Great Books for Family Vacation

Posted by on Jun 8, 2015 | 0 comments

great-books-for-family-vacation

You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child. Dr. Seuss

I remember that long family car ride from New York to Texas. I shared the cramped backseat with my older sister who was a stickler for not crossing the center line.  If a toe even rested near the imaginary line she would donkey kick me back to my side of the car.  No electronics invited in the 80’s, we relied on the written word for entertainment.  I ended up filling every page of my coloring books before we crossed the NY state line.  It was a long drive to Texas.

My tech savvy boys do not appreciate a good game of license plate poker. Or the long dead game of “I’m going on a picnic and bringing …” alphabet memory fun.  My boys know iPads, kindles, and portable DVD players.  I think all of these inventions are brilliant.  They can turn a twenty hour car trip into a quick 8 movie marathon.

Sure we have fewer nagging questions “are we there yet”, but we have also cultivated instant gratification and glazed over entertainment zombies.  Bathroom humor, from tv shows, fills the car as I beat my head against the window to theme songs.

My husband and I have made a new effort to utilize the time in the confined car space to enhance our family vacations. Audiobooks or reading aloud in the car offers great family bonding opportunities to inspire creativity and adventure.

Our favorite vacations all have a book title intertwined. We once read Journey to the Center of the Earth right before we headed down into the deep Luray Caverns in Virginia.  An adventure to Boston, Massachusetts followed Who Was Paul Revere and What Was the Boston Tea Party. Our proud eleven-year-old acted as tour guide pointing out the important buildings we had just read all about.

What fun to ride the midnight train from Salt Lake City, UT to Reno, NV. The children pretended they were on the Hogwart’s Express.

Not sure which great book to read on your next family vacation? Here are over 50 classics compiled into themed vacation categories: animal, water, western, historical, European, basic adventure, and biographies.

Safari / Zoo / Farm Vacation
The Jungle Book
Black Beauty
Charlotte’s Web
Mr. Poppers Penguins
The Tale of Desperaux
Old Yeller

Beach / Water / Cruise Vacations
Treasure Island
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Odyssey
Swiss Family Robinson
Moby Dick
Robinson Crusoe
Peter Pan

Western Vacations
Lewis and Clark
White Fang
Call of the Wild
The Adventures of Munford: The Klondike Gold Rush
The Courage of Sarah Noble

American Historical Vacations
Johnny Tremain
Last of the Mohicans
Sarah, Plain and Tall
Little House on the Prairie
Red Badge of Courage
Uncle Tom’s Cabin

European Vacations
Oliver Twist
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Sherlock Holmes
King Arthur
The Three Musketeers
Don Quixote
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The Apple and the Arrow
The Diary of Ann Frank
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
Greek Myths

Any Vacation:
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Stuart Little
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Around the World in 80 Days
War of the Worlds
To Kill a Mockingbird
A Wrinkle in Time
The Giver
Percy Jackson
The Hobbit

Great Biographies:
Learning about the people who impacted an area is definitely a great opportunity to have more respect and appreciation for it.
Clara Barton
Daniel Boone
Harriet Tubman
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Hudson Taylor
Fredrick Douglas
C.S. Lewis
George Muller
Florence Nightingale

Younger Series:
Stop by the library and grab a few of these younger fun series!
Magic Tree House
Boxcar Children
A-Z Mysteries
Capital Mysteries
Nate the Great
Captain Awesome
Encyclopedia Brown
Flat Stanley

Most classics have an abridged version, I highly recommend starting with those first. You will have fewer vocabulary lessons in the middle of a story.

More tips from a former rigid read-aloud mom:

1. If you are not a reading together type of family yet – pitch it to your children first. Let them know you want to share a favorite adventure with them and you will be having some “story time”. Discuss what you expect and then pick a book together.  Be sure everyone unplugs (that includes the adults too)!!

2. Recognize when it is time to stop. If your children are absolutely not interested do not speed read a chapter just to get it done. Some pages are overwhelmingly descriptive (The Hobbit) you need a stopping point before the chapter officially ends. I used to be ridiculously offended my boys were not eager to hang on every single spoken word. Do not take it personally.

3. Do make it a habit by practicing a bit of reading together every day. This will take some time to build a great habit of easy listening.  If you do not feel like reading a monster of a book pick up the audio version and listen together.

4. Do not plan on reading for an entire 21-hour drive. I don’t even want to hear my voice for that long! Set aside the movies and toys for a bit, but do not trash them completely.

5. Not driving this vacation? Read together before bed, in the airport, or during some outside down time.

6. Enjoy the journey. This is something fun to do with your family not another grueling task to add to the vacation itinerary. Some days I would be so flustered to get the reading time in and feel stressed I had a squirmy little one distracting me. I learned to pass off the book to my husband and enjoy listening for a bit myself. Older children make for great narrators too!

Looking for more great reads? Follow our Pinterest Board: Reading.

Keeping track of your child's homeschool work for you!

Keeping track of your child’s homeschool work for you!

Add fun to your next family vacation by reading a great book together!  Show us what you are reading this summer.  Snap a photo of your book cover and use our hashtag #applecorereads
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Stef Layton

Stef Layton started homeschooling in 2008. Her heart is set on intentional parenting and building strong family relationships. She is a columnist for Homeschooling Today Magazine.


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