During the summer of 2010, I was preparing myself and my family, including my children who were 5 and 3 at the time to take an adventurous road trip across Germany. As a librarian, it only seemed obvious that books were the place to start. That tradition has stuck with us and even though my kids are teenagers, I begin researching and reading oodles of picture books, chapter books and non-fiction to and with my children.
In 2018 our travels took us on another road trip that included 5 delightful days in Paris. Here are some of the books that set the stage for our adventures. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
🇫🇷 I picked this book up because we were heading to France and I wanted to learn a little more about the culture before we got there.
Linnea is a character created by Swedish author, Christina Björk.
I recognized the book when I picked it up from the public library. Sometimes, I recognize books because they have been in one of the libraries that I have managed. But this time I recognized LinneainMonet’sGarden because it was published in 1985, the peak of my elementary school days. I had no doubt read it as 12 year old many years ago.
So I read it again.
If you have ever re-read a book from your past (childhood, high school, college, a specific time in your life) you know that you may often glean something new or unexpected the second or third or fourth time through. With maturity, oftentimes you understand more, appreciate more, linger in the words or the themes just a little bit more. This was true for me while reading about Linnea.
In it’s most basic form, it is the story of a girl and her adventures with her neighbor, Mr. Bloom. To a child it may be nothing more than a story about the places that they visit. But for me, it was a delightful non-fiction account of the beginnings of Impressionism and the painter that created the genre.
Appropriate for ages 8 and up (simply because of the length and complexity of the material). This is a great book to get conversations started about art, artists, gardens and France.
Take a visit to Monet’s Garden. Available at the Kitsap Regional Library.
Since we traveled quite extensively at the beginning of the summer, I decided that I would like to write some posts suggesting books that can help you go on a vacation “by the book,” (by reading a great story). I have seen the book All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle in a handful of the trade journals that I read in order to hear about the best books to hit the market. This book seemed to fit the category I was aiming for, so I thought I would give it a try. I have never really thought much about Cuba until a friend told me that she was going to visit this year for Spring Break. She told me about all of the extra steps that her family needed to take to travel there because of US/Cuba relations and rules set up by the American and Cuban governments. Upon completing her trip, she posted pictures of her travels and it became evident that some aspects of Cuban life were frozen in time. One of those things is cars. As the author explains in the author’s note, “due to a complex historical situation, many of the American cars on the island of Cuba are pre-1959.”That’s what this book is about: a family that travels into Havana in their 1954 Chevy Delray in order to celebrate and visit a newborn family member. Ms. Engle’s poem is beautifully illustrated by Mike Curato in this standard-sized picture book. This book can be adapted for a variety of age levels. Use it as a richly illustrated picture read-aloud for littles or the springboard for an in-depth discussion about politics, history and foreign relations. Available at the Kitsap Regional Library (as soon as I return it).
I first came across this lovely little book in the Horn Book, a magazine dedicated to exploring children’s and young adult books and authors. When I dove in and looked a little closer, I found that the author was Mo Willems (of Knuffle Bunny fame). How can you go wrong with Mo Willems? But even further inspection revealed that the illustrator was Caldecott medal winner, (and Spiderwick Chronicles co-author) Tony DiTerlizzi. Sold!
I requested it from the public library and, as if I didn’t already know, I loved it from the moment it was in my eager little hands.
Set in Paris, The Story of Diva and Flea is a tale about an unlikely friendship between a refined, bow-adorning white pup and the more rugged but worldly black cat, Flea. Written in chapter book format, this book is appropriate as a read aloud for younger readers or as a delightfully illustrated treat for older children. The colored pen and ink drawings and chapter title pages do a marvelous job of capturing the essence of Paris.
If you’re itching for a book that will transport you to Paris, or if you’ve been to Paris and want to revisit it in your mind, check out The Story of Diva and Flea. You’ll love it!