Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Travel Tuesdays: Armchair Travel

Not everyone can travel as often as he or she would like. But armchair travel- reading a good book set in another place- can fill a desire to learn more about another country or culture.

Today, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite travel books (and books set in other places) and open this post up to hear some of yours. I'll compile the list and move your suggestions into the body of the post to make finding other people's suggestions easier.

As you can see from my sidebar, "Books I've been Reading" I read lots of books. Since I've been an adult, I've been a pretty big reader. Now that I'm also a writer, I read even more. (Reading great books is one of the best ways to improve your own writing).

Needless to say, choosing only a few books to suggest was hard for me. I decided to share the first books that popped into my to mind once I chose the focus for today's post.

Adult Novel:
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese Since two of my favorite boys were born in Ethiopia, it makes sense that I would choose to read a novel set there (Part is also set in the US). It's a compelling story that also taught me more about Ethiopia. Truthfully, I would have chosen to read it even if Mikias and Jemberu weren't in my life, but it may have sat in my "To Be Read" pile a bit longer.

Adult Travel: Female Nomad and Friends: Tales of Breaking Free and Breaking Bread Around the World Edited by Rita Golden Gelman is a collection of essays written by female travelers. I didn't love every essay but I love the variety of perspectives I was able to glean from reading one book.
You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When It Monsoons: The world on One Cartoon a Day by Mo Willems.  This book just cracked me up.  I  found it in a used book store and read it long before I read his brilliant Knuffle Bunny or the Pigeon series. With one cartoon per page, you can dip in and read it whenever you have a free minute. 

Young Adult:
Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins The story of two boys on opposing sides of the conflict in Burma (Myanmar). I couldn't put this one down. I was invested in learning the fate of the two boys but also loved how much I learned about the conflict by reading it. With the current events in Burma, now is the perfect time to read it with your older kids.

Middle Grade Novel

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park: Based on a True Story.  Two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. I read it in one sitting. A devastating story that is also filled with hope.

Picture Book:
A New Year's Reunion by Yu Li-Qiong- the touching story of a Dad's once a year homecoming for the Chinese New Year's celebration. I stumbled upon this one at my library in February and loved it.

What travel books (or books set in other countries) have you and/or your kids enjoyed lately? Please share them in the comments. Be sure to indicate if it's an adult novel or a kids' book. I'll add them to this post. I may also add them to my "Suggested Books" page once I read them.

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