Best Books for Sparking Travel Excitement
One of the best ways to get excited for an upcoming WorldStrides program? Reading a good book! It’s one thing to get mentally transported to a location by reading – and another to know you’ll soon be in that place yourself! Be an armchair traveler before you get your boots on the ground – check out one of the books from the list below and see your upcoming trip location through an author’s eyes!
Alaska Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer
An international best-seller and now a movie, this novel follows along on the true story of Christopher McCandless, who after traveling through much of the Western U.S, heads up to Alaska on a solo adventure into the wilderness of Denali National Park.
California Stolen Secrets – L B Schulman
Florida Hoot – Carl Hiaasen
Hawaii The Islands at the End of the World – Austin Aslan
Massachusetts The Underdogs – Sara Hammel
New York Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares – Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
Starting in NYC’s infamous Strand bookstore, follow along as Dash solves the puzzles Lily leaves for him via notebook, leading the two through a scavenger hunt throughout New York – a route that could be followed on one’s own visit to the Big Apple!
Puerto Rico The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico – Sarah McCoy
Washington D.C Empire of Mud – J.D Dickey and Jeff Dickey
Did you know the beautiful, stately city of Washington, D.C. used to be a giant eyesore? Before America came to power in the twentieth century, the capital city was full of swamps, dirty canals, and litter. Learn about the city’s interesting and often turbulent history (in more ways than one) in this story of D.C.’s tainted past.
China Dream of the Red Chamber – Cao Xueqin
India Lion – Saroo Brierley
Israel Sophie’s Quest – Sonja Anderson
Japan Lost in Tokyo – Jenny Lynne
South Africa Disgrace – J.M Coetzee
England The Complete Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Over the course of his investigations, Sherlock Holmes ventures through dozens of London locations, including the Langham Hotel, the Lyceum Theater and St. Bartholemew’s Hospital.
France Madeline – Ludwig Bemelmans
“In an old house in Paris, that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines… the smallest one was Madeline.” The Madeline series of books follows the adventures of a 7-year-old girl and her Paris boarding school friends. Madeline is brave, cheerful and equally charming! Just as wonderful as the stories, are the whimsical illustrations of Paris readers will find in these classic books.
Germany Faust – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Greece The Odyssey – Homer
This high school staple is one of two Greek poems written by Homer, the other being of course, the Iliad. These poems are believed to be the two oldest works of Western literature! They tell the story of the hero Odysseus and the king of Ithaca, and the drama that unfolds as it takes Odysseus ten years to travel to Ithaca after the Trojan War.
Ireland Ulysses – James Joyce
Ambitious students can get a task of Dublin through this famous novel (though, let’s be honest, few readers have actually finished it!). In fact, if you happen to be in town on (and around) June 16, the day featured in the novel, you can even celebrate “Bloomsday,” a festival built around the book.
Italy The Thief Lord – Cornelia Funke
Russia War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
Scotland The Calling – Philip Caveney
Spain Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
The story of a middle-aged man from La Mancha in central Spain, Don Quixote tells the tale of the man who was obsessed with the valiant standards he read about in books, and how he practiced these standards by defending his people and working to destroy the malicious.
Argentina Labyrinths – Jorge Luis Borges
Colombia One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ecuador The Queen of Water – Laura Resau
Canada Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone – Darlene Foster
Australia The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough
New Zealand The Whale Rider – Witi Ihimaera
A Kiwi classic, this novel (now a film as well), follows Pai throughout Whangara, a small community on New Zealand’s North Island. The book is a great way to familiarize oneself with Maori culture and learn a few words in Te Reo!
Don’t know where to begin? Find your perfect program (and therefore your perfect book) here!