The summer holidays are always an exciting part of a teacher’s year, and this year has been no exception. One of our first adventures was a road trip from Manchester , where we live, to Sligo on the west coast of Ireland to see one of my oldest friends get married (we have been friends since brownies!) We hadn’t done a major road trip as a family like this before but we thought the ferry would make a nice change from a plane plus we could pile the car up with all sorts of stuff rather than the rather poultry suitcase allowance we would get on a short flight. All good so far. But just how many books could we fit in a family car and how may would we need to get us through a week of hopping around B’n’Bs and hotels? Eventually I whittled it down to ten books and they had to be versatile enough to be read many times. You’ll be glad to know we made it through the holiday, had a great time and read all the books on the list several times so if you are doing something similar soon this might come in useful.
‘You Choose’ by Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt
The perfect book for this kind of brief because there isn’t a set story. Children can choose what they want to include giving it the potential to be a different story each time, although the way we read it my daughter definitely has her favourites that she likes to return to. Brilliant for expanding vocabulary and appealing to a wide age group of readers it is still as popular with her now (nearly four years old) as it was when we bought it a couple of years ago.
‘Tree’ and ‘Bee’ both by Britta Teckentrupp
After all the hype over Bee this summer I knew I had to buy it and Tree had been on my wishlist for a long time so I decided to have a splurge and buy them before we went so we had some new books to enjoy. I am so glad I did. Not only are they both beautiful but staying on a couple of farms whilst we were away meant that we were surrounded by beautiful nature every day and these books both complimented that beautifully. The illustrations and engineering of the pages are so well thought out and the text is pared back and yet still beautiful. After a week of reading them I wasn’t bored and neither was the little one, which tells you everything you need to know!
‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ by Judith Kerr
I never tire of reading this story. It is like the book equivalent of comfort food- familiar, warm and inviting, and we are always happy to devour it! Perfect for when new adventures proved to be a little overwhelming and we wanted something we knew well. Judith Kerr is a legend and anything by her is, in my opinion, worth a read. My nephew loves the Mog books but for us it’s ‘The tiger’. We’ve been reading it to her since she was a tiny baby and it’s one of the first books she could recite. It will always be special for us and so it makes sense that it would come along on a trip like this.
‘Oi Frog!’ by Kes Gray and Jim Field
Holidays are mostly fun but occasionally the little travellers (or the larger drivers/ map readers!) can get a bit cranky. Enter this book which will have you laughing and smiling again in no time, even if you have read it many, many times before. This is a favourite with everyone in our house, including Mr Bookhabit who doesn’t always have strong opinions about children’s books, and if you can read this and keep a straight face then you are a better person than me (but possibly also need to go and have a quiet lie down somewhere).
‘Nibbles the Book Monster’ by Emma Yarlett
Another great book for lightening the mood if you have been enjoying each others’ company in the car for a couple of hours. It might not be the perfect book if you were flying as its a slightly larger than average hard back but as we were on a road trip it didn’t matter too much. The peep through holes, flaps and other paper engineering elements make it irresistable and Nibbles might be a book-eating nightmare but he is pretty cute too! There is a lengthier review on my page as it was featured as a book of the week, so for now I will just say that this can be guaranteed to brighten up any stressful sitaution and it is a joy to read. (Sidenote- as I was typing this Mr Bookhabit walked past and casually said “I do like that Nibbles one”. High praise indeed!)
‘Maisy goes on holiday’ by Lucy Cousins
When my little girl was one she received a packed of ten Maisy books as a secret Santa Christmas present and it was one of the best presents she got. She reads one or other of them every week and because they were from the ‘first experiences’ range, there is usually one to suit any occasion. Despite the fact that there were lots of differences between our holiday and the one Maisy went on, we could also see some similarities and it made for a reassuring easy read while we were away.
‘Topsy and Tim go on to the farm’ by Jean and Gareth Adamson
When I was little I had lots of Topsy and Tim books and nowadays they don’t look the same but the content hasn’t actually changed that much. We spent a lot of time staying in different farm accomodation and so it was fun to take a book along that would fit in with the things we would be seeing, doing and exploring on the farms. Although she was slightly disappointed that she wasn’t able to go egg collecting like Topsy and Tim do in their story (the chickens were quite new and hadn’t started laying eggs yet) a lot of their experiences mirrored our own which made it a good one to bring along.
‘Winnie the Witch under the sea’ by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul
We have just discovered Winnie the Witch (a friend gave us a set of ten of them, second hand) and are quite taken with her so it was only right that we took one of those with us. In this one Winnie goes on holiday to a beautiful desert island and then decides to explore under the sea, turning Wilbur into a catfish and herself into an octopus. I’m always in awe of the illustrations in these books which are so detailed and colourful and my daughter loves screaming ‘Abracadabra!’ at the top of her lungs so it’s a win win all round.
‘How to Hide a Lion’ by Helen Stephens
I’m so happy that we took this one as it is an old favourite which we have recently rediscovered. (We have enjoyed both of the books in this series and are very looking forward to the next installment- How to hide a lion at school!) Iris is a brave, caring hero who doesn’t judge people on appearances and teaches all the adults in the story a thing or two about preconceptions. Plus the lion is just adorable. This is a book that we keep returning to which tells me it’s a goodie!
Plus some little cheats…
A couple of Little Miss books
We were recently given a second hand set of Little Miss books and so it was very easy to sneak a handful of these in my handbag as extras. My very own ‘little miss’ really likes these because of the silly characters and because they have clearly defined personalities. She can handle them easily because of the size and, although some of the jokes might go over her head, she seems to get great pleasure from listening to them. I almost always have one in my bag and would love to see some more books come in this size for when I’m on the go.
Stickman, The Singing Mermaid and Tyrranosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson (audio books)
These were a last minute addition and a total lifesaver. They helped us to do bedtime stories on the ferry home in the middle of the night, take our minds off lengthy car journies and have a bit of peace when we were cooped up in a camping pod in bad weather. There are lots out there but we chose these ones as they were familiar stories. The Stick Man one was particularly good as it included a song and some other little extras to join in with.
I’d love to know if you have any tips or tricks for travelling with as many books as possible. How do you choose what to take? Do you have one family favourite that has to go? Pop a comment underneath and thanks for stopping by!