Storied Cities features “reviews of decidedly urban illustrated and chapter books for children”, including a recent series featuring books set in or about Paris. I enjoyed the series so much that I emailed Erica asking if she would be willing to guest post as part of my Exploring Geography series. I’m so glad she agreed!
Many of us long to take our children to far away places but instead of the real thing must settle back for a bit of arm-chair traveling instead. Or maybe you are lucky enough to be actually planning a trip to Paris (I’ll try not to be jealous) and want to preview your destination with a bit of help from a few picture books.
Either way, if Paris is your virtual or real destination, there are several types of books with which to begin your journey. The first kind is a book which gets right to business, introducing you to major landmarks and describing cultural traditions. If this is what you are looking for try: The Inside-Outside Book of Paris or This is Paris.
Another way to travel is to choose a book which has a story line but the illustrations still take you on a deliberate tour of Paris. These books generally include maps in the end pages, and author’s notes which give further information. If this is what you are looking for try: Crepes by Suzette or Adele and Simon (my favorite). Everybody Bonjours! also fits into this category and is geared toward toddlers and preschoolers.
Finally, if you want books in which Paris just happens to be the backdrop, but there is no overt attempt to indoctrinate you into Paris’ landmarked glories you might try: Oops!, Come Fly With Me or Squiggle’s Tale, which is a darling story set in the Luxembourg Gardens. I also highly recommend reading the 1959 Newbery Honor Book, The Family Under the Bridge. It’s a chapter book suitable as a read aloud for ages 5 and up.
Of course there are still more wonderful books set in Paris, and I haven’t even mentioned the obvious choice of Madeline or Eloise in Paris. And if, indeed a “Paris Staycation” is what you are after, you can visit my “Books Set in Paris” page over at Storied Cities to learn more about these books, or find a few more.
Exploring Geography is a new weekly feature on this blog, showcasing cities, states, and countries in a child-friendly manner. Email mamasmilesblog at gmail dot com if you are interested in contributing.