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Must have books when on long trips with kids!

We’re Off! 7 Books to Take On Your Summer Travels

There’s lots of parts of travel that can be overwhelming (packing for a whole family, anyone?), but the trip itself shouldn’t be one of those things. Some of the best memories of childhood can be the time squished in the backseat of a car with your siblings or experiencing your first plane ride!

Whether you’re traveling by plane or train or car this summer (or even if you’re staying home and just have antsy kids to entertain), these books will keep everyone engaged and happy for hours, no matter how far away your destination is.

  1. I Spy: A Book of Picture Riddles by Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick. My dad loved the I Spy books and my mom bought a new one for our family almost every time we went on vacation. We spent hours pouring over each page. Now my daughter loves to try and find hidden objects in books, too. I love these books because the options are endless. You can find the things they instruct, you can quiz each other on your own list of items, you can do speed trials, or you can do the extra lists in the back of the book.
  2. Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals by Ed Emberley. When I was a children’s librarian, I could not keep the drawing books on the shelves – as soon as one child returned one, another child would snatch it straight out of the drop box. I love this cute and fun drawing book; I bet your kids will love it too!
  3. The Everything Kids’ Giant Book of Jokes, Riddles, and Brain Teasers by Michael Dahl and Kathi Wagner. I’ve never met a child who didn’t love telling or hearing jokes. This book, with more than 300 pages, should keep them busy no longer how long your trip is.
  4. Kids Travel: A Backseat Survival Kit from Klutz. I’ve loved the Klutz books my entire life. They are just fun and clever and absolutely 100% kid-friendly. This one, stocked with games of all kinds, is perfect for a road trip. The only problem will be getting them out of the car when you arrive at your destination.
  5. Dog Train CD: And 16 Other Improbable Songs by Sandra Boynton and Michael Ford. You may know Sandra Boynton from her board books (she’s one of our family favorites), but this collection of silly songs with a hilarious illustrated songbook, will keep the whole family laughing in the car. If you’re headed on a plane, you can import the songs to your MP3 player or phone and listen to them with headphones.
  6. Brain Games for Kids from Publications International. This highly rated collection of brain-stretching games and puzzles will keep your kids both occupied and their brains from atrophying over summer vacation. Publications International also has similar books for specific grade levels that are worth checking out too.
  7. Animalia by Graham Base. I know you might be thinking, “Really, an alphabet book?” But no one does the alphabet like Graham Base. The whole book is one enormous puzzle, full of amazing illustrations, hidden pictures, and enough mental stimulus to keep your whole family occupied.

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Janssen is a former librarian and avid reader who is always maxing out her library card. She now stays at home with her two-year-old daughter (with another girl on the way) and blogs about books for readers of all ages, her favorite recipes, and parenting adventures at Everyday Reading.