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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!

woman in beret looking at piles of books placed in front of antique shop
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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.

woman sitting on ottoman in front of three paintings
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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!

people standing outside a bar
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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!

Travel U for Kids

Travel U Library: Alaska’s Iditorad

Thanks for joining us for our 10 Books in 10 Minutes Facebook Live Event! Sharing stories from around the world is an amazing gift to give any child. Putting the world in a young mind’s hands is one of the best ways to create productive, understanding adults. Books like this allow readers to develop life skills like empathy, cultural understanding, and a global sense of self. So let’s look at a few books about Alaska!

Alaska's great wilderness
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TGC strives to connect travelers with quality literature and media that allows the curiosity in all of us to thrive. More importantly, the most powerful tool we have to be the best travelers we can be, regardless of our age, is gobal literacy. So, for more great reads and connections to travel and culture, click hereNote that some of the links below are affiliate links. I only recommend products & brands I love and that I think you would love, too!

Togo

The biggest story out of Alaska surely has to be the story of 1925. During that horrific winter, the citizens Nome were in desperate need of medication to battle Diptheria. The only way to get it there was by sled. Togo led the team with musher Leonard Seppala inspired the tradition of the Iditorad challenge that continues to this very year.

The Great Serum Race

Learning about the race to get serum to Nome introduces quite a few new teams including famous Balto. Learn how the weather had these teams dig deep to accomplish the unthinkable. This non-fiction read gives the play by play of the musher’s success.

Born To Pull

Dogs that are involved in mushing are an interesting mix of athlete and brave hero. Explore dog sledding as the sport that it is. From team positions to the lingo, learn all about how to make a team out of a group of energetic pups!

Mush! Sled Dogs of the Iditorad

Time to introduce you to the hall of famers from this amazing race and see their determination shine through in great photos. Get an idea of what it’s like to devote your life to 998 miles of trails.

Storm Run

in more recent times, many other athletes have attempted the famous run. The first female to win the Iditorad is Libby Riddles. Libby, who you can meet today, came in first back in 1985. She speaks about achievement and challenge often. Her book is a great read!

Danger, The Dog Yard Cat

While Libby has always loved her dogs, she found great happiness with a particular cat named Danger. This feline dreams up a fanciful tale of being the lead cat in the big race. It may just be a dream but cats can think big too!

L Is For Last Frontier

In this installment of the global alphabet series, learn everything about Alaska from Forget-Me-Nots to Northern Lights. I love these books for fast paced overviews of all of these wonderful, truly Alaskan moments.

Up On Denali

Learn all about the tallest mountain in the US and how it has affected the Alaskan frontier since its formation. Full of scientific facts and beautiful illustrations, this is truly a book to explore before you go explore in real life.

The Giant Cabbage: An Alaska Folktale

Join Moose and his friends as he grows quite the cabbage. It’s so big, in fact, that he wins top marks at the fair. But what do you do with a giant cabbage once you’ve won the prize? Find out what Moose and company do!

Alaska’s 12 Days of Summer

Summer in Alaska doesn’t last long. So, what, or should I say, who should you find when the weather is a bit kinder? Lots of critters await in this fun take on the classic song.

Travel U for Kids

Travel U Library: Amazing Books About Africa

Thanks for joining us for our 10 Books in 10 Minutes Facebook Live Event! Sharing stories from around the world is an amazing gift to give any child. Putting the world in a young mind’s hands is one of the best ways to create productive, understanding adults. Books like this allow readers to develop life skills like empathy, cultural understanding, and a global sense of self. These books about Africa do just that!

TGC strives to connect travelers with quality literature and media that allows the curiosity in all of us to thrive. More importantly, the most powerful tool we have to be the best travelers we can be, regardless of our age, is gobal literacy. So, for more great reads and connections to travel and culture, click here! 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!

Bringing The Rain To Kapiti Plain

Global Book Pick!
Bringing the rain to kapiti plain
books about Africa

Today’s featured pick welcomes you to a wonderful tale of adventure as our hero Ki-Pat helps his fellow villagers find rainy relief on Kapiti Plain. The animals need help and Ki-Pat knows he needs to do something to help. Each verse and illustration brings to life his creative solution to this seasonal African problem. Bringing The Rain To Kapiti Plain allows young minds to fall in love with all that Sub-saharan Africa has to offer.

This is the perfect book to start understanding what this area of the world focuses on and provides a small glimpse into the undeniable pull of the African culture. I sometimes think that the book provides a great launch for a fruitful conversation. Why does Ki-Pat only stand with one foot? Can all the animals be together like that in real life? If the arrow is part of a tale, what happens when there is no rain in Africa? Enjoy this delightfully crafted folk tale that will bring out the global citizen in all the travelers you know- both big and small.

Under The Baobab Tree

How does a tree become the heart and soul of a community? Read this great pick to find out. This sweet story gives a great insight into current communities in Africa. What a great talking point!

We All Went on Safari

This sweet counting book is perfect for young ones to familiarize themselves with some of the locals. With great illustrations and a read aloud cadence, this picture safari is a perfect way to practice exploring and looking at the scene in front of you.

Nat Geo’s Kid’s Guide To Photography

If you are looking at a trip to Africa,  photography is sure to be at the top of your list. In true Nat Geo form, this book is jam packed with tip after tip and idea after idea. I literally took this book and a camera and put it in the hands of a few students. It was magical! With easy to read articles about photography basics and interesting tips about theme, this read is perfect for the creative kid in your life!

The Water Princess

Life is lived differently all over the world and knowing that one fact is an important life lesson. This water princess shows how getting water is far more challenging than most realize. Our princess also shares how they take this ever present task and make it a part of their lives.

One Plastic Bag

What can one plastic bag impact? It turns out quite a lot! Follow the story of plastic bags in Gambia to learn about their journey from appreciated to nuisance and beyond. Expect this problem to bring on a great solution to one of our world’s biggest problems.

I Am Jane Goodall and The Watcher

The matriarch of the chimp world has been spending her time promoting environmentalism through her Roots and Shoots program. These lovely books do a great job of relating Jane’s story to a new generation. Both are perfect reads to start units on endangered species and animal research.

Mama Miti

Based on the true story of Wangari Maathai and her quest to replant the trees of Kenya and turn her country into the lush jungle it once was. By teaching about what trees can do for humans, Mama Miti shows why caring for them is worth everyone’s time.

Mandela

Knowing about Nelson Mandela and the story of apartheid allows young minds to realize how knowing about the past can affect how we determine our future. Start the conversation with this well thought out text and beautiful illustrations.

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