London Books Grab Your Family’s Attention
Books may be going digital, but I still love the smell of ink on paper. There is something so tangible and permanent about a printed book.
Anytime I start planning a trip I grab at least one guidebook to feed the fervor that starts to build as plane tickets are bought, accommodations are narrowed down and our Post-It note list of sights gets longer and longer.
Most of our trips are dedicated to one or two cities. I tend to get big guidebooks that go in-depth into a place. I highlight, scribble notes and even (gasp!) rip out pages if only a portion of the book pertains to our travels.
When we knew we would be returning to London I wasn’t so concerned about hitting the major attractions of the city. Mike and I had been there before to visit friends. We planned on revisiting favorite spots, hitting up a few museums we hadn’t made it to, and walking through Covent Garden and Portobello Market; with only 4 days to browse the area and friends to spend time with we didn’t need much on our list.
This didn’t mean I had to skip my usual trip to the books store to pick up a few books on London.
Frommer’s London Day by Day
The London Day by Day guide was the perfect companion for this type of travel. It gave a great overview of London’s highlights plus a few killer walking tours. I loved that this guidebook was so small (about 4”x7”) and lightweight it could easily fit into my purse or a jacket pocket. The fold out map was handy if we got lost, which of course happened.
If we hadn’t been to London before it would have still been a handy guide. If you only had 1-3 days it helped you break out the not-to-miss highlights of the city. It also gave you itinerary themes, like Neighborhood Walks, Best Shopping and Best Special-Interest Tours, which included Royal London and Kids’ London.
Even with a guidebook telling us some great spots to check out with the kids, I needed to find a way to captivate Dek’s interest in the places we were headed; not an easy fete.
On our recent trip through Europe I pulled out all the stops. Dek and I started reading about London months ahead of time. It was the easiest stop on our trip to find children’s books at Dek’s reading (aka limited attention span) level.
Cooper’s Pack London by Kyle and Groot
I first heard about this series from Lisa at Gone with the Family, but the company making Cooper’s Pack London is actually based in Seattle. This guidebook series was developed for slightly older children than Dek, who is now 3, but we were still able to immerse ourselves in some of the fun things that awaited us in London.
I read the guidebook to Dek like a book. He and I followed the adventures of Cooper, a fuzzy little dog who goes to visit L.L. the lamb. Fun facts and activities litter the pages.
We learned local phrases like Tube, cash point, flat and quid. Pronunciation of the River Thames was covered, ensuring we would not sound like idiots every time we crossed. By the end Dek wanted his own Cooper the dog, who was a stuffed animal to travel with through London.
This is London by Miroslav Sasek
My new favorite children’s book series is actually not new at all. First published in 1959, Sasek’s travel series, including This is London, has since had a few of its facts updated, but the paintings of famous sights like Trafalgar Square, Parliament and Buckingham Palace are timeless. These images got not only Dek excited, but had him vaguely recognizing red double-decker buses, taxis and the London Underground when we arrived in London. Since our return he can point to different sights in the book, like the all-important tower that Big Ben lives in, and say hello to his beloved trains and buses.
Dodsworth in London by Tim Egan
Dek and I both enjoyed reading Dodsworth in London, part of a fun chapter book series, as we prepared for our European adventure. We traveled with Dodsworth and his friend the duck as they found their way from New York to Paris to London and finally Rome. Important information, like gelato is ice cream in Italy, was conveyed, and once again we got to travel on those iconic London buses. The books are short enough for a 3 year old to sit through and enjoy, but are definitely something he can grow with as he starts to read the books on his own one day.
I was sent a copy of Frommer’s London Day by Day and Cooper’s Pack London for the purpose of review; as always all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.