Books for Toddlers: 16 of the Best Travel-Inspired Books

Books for toddlers

I love buying books for toddlers and babies, especially ones that inspire wanderlust and nurture my mini-explorer’s inquisitive minds. I’ll regret this when they’re 16 and leaving me to travel the world on their own, won’t I?!

If you’re looking for a travel gift or a book for a toddler that’s a little different and special, I’m sure you’ll love this round-up of my favourite travel-inspired books for children.

The Best Books for Toddlers and Babies

Best Books for Toddlers Article Cover

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers

This book is so lovely that I brought four copies in August and gave it as a present to mark the first day of school for some of my nephews and friends. Be warned, if you read it with your little one when you’re feeling tired or emotional you’re likely to shed a happy tear!

Best Books for Toddlers - Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers

Here We Are

It tells the story of our planet; what it’s made of and who lives here – different races and sizes through to different animals and more. It only has a few sentences on each page so I’d say it’s suited from age 2 – 4/5. It contains beautiful illustrations and is educational in an indirect way, but the main reason I love it is that it just has a real feel-good message. It’s perfect for bedtime reading. I like the paper version as it’s light and thin enough to come on our travels.

Best Books for Toddlers - Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers

Here We Are

One Day, So Many Ways by Laura Hall

This is a new book written by the Director of Communications for Kid & Coe (the brilliant family-friendly travel site). It showcases the lives of over 50 children from all over the world, letting little ones discover what life is like in other countries.

Amongst others, it includes a story about breakfast in Tawain, going to school in Scotland and hometime in Afghanistan. The gorgeous illustrations are by an LA based illustrator and designer and really bring the book to life. I love it and can’t wait to give it to Nova for his birthday.

Recommended Reading: The Very Best Presents for Travellers

Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinska

There’s no story in this big book, instead just beautifully designed maps of the world showcasing different continents and countries. Each one is filled with little illustrations of animals, costumes, food and more to highlight what the place is famous for.

Nova absolutely adores flicking through this one, asking me question after question. “Why is she wearing that?” “What’s that?” “I’ve had a pretzel on holiday, mummy!” It’s a real conversation starter.

It’s one of those books that I know we’ll read for a very long time, learning about upcoming adventures and reminiscing about past ones. We received it from a friend for Nova’s first birthday and he’s nearly three now, but still loves it.

Books for toddlers

Amelia Earhart (Little People, Big Dreams) by Isabel Sanchez Vegara

I first brought this book for Kit and since then it’s one I’ve gifted lots and lots. I started reading it with Kit just before she turned one and it’s simple enough and short enough to keep her attention. Nova is nearly three and he also loves this book so much that he’s started ‘reading’ it to me. He uses the stylish, clear illustrations and his memory to tell me what’s happening on each page – sometimes word for word. It’s amazing and I never tire of listening to him!

Best books for toddlers - Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart by Little People, Big Dreams

The book tells a simplified story about Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. It’s so inspiring and again, a real feel-good book. The other books in the Little People, Big Dreams are just as lovely – Maya is a favourite in our house – but this is the best travel-related one.

Best books for toddlers - Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart by Little People, Big Dreams

Zoo-ology by Joelle Jolivet

This book is similar to Maps but as you can probably guess it’s focussed on animals. It’s filled with beautiful illustrations of animals from all over the world. It’s one that Nova loves flicking through on his own, but he also enjoys devouring each page with me, asking where all the animals are from and if we can go and see them one day.

It’s a book to capture imaginations and inspire adventures. Again, a book that has a long life-span and would be perfect for a 1-5 year old.

Recommended Reading: Will Travel and my Son Break my Heart?

Lift-the-flap Questions and Answers About Our World by Katie Daynes

Can you tell my mini-explorers love travel and books yet?! This book was recommended by a teacher friend when I asked for a book that could quench Nova’s thirst for knowledge. It’s a big book and each page is filled with questions and facts on various flaps that can be lifted to reveal the answer.

We have to hide this book at bedtime because it takes so long to read and fuels so many questions! It’s a great book for inquisitive minds.

Bon voyage cards - postcard

Emma Jane’s Aeroplane by Katie Haworth

This toddler-friendly book follows the adventures of Emma Jane as she zooms round the cities of the world. It features gorgeous illustrations of iconic landmarks, animals and of course, a dragon (a crowd pleaser when it comes to kids!).

Each page has a few lines, including simple rhymes so it’s a great book for toddlers.

Recommended Reading: Perfect Presents for Travel-Loving Mamas

Goodnight World by Garfinkel Publications

We picked this book up when we went to Vancouver in May and it’s still a firm favourite with my one year old. I love that it’s a little different and that the illustrations are a bit more abstract. Kit adores pointing at them and listens intently as I read each page, before excitedly wriggling her legs in response and smiling.

Goodnight World by Garfinkel Publications

Goodnight World by Garfinkel Publications

It’s centred on animals of the native northwest in Canada – a beautiful part of the world. We have a hardback version so it can withstand her grabby hands and often read it at a bedtime as it’s quite calming.

Goodnight World by Garfinkel Publications

Goodnight World by Garfinkel Publications

The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson

This author is a firm favourite with our two mini-explorers (and the rest of the world!), so it’s no surprise that one of Julia Donaldson’s books would make this list. The Ugly Five is inspired by safari animals in Africa and is a funny celebration of animals who are often rather unloved. It has a heart-warming sentiment, fun rhymes and of course, beautiful illustrations like her other books.

The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson

One Thousand Things by Anna Kovecses

If you’re after a book for a baby or young toddler, this beautiful book is a good option. It’s essentially a collection of first words to see and say. Mini-explorers can learn to explore with Little Mouse on each page. It’s a classy book that’s easy on the eyes and covers the world around us, the body and lots more.

Adventures Around the World by The Magic Chair

This is a personalised book that allows your little one to become the star of the show or I guess I should say the traveller in the adventures! Nova received the original, The Magic Chair, from his pappy for his first Christmas and then received this spin-off version for his second Christmas.

Adventures Around the World by The Magic Chair

Adventures Around the World by The Magic Chair

It basically showcases parts of the world in simple, engaging rhyme format. There are big illustrations that you can tailor to match your mini-explorer, such as hair colour. Nova loves describing all the landmarks and various animals, and it regularly makes an appearance at bedtime.

Adventures Around the World by The Magic Chair

Adventures Around the World by The Magic Chair

First Words: Japanese by Lonely Planet Kids

Lonely Planet Kids offer a fun range of foreign language vocab books for littles and this Japanese one is a favourite of mine. It’s really a book for the whole family and is perfect if you’re off on a new adventure. It’s a chance to build that pre-trip excitement and to learn.

As you can probably guess, this book shares 100 words to use while travelling in Japan, including food, animals, transport and greetings. Each word is accompanied with an illustration and this edition includes a super helpful audio pronunciation guide. You’re never too young to learn a new language – if anything I think it’s easier when you’re younger. At 2 years old Nova loves going to his weekly French class.

Minerve, France, Family Travel

Atlas of Adventures

This book is actually aimed at 7- 10 year olds but my two love leafing through it and asking questions as I tell them snippets about the various places. It’s a beautifully stylish, arty book that I can see growing with us. The older they get the more I’ll be able to read to them.

The book is basically a trip round the world, showcasing exciting things like the carnival in Brazil, a canoe safari down the Zambezi River and lots more. It’d make a really thoughtful gift.

The Big Book of Blue by Yuval Zommer

If you’re little loves animals, has a thirst for knowledge or you want to inspire them to explore oceans when they’re older this book is for you. It contains beautiful, educational illustrations and descriptions of various creatures of the water. Nova can list a whole host of different dinosaurs and sea creatures are just as exciting to him.

The Journey by Francesa Sanna

Can you tell I like stylish kids’ books?! This one is utterly gorgeous – very arty and chic. It tells the story of many journeys; essentially about migrations. It started with the story of two girls in a refugee centre in Italy and grew from there.

The Journey children book

Whilst the story may be lost on very young children, I still think it’s captivating and important. It’s the kind of children’s book that starts conversations with inquisitive minds.

The Journey children book

The Journey

A Year Full of Stories: 52 Folk Tales and Legends From Around the World by Angela McAllister

This book is a bit more light-hearted than the last and is another keepsake. It’s a collection of 52 best-loved stories from around the world, covering things like changing seasons, cultural events and differences, and international festivals.

Put like that it sounds quite highbrow, but actually includes tales like The Runaway Pancake, Father Frost and more. It’s a lovely book for a gift.

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The Best Books for Toddlers

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Comments (5)

  • Rachel 1 year ago Reply

    We recommend the Hats of Faith board book by Medea Cohan. It’s quite short and misses quite a lot of hats, but it is a great starting place for talking about cultural dress and understanding different faiths. As a non-affiliating family, we found it lovely. Since we travel to a lot of places where head coverings are common, it’s a great pre-travel read. ❤️

  • […] Recommended Reading: Books for Toddlers: 16 of the Best for Mini-Explorers […]

  • […] messages and educational, inspiring stories. So many that I have a whole blog post dedicated to the best books for children who love […]

  • Ayla 3 years ago Reply

    Oh I love this so much Char! Evie has almost the entire set of Little People Big Dreams but now I want to get her every single other book on this list! I’m thinking her Christmas stocking will be full of books!

    Taylor Hearts Travel 3 years ago Reply

    What a lucky girl! They’re such gorgeous books. I think they’re releasing a boy’s collection soon, so of course I’ll have to get them too!

    Sounds like she’ll have the best stocking going (and heaviest!)! :D

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