Author Veera Hiranandani often visits schools to read from her new book The Night Diary. She says, “Cultivating in young people a hunger for exploring other countries and other cultures is a crucial part of our education as humans. Traveling to other countries is one way to do that, but reading stories that come from all over the world is another.”
Here are some of our favorite books to spark travel curiosity in tweens.
1. The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
This New York Times Editor’s Choice Pick tells the story of one girl’s journey to find a new home in a divided country. The Night Diary tale of India’s partition takes place in 1947 when India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India.
2. National Geographic Student World Atlas
The National Geographic Student World Atlas has more than 100 maps created especially for middle and high school students; timely headline topics including environmental hot spots, refugee information and popular culture references. Plus, it includes the latest country fact boxes, flags and data on each country.
3. National Geographic Kids: Ultimate Weird but True, 10,000 Wild and Wacky Facts and Photos
Motivate kids to be interested in the world around—and get them excited about destinations all over the world—with the Ultimate Weird but True, 10,000 Wild and Wacky Facts and Photos book from National Geographic Kids. Learn about Australia’s great white sharks, Uganda’s gorillas, and other interesting facts about animals and places around the world.
4. National Geographic Kids Quiz Whiz: 1,000 Super Fun Mind-Bending Totally Awesome Trivia Questions
Learning about science, travel and geography go hand in hand in the Quiz Whiz: 1,000 Super Fun Mind-Bending Totally Awesome Trivia Questions book from National Geographic Kids. Learn about the wonders of the world and the greatest geographical travel destinations including Niagara Falls, Great Barrier Reef, the Sahara Desert, Mount Olympus, Ayer’s Rock and the Serengeti in Africa.
5. Why Not? 1,100 Answers to Everything
Asking questions is the first step in exploring the world around us. Why doesn’t the USA have 49 or 51 states instead of 50? Why didn’t explorers get lost in the days before global positioning? How did they navigate? Why aren’t people living in Machu Picchu anymore? These are the questions answered in Why Not? 1,100 Answers to Everything from National Geographic Kids.
6. Round the World Quiz Book: The Best Travel Trivia on the Planet
Name the biggest country in the world. Where are the world’s tallest waterfalls located? Where are the world’s most dangerous roads located? Is it true that the Great Wall of China can be seen from the moon? Let your kids quiz each other and friends to see how well they know travel trivia with this book from Lonely Planet Kids, Round the World Quiz Book: The Best Travel Trivia on the Planet.
7. How Airports Work
One of the ways to get kids interested in travel is to discover the inner workings of airports. How Airports Work by Lonely Planet Kids explains all the inner workings of airports and answers the most burning of questions. Where does luggage go after check-in? What happens in the control tower? How do planes actually fly? Even adults may find this one interesting.
8. Ancient Wonders: Then and Now
Get kids excited about some of history’s most famous places like—Angkor Wat, the Parthenon, the Great Pyramid of Giza and Easter Island—in the book Ancient Wonders: Then and Now by Lonely Planet Kids. Tweens will discover all about each man-made place and what it looks like today.
9. The Travel Book: Mind-Blowing Stuff on Every Country in the World
In Lonely Planet’s The Travel Book: Mind-Blowing Stuff on Every Country in the World, tweens can learn about every country on the planet, including information on food, festivals and favorite activities. Find out where you can climb a giant tower of sticky buns or which country received a polar bear as a present and why.
10. The Cities Book: A Journey Through 86 of the World’s Greatest Cities
From Auckland to Beijing, from Copenhagen to Zanzibar, The Cities Book: A Journey Through 86 of the World’s Greatest Cities by Lonely Planet Kids, has tweens getting to the bottom of things in cities across the world. Find out which city has train stuffers to help get as many passengers aboard a train as possible. Where might you find a poisonous boomsland and which city is filled with stars?
11. The Who Will Win series by Jerry Pallotta
According to teachers, librarians and parents, kids love The Who Will Win series of books about animals in competition: Lion vs. Tiger; Komodo Dragon vs. King Cobra; Tarantula vs. Scorpion; Whales vs. Giant Squid; Polar Bear vs Grizzly Bears; Hammerhead Vs. Bull Shark. This book inspires tweens to think about creatures from all over the world and might just spark their travel bug.
12. World’s Strangest Predators and World’s Creepy Crawlies by Lonely Planet Kids
Here’s another example of real life being more interesting than fiction. Kids will love reading about plants that feast on insects, a real-life dragon that can tackle a buffalo and one snake’s unique disguise for catching birds in both World’s Strangest Predators and World’s Creepy Crawlies by Lonely Planet Kids. Animal experts have unearthed the planet’s most bizarre species and ranked them in order of their oddness. These books get tweens thinking about other countries and how they’re different from what they know.
Judy Koutsky is an award-winning writer and editor and her work has appeared in more than 30 publications including Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Redbook, Parents, WebMD, Prevention and Scholastic. Her article topics include health, parenting, lifestyle, psychology and travel. She also works on custom publishing projects and has worked with a variety of Fortune Five Hundred companies including Enfamil, Pampers, and Procter & Gamble. You can view her writing at JudyKoutsky.com and on Instagram @JudyKoutsky.