildlife veterinarian Gabby Wild and meet the animal patients she’s treated on six of the planet’s seven continents. There’s Rambo, a chimp from a Ugandan sanctuary, who receives medicine for an infection, an octopus in New Zealand and a depressed orphan baby elephant in Thailand. Brief sidebars with additional facts about each animal’s habitat, diet and species characteristics stud this fascinating, well-designed nonfiction book.
Last Gate of the Emperor
By Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen
Scholastic | 2021, $17.99
Travel with Yared Heywat and his bionic lioness in a fast-paced sci-fi novel that draws upon Ethiopia’s history and folklore. His uncle has gone missing and Yared must make use of his skills as a reality game player to find him and to delve into the mysteries of a long-ago space empire.
Visit our Summer Fare Page for more summer resources!