- Do It Yourself Book Tours: From Laura Ingalls Wilder’s homestead to New York City books like The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, this article in Family Fun magazine has some great ideas for exploring the real-life settings of kids’ books.
- To Kill a Mockingbird: Visit Harper Lee’s hometown, Monroeville, Alabama, to see landmarks that inspired the book–including a museum and mock-up of the courthouse in the book/movie. While you’re there, don’t miss Beehive Coffee & Books and Radley’s Fountain Grille!
- Boston Common & the Public Garden: Take a Swan boat ride, just as in Make Way for Ducklings, and see the statues of Mama Duck and her babies. Plus, while you’re there, visit the other kid-friendly features of the garden like the wading pool and playground.
- Dickens World: Experience Victorian England in 3D! Only downside for U.S. readers: it’s located in Kent, England.
- Thomas the Train: It’s a little pricey, but you can take your little conductors on a ride of Thomas the Train in many cities in America. Don’t forget to buy the original stories written by an Anglican minister to take along with you.
- Anne of Green Gables: Take your kindred spirits to visit P.E. Island and see the original landscape that inspired L.M. Montgomery, as well as many icons of the Megan Follows version of the movie.
- Hatchet: Why not give your kids a wilderness survival guide, like the one I’ve linked to here, and then give them a chance to test their skills on a hike/camping trip to a local park? Take Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet along to read around the campfire at night to see if it gives you any new ideas.
- Reformation History: Douglas Bond’s Mr. Pipes series include a number of settings that could be retraced by intrepid readers. See Mr. Pipes Comes to America for settings in the U.S.–a great way to learn about early American history, without losing the rich religious heritage so many books for kids leave out.
For those of you who haven’t been involved in our Bible Challenge, the summer might be a good time to jump in. Since the point of the study is to take kids into the real Biblical text and give them an overview, you don’t have to do all the suggested reading. Just give your kids a taste of the week’s selections, and hit the high points in our discussion.
Best of all, this isn’t just dry reading. We’ve included games, coloring pages, paper dolls, and Make-Your-Own-Story-Bible resources. Get out your Bible, the glitter glue and construction paper, and open your heart to be changed as a family by God’s word! Here’s a link to a page of the first 13 challenges, covering Genesis through the building of the tabernacle.
Do you guys have any suggestions for more book-themed travel for families? I’m always looking for more…and in fact, I’m going to be in Chicago soon with my two little ones, so if anybody has any ideas about that, please do share!