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Our favourite children’s books about New York City

Our favourite children’s books about New York City

Every time we go somewhere new we strive to learn about the destination through books.  It’s one of our favourite ways of world schooling!  These are some of our favourite books about New York City for kids.  (See here my other book guides for kids)

Picture books about NYC

Most of theses picture books are way more than just basic stories and pictures – they’d be suitable for all ages of young children, not just toddlers!  They are a mix between fun stories, books that show the area and others that tell stories about the history and past of NYC.

This is New York

The classic series of books seems to turn up in all my collections!  This was in our apartment on our first night in New York and even as an adult I loved reading through it and seeing the famous streets illustrated.  Of course things change and there is always an addendum at the end of the book to update it slightly.  Perfect for all ages!

Click to see on here or Amazon UK


A walk in New York

Again this is part of a series and I featured it in my London guide.  It’s a perfect book to show some of the sights to little ones before you get there so that they’ll have some idea of what to look for.

See this book on or Amazon UK here.



This is a classic children’s book set in NYC and it’s loved equally by adults!  Eloise lives in the Plaza hotel which is just at the corner of Central Park and is quite a character!

See more about this book on or Amazon UK.


Balloons over broadway

This is a picture book based on the true story of the person behind the famous Macy’s Parade in New York at Thanksgiving.  If you’ve ever wondered how the event got started and who was behind it, this book is for you.  It’s nicely illustrated and I’d say for slightly older children as it has lots of details in it.

See more about it on or Amazon UK


The man who walked between the towers

Even the cover of this book makes me feel all funny!  I can’t imagine how it must have felt to do it!

This is the story of a frenchman named Philippe Petit who one day set up a high wire between the twin towers in NYC as they were finishing being built and proceeded to walk across performing tricks as he went!  Sounds crazy but was actually a true story!

You can see more about this book on or Amazon UK


Twenty One Elephants and Still Standing

This is a wonderful story and one I didn’t know was true!  When the Brookyn Bridge was built there was some concern about ow strong it was and how long it would last.  So a show was put on and 21 elephants went across to show its strength!  Told in a lovely way this is a great book for learning the history of the bridge.

See this book on or Amazon UK


The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge

I remember reading this with my kids and it was a definite favourite of ours.  We really wished we could have gone to see it in real life on our recent trip but afraid it wasn’t to be.  Next time perhaps!

This book tells the story of a little lighthouse who thinks he’ll not be needed once the big bridge is built over him until one day when he gets his chance to shine!

See this book on or Amazon UK


The Story of the Statue of Liberty

This is a beautifully illustrated book about the Statue of Liberty and the story behind it.  It would be a perfect accompaniment to a trip to see the statue up close and to learn more about it.  It’s suitable for young kids and older.

See this book on or Amazon UK


Non Fiction children’s books about New York City

Not for Parents New York

This is a great book for older kids who thrive on learning snippets of information and facts about a place.  Told in a fun way this talks about lots of different aspects of the city from the stock market to the transport options.

You can see more about this book on or Amazon UK


New York City Children’s map

This is a great map just for kids covering mostly Manhattan.  It’s a great way to get kids involved in planning routes, where you’re going and how to get there.

You can see it on or Amazon UK here.


Kids chapter books set in New York City

I feel there should definitely be a few more books in this category so I shall get looking to see what else comes up.  Here’s two that we’ve enjoyed:

Stuart Little

Stuart Little is the tale of a small mouse who lives with his human family in New York City.  If you’re familiar with the movie that was based on the books you’ll know all about it.

We found it a little hard to read sometimes as it’s quite an old fashioned tale, but ultimately enjoyed it.  It’s suitable from about ages 9+

Buy this book on or Amazon UK


Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief

My daughter absolutely loved this set of books and read them when she was about 11.  The first book has many of the main scenes set all around the US and Mount Olympus was actually the Empire State building in NYC and was one of the things my daughter was most excited about seeing when we got there.

Highly recommended series and can inspire a love of greek myths too!

Check out the book on or Amazon UK

Children’s books about Italy

Children’s books about Italy

When planning trips abroad I love to prepare my kids by reading up as much as we can about the places we’re likely to visit.  These children’s books about Italy are some that we have personally owned and loved and others that are well reviewed and I wish my kids were young enough to enjoy again!  I hope you like the list.

Children’s books about Italy

The following books about italy for kids are separated into different sections.  We have picture books for younger kids, non fiction books for those of us who just like to devour facts, chapter books for independent readers and also a section at the end for learning Italian with kids.


Picture books about Italy

There are some really wonderful picture books about Italy on the market these days.  Some are about visiting the country itself and some are about historical figures from the country too and are suitable for older kids.  Here’s some favourites:


This is Venice

This is Venice is another wonderful book in the series by M Sasek.  I love the quaint old fashioned drawings, the book is originally from the sixties!  It tells about some of the wonderful sights to see and is perfect to prepare kids for a trip to Venice.

If you’re looking for children’s books about Rome then This is Rome is also available!

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or



Gabriella’s Song

Gabriella’s Song is a picture book set in Venice and is a simple story about not just the city, but also about music.  Suitable for all ages.

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or




Escape from Pompeii

Escape from Pompeii will be an excellent read to prepare kids for a trip to the ancient site that was famously buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted.  Told from the perspective of a survivor and wonderfully illustrated this book will really help to see what life was life at the time of the eruption.

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or



Pippo the Fool

Pippo the Fool is set in Florence and tells the story of Filippo Brunneleschi who was the architect who designed the dome on Florence’s magnificent cathedral.  If you’re visiting this city it will definitely bring an extra dimension to help children appreciate the wonderful architecture of the city.

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or



Galileo’s Leaning Tower experiment

This looks like it’s out of print now, but can still be bought second hand.  If you’re off to the town of Pisa you’ll no doubt want to introduce your kids to the story about Galileo’s experiments from there.  Even if they might never have happened it’s fun to learn about!

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or



Leonardo and the Flying Boy

Leonardo and the flying boy is set in Italy where it tells the tale of 2 young boys who are apprentices to the great Leonardo da Vinci.  It weaves a wonderful story that is full of facts about the life and time of the great artist and inventor.  This is part of a wonderful set of books by the same author that we loved when my kids were younger about artists.

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or



Starry Messenger

Starry Messenger is a picture book that is more suitable for a little older kids.  It tells the story about Galileo Galilei who had a turbulent life.  Although he was the first to think that the Earth was not the centre of the solar system and did experiments to prove it, it wasn’t received well by the church and he was imprisoned.  A little bit of a sad tale, but an interesting one about one of Italy’s great men of history.

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or



Non Fiction Books


Rome and Romans (Usborne Time Traveller)

If you’re visiting Rome and would like to show your kids what the ancient city was like then this Usborne book would be perfect.  Usborne books are really child friendly and can be dipped into as much or as little as you’d like.

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or



The Orchard Book of Roman Myths

If you’re looking for Ancient Rome books for kids then the The Orchard Book of Roman Myths will be an excellent addition.  By understanding and learning about the myths the people held at the time we can also come to appreciate some of their lifestyles in that time.  This is a great book with many myths and it has beautiful illustrations too.

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or


Italian recipe books for kids

If you’re looking for some Italian recipes for kids then these books are worth checking out.  Nothing like a bit of food to make you learn about a country!

Let’s Cook Italian, A family cookbook

Let’s cook Italian would be a great book to have alongside you if you’re also learning the language because it’s also in Italian.  It’s aimed at kids and has some fantastic recipes inside like Spaghetti Carbonara, bruschetta and many more!

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or



The Silver Spoon for Children: Favourite Italian Recipes

Including 40 authentic Italian recipes and aimed at kids over 10, this Italian cook book will get any family ready for their trip!

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or



Chapter books

If you have independent readers and want to finds some children’s books set in Italy, these are some that we’ve enjoyed or had recommended to us.


Roman Mysteries Series

There are many books in the Roman Mysteries series and if you have children interested in that period of history and want to learn about it before a trip then these books might be good to dive into.  They are suitable for ages 9 +

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or


Daughter of Venice

Daughter of Venice is a story for 10+ set in 1500 Venice about a young girl whose future lies in a convent.  Before she’s taken to that life she decides she needs to see the real Venice.

This is on my bookshelf and I’m going to be reading it myself before we head to Venice next year!

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or


The Thief Lord

Another chapter book set in Venice and aimed at kids aged 9-12 years.  The Thief Lord is about two young kids who run away from Hamburg to Venice and become street kids and a life of crime awaits.  This is an excellent book to read aloud as a family too.

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or


Books to help learn Italian for kids

If you’re looking for Italian resources for kids to learn the language:


Cool Kids Speak Italian

Cool Kids Speak Italian has been designed for primary school aged kids.  Using puzzles, worksheets and colouring pages it brings the language to kids in a fun way.

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or


Italian for beginners

Another Usborne book that is fantastic.  Italian for beginners has all the familiar illustrations that Usborne is known for with useful phrases to learn using comic strips.  Don’t be surprised that it’s also a good one for adults to use to learn Italian, but the way it presented makes it easily as good for kids to pick up.

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or


Am I small?

Italian picture books are a great way to introduce the language in a less formal way than lessons.  We used them a lot while learning Spanish, even when my kids were probably a bit old for picture books!

There does seem less choice for Italian bilingual books, but there are some about.  This one comes highly recommended and seems simple enough for beginners (and is also available in other languages too).

For more information, reviews and to buy this book click here – Amazon UK or

Children’s books about travel

Children’s books about travel

I love children’s books and I love travel, so it’s no surprise that I loved writing my last post about children’s books in London and have plans for many more articles that are similar.  There are so many children’s books about travel and about other countries and cultures nowadays and the luxury of our global marketplace means that we’re not limited to what our own countries produce.  I’ve personally found that the picture books and chapter books from the US are fantastic, but not anything I’d heard of in the UK!  I love exploring what’s around and so want to share what I find with you.

Even though my kids are much older now (teens when I last checked!) many of these books are recommended from personal experience and have been on our bookshelves at one time or another.

This page will include books that are about more general travel – see the end of the post for my links to individual city and country guides that I have made so far!

Picture books about travel

How to Make An Apple Pie and See the world

How to Make An Apple Pie and See the World is a wonderful book that is part picture book and part recipe book.  It tells the reader what to do if when you go to make apple pie that you find the market is closed.  What you do is travel the world for the ingredients!  A really fun book.

To find out more, read reviews and get the latest price for this book, click here – or Amazon UK


Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet? is another fun picture book about a boy on a long road trip to visit his Grandma.  While bored and asking ‘are we there yet?’ he begins to let his imagination run riot and meets many people and has a fun adventure.

To find out more, read reviews and get the latest price for this book, click here – or Amazon UK

This is the World

This is an abridged version of many of the individual books in the ‘This is…’ series by Miroslav Sasek.  So if you want to open up a little of everywhere for your kids this compilation book might be good for you.  This is the World is told in the wonderful vintage style that epitomises all of the books in the series.  It’s really a special book.

Check here for more information, reviews and the current price – or Amazon UK

Non Fiction kids books about travel

Lonely Planet Kids

The Lonely Planet kids series is a great set of books all about travel, about different cultures along with facts and figures that we know kids can’t get enough of!  This one, called The Lonely Planet Kids Travel Book looks excellent, as does one aboutAdventures around the globe.

There’s a huge amount in the series so if you want to check them all out, including reviews and prices – or Amazon UK

Chapter books about travel

Travels with My Family

Travels with My Family is a fun chapter book for ages 7-10 years about a family who instead of doing the ‘normal’ thing of going to Disneyland get into all sorts of crazy adventures around the world.

To find out more, read reviews and get the latest price for this book, click here – or Amazon UK


Around the World in 80 Days

The classic adventure tale!  Around the World in 80 Days is actually one I don’t think I have read yet – one to remedy for sure!  I, of course, know the story though from the film adaptations and even a children’s cartoon when I was growing up!

To find out more, read reviews and get the latest price for this book, click here – or Amazon UK


The Story of the World

Not strictly a travel book, but this series is one that’s been on our shelves for a while and we used it a lot as part of home educating our kids.  It starts off in ancient times and tells the story of the world in small chapters all the way up to present day.  I love that it is told chronologically and not just in sections e.g. romans, then greeks.  Of course some of these civilisations co-existed and this book helps get your head around all of that.  Great for adults interested in history too!

There are four volumes each spanning a different time.

To find out more, read reviews and get the latest price for these books, click here – or Amazon UK


Great Explorers of the World

Great Explorers of the World is an audio book, but a great one that I highly recommend.  It doesn’t look like it’s still available to buy new but if you can get it 2nd hand then I urge you to get it!  It tells the story of many of the great explorers as they travelled the globe in search of new lands.  The stories are fantastic and great to listen to on journeys – we love it!

To find out more about this audio book click here – or Amazon UK


Kids travel journals

If you want to encourage your child to record their journey and vacation stories then getting them a kids travel journal is probably a great idea.  There are loads on the market now – you can see a selection here –, Amazon UK.


Country and City specific book lists

Check these pages out that I have created specifically for destinations around the world – lots more to come!




New York City



As always, if you have any suggestions and particular favourite kids books about travel you’d love to see on this list do let me know in the comments and I’ll add them in.

Guy Fawkes Night

Guy Fawkes Night

 Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot…


image credit – flickr Shane Global

A friend and I were discussing purely British celebrations the other week and we came up with Guy Fawkes Night and nothing else.  Do we have any other events that we only celebrate in the UK?  There is St George/St Andrews/St Davids day, but really we don’t do much to celebrate those do we? Burns night is the only one I can think of, and that would only be celebrated in Scotland.  Hmmm….

Anyway.  I love Guy Fawkes night, or fireworks / bonfire night as it’s sometimes called.  Since the kids were old enough to understand I would get books out about the history of it so they would know why we all make a bonfire and set off fireworks.  For any readers who don’t know here’s a little bit of background to why it happens:

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Freedom and straying off the beaten path

Freedom and straying off the beaten path

It’s Independence Day in the USA today, a day when its citizens celebrate and think about their freedom and what it means to them.

I’m actually rather ashamed that I never knew, until I was a young adult, anything about the war of independence and my own country’s role in that.  How could I not know that the British were part of it?  I remember watching The Patriot and stating stupidly that I didn’t know the British ruled America. That was the tip of a very large iceberg that was my woefully inadequate knowledge of history, world events and our role in it.   It also made me question my education – lots!

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