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Babcia and Yia Yia!, Intro To Travel Lit

‘Tis The Season For Travel Lit

Okay! We know! Traveling during the holidays is usually far more of a hassle than a great experience. While some of us get the pleasure of enjoying a true travel experience under the tree, most of us are either tucked in at home or schlepping somewhere we’d rather not. We hear you and we know you are calling out for a little help. Our response to this SOS is to work on your library. Books? YES!

These days, we’ve been totally inspired by the curated library on the Holland America Rotterdam cruise ship. It was completely curated to reflect a traveler’s interests. It got us thinking that sharing a curated list of books and book inspired moments for the traveler may be the best way we can wish you the best of spirits this season. So, pour a glass of wine, get yourself a great latte, and get comfy under your favorite blanket. Let’s travel, book style! 

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Use books to start your next travel dream

We can’t get enough of the grand libraries and bookshops of the travel world. Book lovers everywhere are always keeping an eye out for those amazing little places that can never be anything but delightful. Be sure to seek out the bookshops and libraries in the destination that you are going to visit. Carve out time to find the dusty corners and the sleepy cats who supervise all of the stacks! We suggest that you plot out your latest reads with this amazing find: Plotted: A Literary Atlas

Some of our favorite- but not always famous- bookstores that are worth your time are:

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  • Shakespeare and Co., Paris: Let’s talk about the line! This most famous of bookstores on the banks of the Seine can have quite the queue! But it stands the test the time. Make enough time to at least walk by it.
  • The Red Wagon in the St. Germain area of Paris: Children’s and adult books are just steps from Luxembourg Gardens.
  • The American Bookstore on Spui Square in Amsterdam: A long held American outpost, this is the place to grab a quick read before sitting down at a canal side cafe.
  • The Strand in NYC- books as decor are on display on every single wall. This bookstore is a piece of art unto itself and is our bonus pick!

Connect to your reading in more ways than one

We can’t get enough of how digital media has made book reading more accessible and portable while giving us book junkies a way to connect and share. Two of our favorites are Audible which allows you to listen to books at your own pace and Goodreads, a book loving community that let you connect and create goals to aspire to. While both of these services are by Amazon, we are not partners with them but we do love this cute little page holder that makes a perfect stocking stuffer! We’ve been busy reading and have some great picks for all kinds of travelers. We’ve added an Amazon link to each pic to make it easier to connect with these fabulous reads!

For The True Academic:

Babcia says: Go back in time and find out how the world changed as each drink was formulated. It’s fun to try and guess what they are before cracking this book open and it’s more fun to learn how they influence us to this day.

Yiayia says: Enjoy this heart-wrenching Holocaust survivor’s story. This story demonstrates that the power of love can see us through the darkest parts of our lives. Lily was liberated in 1945. She is an extraordinary woman who speaks out on the hope that evil would not happen again.

For The Romantic:

Babcia says: The first in a series of easy breezy romance stories, Julie Caplin creatively sets the scene for her classic boy meets girl stories all over the globe. Fun and fast, this is a quick read for any romance reader.

Yiayia says: Opa! When things fall apart where should you head? Santorini of course. Enjoy this romance novel on the beautiful Greek Island. Take in the blue tiled villas and turquoise waters. Let the love and beauty of Santorini wash away all your sadness!

For the Power Planner:

Babcia says: This travel journal keeps memories in an easy to update format. It’s a can’t miss for me and I so enjoy adding to it every now and then.

Yiayia says: Who doesn’t have a bucket list? If not, get started. This book gives you places all around the world guaranteed to meet all your desires. You will find hidden gems, cathedrals, castles, etc. to make your trip complete. So stop dreaming about it and get out and do it.

For The Logistics Lover:

Babcia says: Getting organized has never been so polite and Marie Kondo’s philosophy of getting organized can help any traveler reduce and streamline to better focus on the long range travel plans we all crave.

Yiayia says: With the big movement of minimalism, this book is on target. The Swedish author, Margareta Magnusson, provides an element of humor to a daunting task. Get rid of things that are not needed and are just taking up space. Hold on to those things that are dear to you and family. Start cleaning!

For The busy busy mamas

Babcia says: with so much in the news, this book gives you a good look at how certain reads wound up being banned. It makes you want to enjoy a little taste of Kansas City’s great banned books landscape.

Yiayia says: This is a must read when planning a family vacation. This is a great assistant to the busy mom. It will give you great options from cruises to all inclusive resorts.

For the Murder Mystery Maniac

Babcia says: It’s a classic and it’s well travelled Christie brings her characters to life in this must read who done it.

Yiayia says: Reading a good mystery should be on everyone’s list. This one takes you on a destiny wedding off the coast of Ireland. Meet all the wonderful characters and decide who done it!

For the Outdoorsy Enthusiasts

Babcia says: Get back to basics as you explore the great outdoors and learn what nature is really saying to you.

Yiayia says: “I now walk into the wild.” Follow Christopher’s unconventional life choice as he leaves friends, family and job behind and heads into the wild of Alaska.

For the European Wanderer

Babcia says: You can’t miss when you get a story from a great piece of art and that’s exactly what Theresa Chevelier does with Girl With A Pearl Earring.

Yiayia says: You don’t want to pass this on by. Go along with Katy as she takes a trip she is has been waiting years to take to Positano. She is only missing one thing, her mom. Journey with her and witness how she reconciles with the past.

And one for the kiddos!

Lauren Pelkey Wally the Wandering Wallaby! This great first look at how amazing the world can be! We had the pleasure of chatting with Lauren and learning all about her travel journey and how she became a children’s author. Check out our conversation in our podcast. You can click the link below.

Try This Scandinavian Tradition

Take on the Icelandic custom of Christmas Eve reading. Pop some popcorn, put on some low music and have everyone crack open a brand new book. Happy holidays! Love, Babcia and Yiayia!

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Babcia and Yia Yia!, Intro To Travel Lit

Travel Lit: 10 Ways Books Make Us Better Travelers

Books work so very hard to take us on a journey through stories with settings and characters that inspire and ignite the imagination. For the traveler, books are even more important as they produce wandering memories and inspire travel dreams. Let’s face it travelers and literature are two peas in a pod!

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In fact, there are plenty of ways that books make us become better travelers no matter what kind of trip we are taking. It’s one of the most important things that we do all year long. Here are 10 ways we use books:

Create context for your destination.

As we plan for any trip, our first move is to hunt down some books to start learning about where we are off to. No matter what destination is in our sights, there’s a book out there to help get us excited about our adventures. To be clear, we certainly look for great new book picks but we also read and reread plenty of great classics. If we are on our way to Paris, we may choose our old copy of Julie and Julia to enjoy. However, if we are headed to Texas, we might opt for a brand new book of essays entitled Being Texan.

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Inspire travels you never thought of before.

As teachers, we are always throwing book picks at each other. Our conversations are often about that list of books from Ambassadors or the new Sunshine State book awards. Usually, one new title will stand out to us as the “I haven’t thought about going there in a while” book. Books do a great job of stirring up the senses and taking us to new and exciting places. Using quality literature to get you going is what we are all about! I just put down the true crime book entitled The Galapagos Affair. How about a trip to the Galapagos?

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Allow for new experiences when you know the literature from where you’re visiting.

Setting. It’s an undeniable part of any good read! We are often drawn to books with great setting and that can easily get us prepared for our upcoming experiences. If we are off to the Far East, the crowd pleasing trilogy Crazy Rich Asians may be just the right fit. It may not let us into those fancy circles but it can remind us to review the rules of Marjhong and ensure that it’s part of our trip! On the other hand, we could be right in the middle of the juicy Bridgerton series and are headed for high tea to take on biscuits and scones with a High Tea tour on a double decker bus touring London by Brigit’s bakery. Perhaps a good book sends us on a journey to find that setting as is the case with most traveling fans of Harry Potter!

Connect the past with the present.

No matter what era of history your mind wanders to, there is a book for you! Can’t get enough of Ancient Rome? There’s a book. Enjoy learning about the Vikings? Books have you covered. Do you want to learn more about the European founding of Australia? Check. Fiction and non-fiction abound! Some of the best literature helps connect the modern reader with the amazing tales of the past. One of our favorites is Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. Middle schooler Percy takes us on an epic adventure across the US while teaching us about the ancient Greek Gods. We recommend this for kids and adults alike! Read it then, take a cruise through the Greek islands!

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Open the world of art to the non art lover

Books can teach us so very much even when we are not expecting them to. Plenty of travelers struggle with art appreciation and are looking for ways to connect with art. Take in great fiction like the DaVinci Code to not only enjoy a great read but to also start wrapping your mind around the art of Paris. Enjoy incredibly moving non fiction like The Greatest Treasure Hunt In History to learn about The Monuments Men. This band of brothers was tasked with repatriating all of the stolen art of WWII. Way to tie it all together! Art is an integral reality of any travel and has the ability to be embraced. Books certainly help.

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Give kids a starting point to make travel more relevant

International children’s literature is at an all time high. There is more for children to read than ever before. Classics like Madeline and Paddington offer glimpses of faraway places. While modern picks such as Katie in Scotland make travel a relatable topic for young minds. Use our Travel U series to look at all kinds of children’s books that will inspire you! Note that some of the links below are affiliate links. I only recommend products & brands I love and that I think you would love, too!

Extend travel while you are not out and about

Sometimes a good book is just the remedy true travelers need when they are grounded. Literature can help you sort through all of your different travel choices that are available to you. If the world is your oyster, books are the tool to use to pry it open! Sometimes, though, it’s hard to make a choice with so many options. We like The Wordy Traveler Subscription Box as a great way to see what newly written and newly wandered. Another great source for curated picks are the many, many book lists over on Good Reads.

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Make world customs and traditions easier to understand

Sometimes there’s so very much to keep in mind when we travel. We always want to mind our P’s and Q’s while feeling comfortable in our own skin. Books can enlighten us on how to conduct ourselves when out and about. But literature can also give us an understanding of a culture like no other avenue. Take, for example, Joyce’s Ulyssus. This classic story takes us through Dublin in one day in the life in 1904. Be sure to know that Bloomsday will take place every June 16th and you can join in the revelry! But don’t you think it’s a good idea to read the book before you do? Ireland has tons of literary connections to enjoy. Check out Dublin’s Literary Pub Crawls to partake in all the fun!

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Uplift your own storytelling skills

If there is one thing those Irish know how to do, it’s tell a great story! And that could be said about so many other places as well. From Africa to North America, storytellers can be such an integral part of why and how we travel. The teacher in us will always tell you that the more you read the more you will develop your own storytelling skills about all of the places you’ve been. So, tell your stories and keep reading the tales of others.

Unlock the true meaning of quality travel

No matter where you go, books can be the key to unlocking purposeful travel for any age. Kids will connect better, adults will appreciate context and everyone will understand their destination just a little bit more. Books provide far reaching understanding of global understanding and values. Whether you are turning the page or listening to a book, the world awaits as the story unfolds. Enjoy the adventure!

PS: Here’s just a little more book fun!

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Intro To Travel Lit, Travel With Alex: Europe 101, Travel With Terri: USA 101

Travel U: Libraries That Inspire

Admit it, you haven’t thought about it in a long time. It’s been hectic and there was just no way to fit it into your all too busy schedule. Then, the whole Corona Virus thing brought everything to a standstill. Between dance class and self-quarantine, there is just no room in your schedule for yet another activity anyway. I know, I know! Me too! But the reality is that your local library offers so much more than just a good book selection. There are so many more activities and opportunities at community libraries than we even realize! So, in order to support all those hard working, book loving librarians out there during National Love Your Librarian Month, here is my best pitch to get you in those doors! Let’s travel to the library!

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I recently looked at the August schedule for our local library and I was so impressed with the amazing array of events and activities that they are offering. There was everything from science to tax prep. I even saw YOGA! I don’t know about you but yoga may have been my favorite thing on the schedule! Yoga at the library! Seriously?! Absolutely. Libraries are so much more than the books that they keep. Monthly book clubs for adults and weekly story times for kids of all types and ages are just the start of how innovative this underused resource is.

There’s more….

Lots of libraries are involved with programs that incorporate and support STEM initiatives. They provide spaces for people to gather for all kinds of community interests and there is ALWAYS a reading incentive program. (That’s right, they are not just in the summer!) Looking for a class on sign language for babies? Check. How about a veteran’s book group? Yup. Like gardening? Yep, they meet once a month too! The library even offers a class called Pizza and Picasso! I’m in!

Two great resources for getting your kids ready to go to the library are “Between The Lions” (younger) and “Reading Rainbow” (older)- both products of PBS and both available in some way through YouTube. Together, they do a wonderful job of making the library exciting and interesting.

Library Lowdown

As for the global citizen, let me direct you right to the non-fiction stacks. The section you are looking for is all the way at the end. According to Mr. Dewey, you can travel the world in the 900’s. Specifically, section 910 is full of travel and geography. (Did you see my last post on maps?) and just next door in section 914, you will find a bit more about genealogy. That’s right! There is no better place to get started then at the library! Now, hop right on over to fiction and pick up a great European mystery or a Tokyo love story. So, c’mon! What are you waiting for?! Make the time and visit your local library now. Better yet! Make one of these fascinating libraries a bucket list stop on your next travel adventure:

New York Public Library

Located on iconic 5th Avenue, there is no better library in the world, hands down. Check out events and storytimes here.

The London Library

Located in historic St. James’ Square, check out the amazing collection and seriously good events on their calendar here.

The Chicago Library: The Harold Washington Library Center

Located on State Street, check out all of the cool STEM activities that are offered here.

The Central Branch Library of Kansas City

Located in downtown on 10th Street, the library is worth the visit just to see the outside. Check out their events here.

So, let’s travel to the library and discover a new place to find adventures right in your own neighborhood. The library can take you anywhere! Like this and want to see more? Join us at TGC!