Children love to explore the world around them, whether it’s the neighborhood, a new park, or another culture. These wonderful fiction and non-fiction books for little explorers are sure to fuel their curiosity. Whether you’re stuck at home or able to get out to physically explore right now, these books will help open up your child’s imagination and see the world with new eyes.
Books for Little Explorers: Community and Culture
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Enjoy these books for little explorers!
What is more exciting for children to explore than the world of grownups? The gorgeous new volume The Who’s Who of Grown-Ups: Jobs, Hobbies and the Tools It Takes recognizes this curiosity and addresses it in the way that children often do: through dress up! Clothing is often the way that many children first begin to understand different jobs. This unique book takes 90+ occupations and hobbies and shows us the clothes and tools they require. For example, a chef needs chef pants, neckerchief, toque blanche, wooden spoon, ladle, saucepan, and tea towel. Here you’ll find the obvious choices, such as firefighter and police officer, as well as some you might not have thought of, like gondolier and secret agent. Delightful book for younger children to discover and imagine.
This is a book that I love to read as well! Who Invented This?: Smart People and Their Bright Ideas is a wonderful book for older children that teaches them the stories behind many inventions that they take for granted, like traffic lights and the internet. Did you know that “Bluetooth” was actually named after a tenth century Danish king? Or that post-its initially were yellow because that’s the only color scrap paper that the laboratory had? This page turning book will help children (and grownups!) look at the world around them in an entirely new way!
How could I not include Explore the World on a list of books for little explorers? Explore the World looks at the history of exploration itself and the discoveries that shaped it. Covering everything from ancient times to the space age, it looks at famous explorers, like Ibn Battuta, Zheng He, and Marco Polo. I love that it gives cultural context to explorers like Columbus, showing the good and the bad of these encounters. And we don’t just get the usual European perspective: James Cook, for example, is discussed along with his Tahitian navigator Tupaia. The book also shows the motivation behind many explorations, such as wealth and scientific curiosity. A welcome addition to any school or home library.
North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres is a cleverly designed book to get kids thinking about the similarities and differences between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Each page spread covers one month, contrasting what is happening with particular animals in each hemisphere during that time. In addition, each page spread also has a theme, like mothers and babies, or building a home. For example, in February, the focus is on extreme environments: Japanese macaques in the Northern Hemisphere deal with the cold by soaking in thermal pools, while in the Southern Hemisphere, flamingo chicks and their parents gather in the summer sun to feed. Packed with information, North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres is a gorgeously illustrated book that children will enjoy poring over.
The beautiful book Australian Baby Animals has been part of our regular bedtime rotation. My animal loving daughter adores it, especially the illustrations of the adorable baby animals. She also loves learning what the babies for each species are called. Did you know that “joey” is used for animals other than kangaroos? This book is aimed at a slightly younger audience than many of the other non-fiction books on this list and is a wonderful introduction to these intriguing animals.
The Walloos’ Big Adventure is the only fiction book to make this list. (Though I easily could have included Ergo, which was part of my recent Courage booklist). The Walloos’ Big Adventure is a cautionary tale about the importance of taking care of the environment when we travel to new places. It takes a lot of courage for the Walloos to leave their homes and explore the world around them. And what they find is an ideal home, yet soon it begins to lose its charm, thanks to their own activity. Can they save it from themselves? This is not just a conservationist message, but also one about being a respectful traveler.
Is anyone else ready to get out and have some adventures?? Whether you are able to travel now or not, it’s the perfect time to start planning for your next big trip. Family Adventures: Exploring the World with Children is a comprehensive travel guide for families. It includes real life stories from diverse families about their own travel experiences, complete with beautiful full color photos. It also includes tips for travel with children, broken down by age groups. I really appreciate this now that my kids are getting older, since most advice tends to be only about traveling with very young children. A beautiful book to help with your daydreaming and planning!
Tales of the Rails: Legendary Train Routes of the World is a fascinating book, whether you love learning about other countries or you simply love trains, as so many children do. It is such a unique angle to teach children about other cultures and a form of travel that dominated for so many years. Covering every continent, Tales of the Rails takes us to some of the most iconic railways of the world, such as the Trans-Siberian Railway, the Namibia Desert Express, and PeruRail. These railroads cross mountains and deserts and show us the northern lights and the Australian Outback. This book shows the diversity of the land covered as well as of the trains themselves, which vary from freight trains to high-speed commuter trains. A wonderful book that lets children imagine themselves as travelers on these iconic railways.