Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them. – Lemony Snicket
I will never forget receiving Where the Wild Things Are from my mother when I was a child. There was a note inscribed inside the front cover that informed me that a man named Maurice Sendak wrote the story and illustrated this wonderful book. My mother wrote that Mr. Sendak also designed the magnificent sets for The Nutcracker performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet that we would be attending the following week.
I will forever remember the feel of the red velvet seat that enveloped me at the ballet I attended with my siblings, my mother, and my grandmother. It became the fantastical lens with which I viewed Christmas and it was an unforgettable gift. Every time I read Where The Wild Things Are my mind wanders in a dreamlike state from stage to page seamlessly. The experience illustrated for me, at a very young age, the power in the gifting of a great story. Before I turned 10, I knew if I had a son of my own someday, I would name him after Max from Where The Wild Things Are. I am proud to say my son Max is now 12 and well versed in both the Nutcracker and the art of the “wild rumpus.”
Our last blog was dedicated to my Top 16 Good Reads: Livology Travels 2015. Today’s list was compiled by my children. Books are everything on this journey. They are our entertainment, our school, our escape, and our connection.
- In preparing to leave Europe last Spring, our boys loved every page of the 10 books in the Alex Rider Series by Anthony Horowitz (as well as the graphic novels). From Cuba to Cairo to Wimbledon, the boys were plotting out Alex’s adventures as a 14-year-old-spy with style. As the real locations were mixed with fictional, they kept researching each new turn in the story to see if it was an actual place they wanted to add to their list of travel destinations.
- If James Patterson wrote it, my boys will devour it cover to cover, typically without coming up for air. Many of his collections span the globe like the Treasure Hunters Series and Maximum Ride. On our flight from New York City to Paris, my oldest son read The Confessions Series and the words created such clear images for him, he could barely contain his excitement at his familiarity with both illustrious cities.
- The 39 Clues is a series of globe-trotting adventure novels written by a collaboration of authors, including Rick Riordan and Gordon Korman. Because there isn’t one author, each book has a slightly different voice and appeal. Each book fresh and a bit unpredictable. They actually screamed with joy when they found out Double-cross Book One Mission Titanic by Jude Watson came out just before we went to the Titanic Experience in Cobh, Ireland. Our 7-year-old loves to listen to the audio version of these books with her older brothers which has been great on car trips when consensus is key.
- The Genius Files Series by Dan Gutman was educational and engaging for all three of our kids aged 7, 10, and 12 which is a gift in itself. It was the perfect way to prepare for our epic road trip across the USA after leaving Europe last Spring. Twelve-year-old twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald embark on a family vacation that inspired many of our crazy adventures. For example, we never would have stopped at the bizarre clown museum in Plainview, Iowa (pictured above) had we not been inspired by the weird but true American tourist destinations throughout the series.
- There are countless classics that we read in preparation for our travels in 2015 from the Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder to Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer but it would not be a travel reading list without celebrating a voice that has been a constant in our house (and now our carry-on) since our first child was born. Mary Pope Osborne has inspired so many of our adventures but the most notable was our walk up the 700 steps in the Eiffel Tower to see Gustav Eiffel’s apartment after reading about in Magic Treehouse Night of the New Magicians. We also read Racing with Gladiators right before we went to Gladiator School in Rome. Whenever I hear these stories, I think of the experiences they have encouraged in us and I can’t help feeling like Jack and Annie are an integral part of the spirit of this adventure. The best part is they took us to far off lands before we ever ventured beyond our own backyard.
The final travel book that we will read this year is our own Livology: A Global Guide To A Deliberate Life. It is dedicated to our children because every day with them is an adventure.
Today’s Tweetable: The Top 12 Good Reads for Kids 2015