Tag Archives: books

Book Reviews and Interviews

Parents who travel a lot are always on the lookout for great advice on travelling with their children. And nowhere is this information bundled together so well as in Ashley Steel’s and Bill Richard’s new book. “Family on the Loose” is packed with advice and information on how to make travelling with children more pleasant.” – The European Mama

Point-by-point advice along with reproducible checklists and activity sheets enrich this “must-have” reference and resource for family vacations!” – MidWest Book Reviews

… aims to help families cultivate the next generation of global citizens through travel, is packed with practical and fun tips for surviving and thriving with kids on the road. ” – ParentMap.com

After reading Family on the Loose, I have a renewed confidence that we will be able to travel again as a family. What I love about the Family on the Loose book: practical, informative, straightforward, comprehensive, and thorough; easy to read, as if you’re having a conversation with your friend about traveling … – KidYogaStories.com

I have to say, if you are planning your first big vacation with kids — especially your first overseas — this book is a must-read. It is extremely easy to read (I breezed through it in one evening), yet packed with good advice, helpful lists, fun game ideas, and copyable worksheets. – FamilyVacationPlanning.net

For older children, there are some great ideas and templates for creating fun activities related to museums or cities or other parts of a trip – I’m sure in the future I’ll use the scavenger hunt ideas and probably have fun doing it too. ” – Not A ballerina

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MKB Book Club – Bilingual is Better

logoMKBbookclub2I’ll start this week’s chapter chat with a joke my kids told me:

What do you call a person who speaks two languages? 

–       Bilingual

What do you call a person who speaks three languages?

–       Trilingual

All right then.  What do you call a person who speaks only one language?

–       American

IMG_20130424_161930_847And, just to be clear.  That’s “American” with a derogatory tone.  I’m so proud that my kids think this joke is funny!  When I was in college, I took a seminar in which we had to describe the three things we really wanted to give our children.  I don’t even remember the first two things I listed.  Most likely something like “a roof” and “love”.  But I remember the somewhat desperate feeling I had about the third thing – “a second language.” I knew even then that my horizons were limited by my monolingualism and it seemed daunting to dream of doing better for my own kids.  As you can imagine, when Multicultural Kid Blogs offered up a book club on Bilingual is Better by Ana Flores and Roxana Soto, I jumped at the chance.  I picked Chapter Two: Why Bilingual is Better.  The discussion of Chapter 1 was sparked by a great post hosted by Spanish Playground. Read more »

Preparation is more important than plane tickets

Spend less energy on travel logistics and more on preparing your kids.  They’ll enjoy the trip so much more if they have educated expectations about the places you’ll be visiting.  The more they know, the happier they’ll be (and so, of course, the happier you will be too).  You can’t really expect them  to be all excited about seeing a mosque when they don’t know what it is.  And, let’s face it, art without expectation can be no fun at all.  If you’ve read about the Mona Lisa in a story, it might be fun to go see her.  On the other hand, standing in line to see a painting of a smirky lady that your parents tell you is “really famous”? Well, that just makes for really bad day.

Making Memories Stick: Collectables and Books

Guest Post by Nicolle in Norway

We started taking the kids on international trips when our daughter was only two and a half, and it doesn’t surprise me that now, 8 years later, she doesn’t remember much about that trip.  What did surprise me was how fast the memories can slip away, even for older children.  Along with all the other fabulous tips and tricks in Ashley and Bill’s book, I really enjoyed the suggestions for how to keep the travel experience alive after you are home.  My favorite souvenirs are those that tie to a special experience from the trip, or those that are created.


Sometimes you can stumble upon a special souvenir.  In Switzerland we found a small store that had an English version of a children’s book by a local author.  They also had a handmade doll of one of the characters. We bought both. Eight years later the doll from this town remains my daughter’s special travel companion, and the doll has traveled to every single country with us.  The doll, Florina, also started a love of handmade dolls which has been shamelessly encouraged by her mother. My daughter now has handmade dolls from Russia, Armenia and Portugal – all purchased on trips.  We keep our eyes open for new opportunities. Read more »

Postcard from Ancient Egypt

Happy National Archaeology Day!  Last year, Congress designated October 22 as National Archaeology Day and we’re celebrating with a trip to Ancient Egypt.

We started preparing for the tip back in August at the King Tut exhibit (in Seattle until January 6th).  The audio guide was well worth the extra few dollars.  In addition to information about the artifacts, the audio guide offered information about Ancient Egypt and the archaeologists who uncovered the tombs. The kid’s favorite artifacts included a box etched with cat drawings and the golden mask. We demo’d the final versions of the museum scavenger hunts for our book and I was happy to discover that they worked well.  At the gift shop, the kids had their names written in hieroglyphics for $1 – always a crowd pleaser.

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Buy local books

On longer trips, we usually make a pilgrimage to a locally-owned, independent bookstore to buy paperbacks.  The books are a great souvenir and they also enrich the whole experience.  We went a little crazy in Juneau at Hearthside Books: Pacific Northwest Legends, Facts about the Iditarod, an Alaskan adventure by local author Will Hobbs, a book of mammals and facts about them, and a beautiful story of a girl and a sled dog.Reading local books on the road is fun (and sometimes I read them too).  It gives the kids motivation and context for what they’re visiting as well as motivation and context for what they’re reading.

Tiny Books

I love Annick Press books.  They’re good stories, they cost $1-$3 each, and they are tiny.  You can fit an entire library in a sandwich bag.  You can request them at your local bookstore and they are sometimes carried on Amazon.  Search for Annikin or Annikin Edition.

Give away all the surprises

How many times can your son watch the same movie, even a really bad movie?  112 times?  265 times?  Because it’s really fun for kids when they know what comes next.  Start at the library in the non-fiction section and get picture books or even videos about your destination.  Biographies of famous people or details about the history of, say, soccer in Europe, or crickett in India.  The fiction section can hold a lot of great opportunities but I usually need help from a creative librarian.