Part of being an adult is knowing just what a big, scary place the world is. The thought of watching your little ducklings fly off into the unknown is enough to give any family man a panic attack. But part of being a kid is dreaming up what a big, amazing place the world might be. The great unknown holds endless discoveries to be made, and that sense of wonder is something to be encouraged — while safely tucked into their bed, under your roof, where they can be monitored at all times. Read these 9 books together and your kids will be ready for adventure, exploration, and discovery, whenever the time is right.
The Incredible Intergalactic Journey HomeFollowing a global bedtime phenomenon is tough, but Lost My Name appear up to the challenge with their second impress-your-friends-with-a-one-of-one-personalized-gift book. This one’s not just about who you are, but where you’re from. It offers kids the chance to have their name literally written in the stars and see what their house looks like to Santa Claus.
The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home by David Cadji-Newby and Pedro Serapicos ($30)
The Journey Trilogy A young girl and boy navigate a wordless world with their trusty magical crayons, an unmistakable homage to a certain OG crayon-toting kid adventurer who just turned 60(!). Aaron Becker’s incredible watercolors are a little like walking into Westeros, only Becker will actually finish the series (Return arrives next year) and you won’t have to explain to your kid why all those heads are separated from their bodies.
Journey by Aaron Becker ($9)
Quest by Aaron Becker ($12)
Life In The Ocean: The Story Of Oceanographer Sylvia EarleThis illustrated biography of Sylvia Earle depicts her dives to insane depths, including 2 weeks living in a deep-sea station. But it also depicts her sketching bugs by herself under a tree in her parents’ garden, reminding your child that it’s okay to stick to the backyard, at least for a little while.
Life In The Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola ($13)
Sam And Dave Dig A HoleSam and Dave dig a hole and … that’s pretty much it. But the book is captivating because the illustrator’s perspective reveals much more than Sam and Dave realize, and because of the creeping weirdness that remains unresolved. To draw any conclusion beyond, “things get weird when you dig a really big hole,” your kids will have to get creative. Or dig their own really big hole.
Sam And Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen ($12)
Shackleton’s JourneyJust as impossible as the titular expedition once seemed, it was equally unlikely that kids ever would have gotten excited by Antarctica, otherwise known as, “the giant white one on the map.” Yet William Grill has won himself a whole gang of awards for this effort, which depicts every aspect of Shackleton’s Antarctic land crossing in painstaking detail. You can practically see your breath while you read it.
Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill ($17)
Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers Of SpaceSince every kid wants to be an astronaut when they grow up (or not, whatever), they should learn as much as possible about the great big universe while their universe is still really tiny. And there’s no better teacher than a PhD in quantum device physics with a physics BSc and an MSc in computer science … disguised as a cartoon cat.
Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers Of Space by Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman ($17)
There will be no fear of the dark after leafing through this wordless book. Every spread is half swathed in darkness, with only silvery, moonlit outlines of familiar objects and scenery, and half illuminated by a child’s flashlight, revealing engaging details. The only problem is, your kid could become so comfortable with the nighttime they might never go to sleep.
Flashlight by Lizi Boyd ($13)
MapsThe design snob in you will love the muted colors and detailed, informative illustrations that depict the culture, history, wildlife, and other iconic symbols of exotic countries across the globe. The geography bee loser in you will love the fact that you finally know where the hell those countries are.
Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski ($20)
This book is loaded with 100+ activities to take your kid on an illustrated trip around the world. Show them everything they could ever want to see without having to pack a trunk, avoid a mid-flight meltdown, or survive at sea for years at a time. You’re covered if you choose to do any of those things (you’re welcome), but you don’t have to.
Atlas of Adventures by Rachel Williams and Lucy Letherland ($19)