We all know that reading is good for us, right? (I’m not asking if you like to read, just if you know that it’s good for you.) Reading expands the mind, challenges and shapes thoughts, entertains, delights, compels and changes a person. Our family loves to read – a fact I am quite thankful for, actually. I’ve been a reader ever since I can remember and there is nothing that delights me more than sharing a favorite story with my children.
Children connect with stories in amazing ways. A child’s imagination is like a spring blossom, bursting forth in many colors. Reading to them really is magic because they tend to take what they hear to heart more readily than adults do. Stories they hear are very real. They are moved by tense passages and effected by the humor of the various characters that they might. They come to know and love new lands through reading. Yes, this absolutely delights me.
When we are preparing to travel somewhere, I like having plenty of time to plan both the trip itself and the books we will read before we go. Without proper time to read about the people and places we are going to, I feel like we are missing out on a good chunk of what there is to appreciate around the globe. For example, on our recent trip to California we noticed that the Jack London Historic Park was on our route and we made that a “must see” on our itinerary. To prepare for this stop, and to help the children connect with London’s Wolf House, we read White Fang (linked to our review/thoughts). Reading this book before we went worked like magic! The kids were able to talk about Jack London the man, be delightfully fearful of any wolves we might run into on our walk to Wolf House, and generally took greater joy in the journey. It was a fantastic experience.
Reading about your travels before going on them adds such spice to the journey! It feels like we’ve had a richer, more enjoyable experience when we put the time into understanding the people and places we intend to see by reading the literature which came from the same. Why is that? Because reading connects us to the past and helps as we dream of our future.
Bonus: reading in preparation for travel makes you feel as if your trip is lasting longer. There is nothing to complain of in that!
We are currently planning a trip for which we have been reading for over a year. We had to have at least a year to prepare for it and even then it doesn’t feel like quite enough time. But we have done and shall continue to do our best.
Below is a partial list of the titles we’ve conquered and the tales we have enjoyed thus far. I’m sure you can easily guess where we are going:
- Remember, Remember (The Fifth of November), by Judy Parkinson
- Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers
- A Fine Romance, by Susan Branch
- Surprised by Oxford, by Carolyn Weber
- Tea With Jane Austen, by Kim Wilson
- Jeeves in the Morning, by P.G. Wodehouse
- 84, Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff
- How the Heather Looks, by Jean Bodger
- The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis
- Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne
- Tumtum and Nutmeg, by Emily Bearn
- The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald
- Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie
- 101 Dalmatians, by Dodie Smith
Are you planning a trip as a family? I can’t encourage you enough to pick out at least one title from the area you are going to visit to read aloud t0 your kids. As you visit places, after having read stories from the land itself, it fuels conversation and gives you and your children just one more thing to bond over. It is a delightful experience and I wouldn’t wish to miss out on reading with my kids, anymore than traveling with them. Before you pack your bags: READ!