10 youngsters’s books that can take children on a journey | Literary journeys
There can be few people whose lives are more geographically shaped than those who live in the shadow of the mighty Himalayas, the highest mountains in the world. Award-winning author Jasbinder Bilan was born there on a farm in northern Punjab. Your firsthand experience of the sensational scenery and wildlife in this book will dispel the gray of February in the UK.
Asha and Jeevan have to make the journey of a lifetime and cross the Himalayas, “the land of the amber tigers and snow leopards”, in search of their missing father, led by the majestic ghost bird of the title. From the endless variety of delicious foods like sizzling golden pakoras and flavorful dal to visions of meandering banyan trees and colorful Himalayan poppies, this glowing adventure is as good as a vacation.
The Austrian Alps. Photo: Alamy
For young winter sports fans missing out on the chance to speed up snow-covered slopes, this quest offers the chance to do just that in the mountains of their mind. Accompany the heroine Tessa on her skis in search of the legendary Barbegazi, mysterious, mysterious, gnome-like creatures that supposedly live in the Alps.
Norup, a Danish-born writer who now lives in Switzerland, told the story in a popular family ski area, St. Anton am Arlberg in the Austrian Alps.
It effortlessly conjures up a “white wilderness” and the twinkling lights of a small Alpine community. With avalanches, blizzards, and magical snow beings, this heartwarming story may offer even more adventure than the average ski trip, but with minimal chance of returning home with a broken leg.
Porto Timoni, Corfu. Photo: Popa Alexandra Mihaela / Alamy
For kids who crave sun, sea, and sand, Gerald Durrell’s recently televised My Family and Other Animals will have geckos gathering in the olive groves of Corfu faster than you can get Dr. Theodore Stephanides (his mentor for naturalists) can say. Durrell’s writing conjures a spell that will enchant even the most stubborn reader of his enchanted island: “The magnolia tree loomed over the house, its branches full of white blossoms, like a hundred miniature reflections of the moon, and their thick, sweet scent The scent that was an enchantment and lured you into the mysterious, moonlit landscape, hung lazily over the porch. “
Even better, especially for younger readers, there are new animals to discover under every rock, from praying mantises to water snakes. The book describes Corfu as it was in the 1930s and offers not only thought travel, but also time travel to the time when this was still an undeveloped coast.
The Amazon in Peru. Photo: Kim Schandorff / Getty Images
Ski trips and Greek island excursions may seem a little tame to the more fearless mind wanderer who should get an insect repellent and a sensible sun hat and join Fred, the hero of Katherine Rundell’s award-winning tropical adventure on the Costa, the passenger on a plane that crashes in the Amazon- Rainforest.
It’s not too much of a spoiler to mention that it may bring some fellow survivors to safety, but not before escaping fire, catching deadly tarantulas, and rafting down the mighty river as they wander through green spaces that come in “a thousand different colors – lime, Emerald and moss and jade and a deep dark black-green that made him think of sunken ships. “
Rundell traveled to the Amazon to research the book, and the sense of the place is as cinematic and microscopic as any David Attenborough documentary.
Egyptian art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Photo: Alamy
For young cultivated ones lacking their cultural fixation, it may be time to unearth these award-winning 1967 staples of many American childhoods that aren’t as common or well known in this country as they should be.
The unhappy Claudia – “tired of the monotony of it all” (who’s not right now?) – and her brother Jamie run away from home not to join the circus but to join the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York hide city, for “the greatest adventure of their life together”. Your child’s view of all the wonders of this collection as they explore museum cabinets, nooks and crannies and corridors is gratifying, especially as the couple uncover the true story behind a newly acquired Renaissance statuette. It should instill a lifelong love of hiking in the gallery.
Hadrian’s Wall at Walton’s Crags, Northumberland. Photo: Getty
To the best of my knowledge, there are no wild tarantulas on Hadrian’s wall. Other challenges lurk behind its old stones.
The weather that sweeps over the headlands and ridges is one of the most unforgiving in Britain, but in a normal February half-time the scattered ruins and brooding moorland would still be full of angry young visitors – there are few places in this area Land where the drama of ancient history hangs so powerfully in the air.
Rosemary Sutcliff brought this story and the borderlands to her 50s series of Roman British novels, classics that remain immensely legible and satisfy the hunger of all – not just rebellious legionnaires – who have felt the charm of the “pale and changeable” a gripping, visceral life Northern sky and the green plover call “.
Victoria Falls is a location in Murder on the Safari Star. Photo: Khaichuin Sim / Getty Images
Sometimes the trip can be as exciting as the vacation itself, especially when it goes wrong. Leonard (Beetle Boy) and Sam Sedgman have developed the perfect series for junior transport freaks called Adventures on Trains.
From California to the Scottish Highlands and most recently to southern Africa, the books are a clattering tour through classic landscapes with an exciting riddle to be solved along the way – because this long journey has never been made so pleasant by a clever puzzle?
Her most recent title, Murder on the Safari Star, puts readers on a gleaming luxury train alongside Harrison Beck and his uncle Nat as they spot galloping impalas and get a close-up of Victoria Falls – and of course solve a murder case too. First class entertainment without leaving your seat.
A man dressed as the monkey king from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West prepares fruit for monkeys in the Taihang Mountain macaque nature reserve. Photo: Getty Images
China’s borders are closed to non-Chinese nationals at the time of writing, and Beijing authorities are urging people living there to skip traditional travel next week to visit relatives for the Chinese New Year. But children can instead visit one of the greatest countries in the world on the pages of this Chinese epic. It tells the story of the cloud-tumbling trickster Monkey King and his search to redeem himself by protecting a Buddhist monk on a holy quest.
Parents may remember the cult Japanese television series Monkey from the 1980s. Now your children can brave the secrets of the fire cloud cave, the river of flowing sand and the water crystal palace with Julia Lovell’s new contemporary translation with exquisite maps of “somewhat mythical lands” by Laura Hartman Maestro.
Maps are infinitely fascinating to children, and getting lost in the pages of an atlas is a great way to record future journeys and understand other countries.
There are several luxuriously packaged map collections out there, but I prefer this kid’s version of the best-selling book from former Sky News diplomatic editor Tim Marshall, with maps and illustrations by Grace Easton and Jessica Smith. The book explores the connection between the physical realities of our planet and the competing desires of different civilizations. From America to Russia, the Middle East to Tibet, this is a clear and accessible introduction to the geography of our world.
A child who really wants to get away from it all will find plenty of adventure in the world of fantasy literature. Visit Strangeworlds’ travel agent for a trip of a lifetime that surpasses any existing vacation on planet earth.
Flick Hudson accidentally learns that there are hundreds of unknown worlds other than ours – and the one at the center of them all is in dire danger. With her bitter guide, Jonathan, she begins an exciting and often funny race to save her.
This is an ideal getaway for fans of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Lapinski’s dizzying accomplishments in building the world will transport even the stuck at home reader beyond their wildest dreams.
• All books from 9 years old, with the exception of The Missing Barbegazi and Prisoners of Geography (both from 7 years old) and My Family and Other Animals (3+)
Piers Torday’s The Wild Before will be published in Quercus Children’s Books in September