My family loves to explore the world, but it’s not something we can do all the time. So, we also like to learn about places from around the world from the comfort of our own home through travel books. However, it can be tricky to find age-appropriate travel books for babies and toddlers about world adventures. Most of the travel books I see are geared for elementary-aged kids. This will be fantastic when my kids get older, but right now they just don’t have the attention span for those books. Thankfully, three authors have remedied this by offering engaging board books that highlight different countries. (Contains affiliate links.)
Hello, World by Ashley Evanson
There is a travel board book series written by Ashley Evanson called Hello, World that feature destinations such as New York, San Francisco, Paris and London. This series is published by Penguin Books and they sent us copies of all the books to review. The illustrations are bright and it’s easy to clearly make out each landmark.
Out of these places, our toddler has only been to San Francisco (so far) so it’s been fun to show him photos of our family touring around and seeing the same sights as in the book. This book also focuses on numbers, which is perfect for my toddler who enjoys counting things.
The New York book’s theme is colors, which is my son’s other passion. I’ve always thought of New York as being black and white, so it’s refreshing to see the colorful images. My son’s favorite thing to find is the yellow taxi!
My personal favorite is Paris and it’s theme of shapes because I spent my 18th birthday in Paris on a school trip and have wonderful memories of the city. When I look at this book with my son, we talk about my experiences at the different places (Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, etc.)
We do the same thing with the London book. It’s fun to tell him about my time there and what I thought of the landmarks. The London book focuses on opposites, which is fun because my son is developing his sense of humor and he likes to say big things are little and vice versa as a joke to see if I will laugh. It also features a red, double-decker bus!
All Aboard by Haily Meyers
Along those same lines is a travel book series by Haily Meyers called All Aboard where they show destinations accessible by trains such as California, London, National Parks, Washington D.C., and New York. This series is published by BabyLit and they sent us the London, Paris and California travel books to check out. I really like this series because there aren’t very many words, so my toddler can “read” the story to me by telling me what he sees on each page. Again, the artwork is really beautiful in this series as well! The last page of each book also offers a bonus educational component. For example, the Paris book lists French/English translations of key things in the book. It’s a great way for this series to grow with babies and toddlers.
My son has been to California a few times, so we like to point out where relatives live and what we did in each city. My toddler is an uber-fan of trains, so one of his favorite things is to look for the train or the train conductor on each page. Sometimes the trains are in random places, but we find that really funny!
The London book is really cool because there are trains AND double-decker buses, which is the best combination for my toddler! I like that the pages feature travel-related items like passports and suitcases in addition to significant landmarks. My toddler is able to point at the items and tell me what they are and how we use them. It’s a great conversation starter about international travel.
The Paris book is my personal favorite out of this series. I minored in French in college and it’s fun to pass along some basic French to my toddler (who’s currently learning Mandarin.) He’s at the perfect age to pick up a few words in several languages. I like that the French is optional since there isn’t much of a story. So, you can just talk about the fun places with babies and younger toddlers and then add in the French element later on to refresh the book.
Tiny Traveler by Misti Kenison
Misti Kenison writes the Tiny Traveler board book series that covers Egypt, France, Italy and Japan. This series is published by Sky Pony Press and they sent us copies of Italy and Japan to review. I like this series because it includes places outside of the U.S. and Europe. The illustrations are also clear and vivid. I really hope China is next on her list of books to write!
We took our toddler to Italy last summer, so that’s been a fun book to read because he remembers a few of the places. The theme of this book is numbers, which is fun for my count-a-holic toddler. Our favorite page is the one where we can count pizza because then we can talk about yummy food! I also like the page about paintings because art is a huge part of world culture.
His cousins go to Japan every summer to visit family, so he’s also been interested in the Japan book because he knows that’s where they go. The theme of this book is nature and features bamboo, cherry blossoms and a Zen Garden. This is nice because we visit a Japanese Garden in Seattle frequently. He’s able to use the information from this book out at the garden. I love it when travel books encourage children to make connections to the outside world!
Lonely Planet Kids Pop Up Travel Books
When my husband and I travel, we like to bring hard-copy guide books so we have something to reference, especially when staying places without wifi. Lonely Planet is one of our favorite guide book companies, so we were both intrigued to find out they had a line of pop-up books for kids. Destinations include New York, London, and Paris.
The nice thing about these pop-up travel books is that they seem pretty durable. They are recommended for kids ages 5-8, but I think they are also suitable for younger kids. I don’t think the pop-up features will be easily torn off. I also like that the pop-ups are somewhat subtle. They add a dimension to the book without feeling like it’s going to pop out in my toddler’s face.
Any of these travel books would be great to take on your airplane ride to that destination to show your child what they might see on your trip. My oldest likes to read the books over and over again and point out the landmarks from each country. What’s really cool is that now he recognizes these landmarks when we see them on TV, in other books, or in photos!