Children's Books for Parents and Teachers - book reviews and suggestions for parents and teachers.
Travel

From Alabama to Zanzibar, anyone who travels knows just how informative and life-altering trips to new places can be. Use these scenic books to capture students’ enthusiasm for excursions and get them to explore the thrill of traveling through reading. Simply flip the pages to join characters on journeys past and present, near and far, real and imaginary.

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This Is New York

By: Miroslav Sasek
Publisher: Universe
Level: 8-9

The charm and uniqueness of New York City was never more beautifully and whimsically created for children than in Miroslav Sasek’s This Is New York. First published in 1960, his vision of New York nearly forty years ago still remains fresh: the hustle and bustle of Times Square, the ethnic neighborhoods, the awe-inspiring architecture. Sasek captured the essences of New York that delight children and parents, many of whom who will remember the book from their childhood.

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The Graves Family Goes Camping

The Graves Family Goes Camping

By: Patricia Polacco
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Level: 10-11

When the Graves family goes camping, so do all their ghoulish sidekicks—bats, spiders, and even their Venus flytrap. Yet nothing can prepare them for their latest companion: a fire-breathing dragon. The Graves family knows they’ve got to get rid of the dragon—especially after the giant beast accidentally soaks all the town’s fireworks just before the big Fourth of July celebration. The explosive solution is pure fun.

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Amy's Travels

Amy’s Travels

By: Kathryn Starke
Publisher: Creative Minds Publications
Level: 8-9

Come join Amy as she travels to all seven continents. Amy’s Travels, based on a true story, teaches the geography, culture, and diversity of the world through the eyes of a young child.

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Gully’s Travels

Gully’s Travels

By: Tor Seidler
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Level: 6-7

Gulliver, an affable but snobbish Lhasa apso, lives at a fashionable Manhattan address, enjoys opera and looks forward to yearly trips to Paris where he reconnects with Chloe, a Maltese with “eyes as black as raisins,” while “his” professor enjoys a nightly tête-à-tête with the beautiful Madeline de Crecy, who is allergic to long-haired dogs. When Madeline accepts the professor’s marriage proposal, Gulliver is dispatched to live at the doorman’s “tasteless, overcrowded,” no-frills apartment in Queens, with kids who treat “Gully” like an indestructible plaything. Gulliver, believing he’s been kidnapped, …

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How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the U. S. A

How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the U. S. A

By: Marjorie Priceman
Publisher: Random House Childrens Books
Level: 6-7

IN THIS EXUBERANT companion story to How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, our young baker sets her sights on a cherry pie. She heads off on a round-the-U.S.A. journey to find all the materials she needs to stock her kitchen: New Mexico for clay (mixing bowl), Washington for wood (rolling pin), Hawaii for sand (sand? to make the glass for her measuring cup, of course). In joyful art filled with small vignettes and sly humor, two-time Caldecott Honor winner Marjorie Priceman takes us on a cross …

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Subway

Subway

By: Anastasia Suen
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Level: 6-7

Come along for the ride as a little girl and her mother hop on the subway. From spinning turnstiles and musicians performing on the platforms to people hopping off and on and lights flashing past in the tunnels, the sights and sounds of the subway have an energy all their own. Anastasia Suen’s sprightly text and Karen Katz’s brightly colored patterns and lively perspectives combine for a pitch perfect celebration of an underground train ride, where the hustle and bustle is only part of the fun.

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The Wanderer

The Wanderer

By: Sharon Creech
Publisher: Harper Trophy, 2002
Level: 12-13

This tale of an Atlantic voyage from Connecticut to England is told through the journals of Sophie and her cousin Cody. Sophie joins her uncles and cousins on the trip, and their unseaworthy sailboat takes them on a journey full of unplanned stops, extended stays, and hasty departures. Packed with family secrets and allusions to Sophie’s past, this novel combines moments of anticipation and foreboding to create an intriguing plot.

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Stowaway

Stowaway

By: Karen Hesse
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2000
Level: 12-13

When eleven-year-old Nicholas Young secretly boards Captain Cook’s ship Endeavor in Plymouth, England, he’s more than just a stowaway — he’s a runaway! To escape a violent employer and harsh father, Nick settles aboard Cook’s ship which is sailing to Australia. His secret hideaway is known only to a few seamen — bribed to keep silent. Inevitably, Nick is discovered, and he spends the rest of the journey proving he is an able-bodied seaman. Based on true accounts, Hesse carefully supports this 1768 historical novel with journal entries, real dates, …

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Molly’s Route 66 Adventure: An American Girls Collection

Molly’s Route 66 Adventure: An American Girls Collection

By: Dottie Raymer
Publisher: Pleasant Company, 2002
Level: 10-11

Route 66 may be the best way to see the U.S.A., and your students are sure to get their travel kicks by reading this fictional keepsake. In 1946, ten-year-old Molly McIntire takes a road trip with her family. She collects a scrapbook of souvenirs and memories, including photos of well-known people, state postcards, national park ticket stubs, and dinner receipts. Through Molly’s backseat perspective, readers will learn that Springfield, Illinois, is not only the home of Abe Lincoln, but also the home of Cozy Dog hotdogs! Comical events, such as …

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Vendela in Venice

Vendela in Venice

By: Christina Bjork
Publisher: R & S, 2000
Level: 10-11

Vendela is fascinated by Venice, a “fairy tale city” where streets are canals, and cars are boats. On her trip there with her father, she wants to see everything, especially the gilded horses at St. Mark’s Church. Readers will learn about the arts, crafts, food, history, and culture of this fascinating city. Illustrated with paintings and photographs, Vendela in Venice is a young girl’s story, a history book, and a travel guide!

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