Want to get your kids interested in culture and art or get them prepared for a trip abroad? Check out these titles such to inspire young and old alike.
An engaging way to introduce younger ones to the world of museums is to start them off reading about the environments ahead of time. Children as young as two get the concepts of I’d Like the Goo-Gen-Heim, and You Can’t Take A Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Once they know the Babar series, Babar’s Museum of Art makes for a great exercise in sameness and difference, as the books is filled with masterpieces from the Met Museum (and elsewhere) that have been tweaked to match the world of Babar. Seen Art? provides a wonderful seek-and-find resource for MoMA, and Going to the Getty is perfect for families visiting that West Coast museum.
The discoveries to find in NYC are countless, but here are a few titles to provide your family some focus: This is New York, My New York, Next Stop Grand Central, Larry Gets Lost in New York City (pictured below, with orange-hued views of NYC), and the classic Sector 7 about a trip to the Empire State Building (pictured below, with clouds).
Modern art is always popular with children, but it is often hard for parents to talk about. Here are a few fun stores to get you going: Uncle Andy’s, Action Jackson, and Pablo Picasso: Breaking All the Rules.
For those traveling to Italy, we have several recommendations. Uh-Oh Leonardo is perfect into for families sightseeing in Florence. For kids traveling to Venice, pick up Zoe Sophia’s Scrapbook: An Adventure in Venice, Gaspard on Vacation (pictured), Mr. Lunch Borrows a Canoe, or Venice: Great Cities through the Ages. Mr. Lunch Borrows a Canoe has long been one of our favorite illustrated children’s books for years (two pages pictured below). And don’t forget the new Olivia Goes to Venice (available for download to e-readers too). For families heading to Rome, our favorite suggestions are Fodor’s Around Rome with Kids, This is Rome (improve your Italian by picking up the Italian version, Questa e’ Roma (pictured below)), Rome Antics (adults and kids alike will love the drawings of the Roman views), Pompeii: Lost & Found, Roman Fort (great for the boys), and Rome in Spectacular Cross-Section.
There are tons of great books for those visiting Paris. Our favorites are Fodor’s Around Paris with Kids, Charlotte in Paris, This is Paris, and Paris: Great Cities through the Ages. When in Paris, pick up a copy of A Trip to the Orsay Museum and Destination Paris.
Greek myths are easy fodder for bite-size portions of classical education. Just mix in popular contemporary children’s literature, such as the Harry Potter series, and The Lightening Thief. Our top picks are Top Ten Greek Myths, D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, Greece! Rome! Monters! (pictured by the fire-breathing chimera), A Visitor’s Guide to Ancient Greece, and Strong Stuff (shown here) for those who are taken with the adventures of Hercules/ Herakles.
Many families traveling to London wait until they get there for the learning to start. We recommend you pick up as many of these books ahead of time to get the kids over-the-moon excited before your plane even takes off. There’s Madeline in London, Fodor’s Around London with Kids, Kings & Queens, The Story of London, Tower Power: Tales from the Tower of London, This is London, Discover London, and Neil Morris’s London.
China and Chinese language is all the rage right now, so why not have fun with this trend by using it to introduce your child to Eastern cultures? The Pet Dragon demonstrates how basic Chinese characters often look like what they represent. And Made in China shows children the wonders of China, such as the Great Wall of China and the terra cotta soldiers.