Lonely Planet Kids book reviews: bringing the world to your young readers

So, as you know, if you have any young readers in your life, they’re the most inquisitive, brilliants kids in the entire world, aren’t they? I know my nephews are, naturally, and I thought that these gems from would be a good way to start broadening their horizons.

I didn’t know what to expect from these books, because for me at least, Lonely Planet has always been a guidebook publisher. After reading these however, I realise I need to know more about what Lonely Planet now publishes. Lonely Planets Kids seems like such a a natural offshoot from publishing guidebooks, and are quite simply breathtaking in how much they will teach young and older readers about the world.

And, it is a beautiful, diverse world out there.

This is My World 

Oh this is just such a beautiful book! It’s pretty much 84 kids from around the world, sharing their families, their favourite food, where they go to school and anything else of interest. I like that the entries are all different, because the kids and our world is filled with wonderful differences — but at the same time, young readers will see similarities to these entries, to these kids who may not look like them, but actually share a whole heap of things.

Hidden Wonders

You know how sometimes you want to look for the places that are out of the way and off the beaten path? This book doubles (for me at least) as a handy travel guide to all those places you wish you’d heard of before — AND — it’s an introduction for young readers (aged 9-12) that the world is so much bigger, weirder and wonderful than they thought.

The book is divided into different longitudes, so right next to learning about the Waitavala Water Slide in Taveuni, Fiji young readers will learn about the Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve, Alaska.

Or right next to a page on Tank Town, USA (yes, it’s famous for allowing you to drive tanks and crush cars), you’ll find that Hell does exist — on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. It contains a group of ancient limestone formation that are spiky black rocks that look like they’re rising out of hell.

Honestly, seeing the beauty of these places just brings home how big our world is, and really, we’re all just one very, very small part of it. It’s a gorgeous, out of left field introduction to the world, customs and people and if you like travelling, whatever your age, you’re going to adore this.

The Flag Book

Forget my nephews, my brothers-in-law grabbed this book when it arrived and spent most of the evening discussing the entries in it — this is a book of flags of every country, and the stories behind each design. It’s fascinating reading — I mean did you know earth has an unofficial flag consisting of seven interlocking silver rings, forming a flower against a deep blue background? It’s to show how we are all connected. The designer, a Swedish student from the Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm designed it and hopes it will fly on Mars one day.

Did you know the islands of Sao Tome and Principe gained independence from Portugal in 1975 and adopted a flag that consists of a red triangle on the left, a wide horizontal yellow band flanked by green bands and two black stars that represent the two main islands…

Actually, let’s rewind that: did you know Sao Tome and Principe were two islands that existed? Because I definitely didn’t. That’s the coolest thing about this book –– it teaches young and older readers about the world and they places they know, and 10000% more about the places they didn’t know about.

Seek and Find Cities

This is like the Where’s Wally? (Or if you’re in the US, Where’s Waldo?) of travelling. These pages are filled with pictures of different holidays, or places in different cities around the world — like a Christmas Market in Moscow, Russia or a marketplace in Marrekesh, Morocco or even a Chinese New Year Celebration in Beijing, China — and young readers (aged 6-8) will have to spot items in the crowds — think gingerbread men in Moscow, or a Door God in Beijing, or a bowl of boiled snails in Marrekesh — while they’re learning just how diverse our world is.

I think though, even if your readers are younger than 6-8, they’re going to have fun finding these these and learning about these places.

How Trains Work

For ages 6-8, this is another book that is going to be a treasure hunt of fun for readers who like trains. It teaches readers about the golden age of steam to humanity’s search for speed in trains, and to how junctions work. The pages are also filled with flaps that offer little titbits to readers about trains — Tuffi, an elephant who jumped out of the oldest working suspension railway in Wuppertal, Germnay in 1950. She landed in the water below unharmed, and lived happily for 39 more years.

Where else would you learn about a gem like that, BUT, a Lonely Planet book?

These books are the kind of reads that make you hunger for more to know and learn — and who doesn’t love that?!


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