Friday, June 26, 2009

Great Backseat Books for Summer Vacation

On Good Morning America Talk Radio yesterday, the discussion was all about alternatives to watching DVDs on long car rides. I was driving somewhere and caught the end of the segment. There was an interesting divide between parents who loved the electronic babysitter and the parents who didn’t want their children’s brains to go to mush on the drive.

The most interesting part of the conversation was callers sharing their wonderful memories of long car rides when they were little. No air conditioning, no DVD player, no radio – just kicking their little brother the whole way to Florida. Whoops, that last one was my memory.

Parents shared how much fun they had with simple car games. The car license plate game, roadside bingo, and animal, vegetable or mineral were just a few of the activities that helped pass time and had the family interacting.

As I continued driving, I got wondering about what nonfiction books would be great to take along on family vacations. My kids and I tend to get carsick so deep novels wouldn’t be a great choice for us. (Though, my daughter kept us entertained on a car ride from Georgia to Illinois a few years ago. She decided to read Wuthering Heights and got stuck on a word about every minute or so. So, I spent about ten hours trying to define desolation, resolution, soliloquize, stunted, abode, slovenly, squire, impertinence, attribute, parry, inhospitable, churlish, pigeon-cote, peat, ferocious, countenance, venture, conjecture, condole, listless, morsel, sobriety, preposterous, endeavor, suppress, kindle, blubber, compel, interloper, wheedle, grievously, curate, plague, threshold, degradation, reprimand, vociferous, throttle, expostulate, flog, fiend, prognosticate, infernal, coquette, poignant, fidget, quiver, wretch, perdition, imprecation, annihilate, delirium, esteem, munificent, concession, degradation, aversion, obstinate, covetousness, deplorable, avarice, feign, discourse, saucy… )

Here are a few nonfiction books that would be great travel companions. Hopefully these books will entertain kids in the backseat or airplane seat, get the family talking and laughing, and make trips to whatever destination more enjoy able.

Have safe and wonderful travels wherever you may go this summer!

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2010
Nations Geographic Childrens Books May 2009

Kid’s Travel Fun Book: Draw, Make Stuff, Play Games, Have Fun for Hours!
Loris Bree (author) Marlin Bree (author)
Marlor Press April 2007
Kids Travel Series

Kid's Trip Diary: Kids! Write About Your Own Adventures & Experiences!
Loris Bree (author) Marlin Bree (author)
Marlor Press September 2007

Backseat Books Series
Rand McNally Kids’ Road Atlas
Kristy McGowen (author), Karen Richards (author), Chris Reed (illustrator)
Rand McNally Publishers
March 2003

Coast-to-Coast Games
Rand McNally Publishers
March 2003

Are We There Yet?
Karen Richards (author), Steven Mach (illustator)
Rand McNally Publishers
March 2003

Miles of Smiles: Travel Games & Quizzes to Go
Laurie Calkhoven
American Girl Press Inc May 2007

I Wonder Why Series
I Wonder Why the Sea is Salty: And Other Questions About the Oceans
Anita Ganeri
Kingfisher April 2003

I Wonder Why Planes Have Wings: And Other Questions About Transportation
Christopher Maynard
Kingfisher August 2003

Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities to Turn Travel Time into Learning Time
Diane Flynn Keith
Three Rivers Press 2002

Looks like the book is no longer being published by this publisher (and the used copies are garnishing a high price tag). You can find out more information from the Carschooling Website.

Shameless Plug:
Next week I'll be posting a related article over on my National Children's Toys Examiner Page:
Great Backseat Toys for Summer Vacation.
I'll add the link after it is posted.


Lori Calabrese said...

What great suggestions for those long car rides!

I'll always have fond memories of Mad Libs during those long summer car trips. Such a simple concept, yet very entertaining as a kid!

Thanks for the ideas!
All the best,

April Pulley Sayre said...

Yes, what a terrific roundup, Anna!
Not going anywhere this week but I think I'll go sit in the backseat and read these books.