Travel books for toddlers


Browsing one of our local bookstores in San Francisco, we came across a charming board book series – Hello World. We were enchanted – a book about colors in New York, shapes for Paris, opposites in London, and counting in San Francisco. And gave us the idea write a post about travel-themed board books for toddlers – cities, food, art in museums, transportation, wildlife.

Before going on a vacation, explore the world with little ones sitting on your lap. Sturdy board books are designed for food-covered fingers, and no problem when chewed on, wildly tossed around, dropped on the floor. Take board books with you on your trip – to read in the airport, on the plane, or snuggling up at night in your hotel.

Tip: The board book is only the beginning. While traveling, in Paris look for more shapes – arches under bridges, oval fountains in the Tuileries and Luxembourg Gardens, triangles and circles at the Pompidou Centre. Stop the taxi to find more lions in London British Museum. In San Francisco count cable cars and sea lions, taxis and hot dogs in New York. Pick your favorite dim sum, sushi or pasta in restaurants, look for Van Gogh or Monet in art museums, find tall, short, and beep cars on a drive trip. Board books about animals are perfect before a trip to the zoo or outdoor vacation.




  • New York: A Book of Colors by Ashley Evanson. Take a yellow taxi, view orange leaves on trees in Central Park, visit the green Statue of Liberty, watch the blue lights in Times Square.
  • 1 2 3 New York: A Cool Counting Book by Puck. No words, just numbers, and big bright graphics. One Statue of Liberty, three bridges, four skyscrapers, five taxis, seven subway cars, ten hot dogs.
  • Larry Loves Washington DC by John Skewes. Larry, an adorable puppy, loves monuments, rockets, the Capitol, animals at the National Museum of Natural History, memorials, and running around the National Mall all day.
  • San Francisco: A Book of Numbers by Ashley Evanson. Count your way through San Francisco – one cable car rolls down the hill, two dragons guard Chinatown gate, four picnic loaves of sourdough bread, six sail boats out in the bay, “Bark, bark! eight sea lions at Pier 39 say hello.”
  • C is for Chicago by Maria Kernahan. Chicago from A to Z. “A is for the Art Institute where the lions stand proud,” to blues music, deep dish pizza, Grant Park, Lake Shore Drive, Millenium Park, Oak Street Beach, T- Rex, Lincoln Park Zoo.
  • Hello Philadelphia by Martha Zschock . Take a trip through Philadelphia with two eagles, play in Fairmount Park, see the Liberty Bell, learn about the American flag, eat a cheesesteak.
  • Larry Loves Boston by John Skewes. Pete’s dog Larry runs off on the Freedom Trail to Old North Church, Larry loves the ducks and swans in the Public Garden, and baseball, trains, bridges and ships and the hills of Bunker Hill Monument, where he finds Pete.




  • Paris: A Book of Shapes by Ashley Evanson. Spot triangles at (the entrance) to the Louvre Museum, find squares (square-shaped sweets) in patisseries, look for an arch at the Arc de Triomphe and ovals (fountains) at Versailles.
  • Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. Classic story in board book format, and abridged for toddlers. Set in Paris, Madeline, her schoolmates and Miss Clavel, visit the Tuileries, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, the Pont Neuf, and more famous landmarks.
  • My First London Taxi by Marion Billet. “Stop the taxi! we want to see Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. Stop the taxi! We want to look at the crown jewels in the Tower of London.” Take a tour around London, stopping to see famous sites, full two page spread and the book is shaped like a black taxi.
  • London: A Book of Opposites by Ashley Evanson. Palace guards, one is big, one is little, buses are new, carriages are old, it’s sunny or rainy at Westminster Abbey, boats sail under the Tower Bridge, cars go over the Bridge.




  • Dim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin. A family waits for little dishes of dim sum to come to their table. Ma-Ma picks sweet pork buns, Ba-Ba chooses fried shrimp Mei-Mei wants sweet tofu. “We eat a little bit of everything. Now there are empty little dishes.”
  • My First Book of Sushi by Amy Wilson Sanger. Colorful collages of sushi and rhyming descriptions of miso, tofu, tuna rolls, egg tamago and shrimp nigiri. “Someday I’ll eat with chopsticks, but today just with my hands.”
  • Hola! Jalapeno by Amy Wilson Sanger. Say hello to a jalapeno chile friend, Senorita Quesadilla with cheese melting out the end, a big burrito, tacos, tostadas, tamales, enchiladas, and flan for desert. Super collages.
  • Chaat and Sweets by Amy Wilson Sanger. Introduce toddlers to the snacks of India – samosas, puff rice salad, lassi (yogurt drink), tandoori chicken, pani puri, pakoras, and sweet of jalebi and coconut cham-cham.
  • Mangia, Mangia by Amy Wilson Sanger. Fresh pasta capellini and fettuccine, cheese ravioli, a big bowl of minestrone, soft and creamy risotto, and gelato in three flavors.
  • Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell. When red yellow leaves are on the trees, a family goes to a local farm to pick apples and pumpkins. They take bushel to the orchard, and pick the reddest apples. In the field where pumpkins grow, find the best pumpkin to take home for Halloween.

Art in Museums


  • In the Garden with Van Gogh by Julie Merberg, Suzanne Bober. Rhyming descriptions of Van Gogh’s paintings of gardens, fields and a starry night. “Twelve sunflowers lean toward the light, five are wide open, seven shut tight.”
  • A Picnic with Monet by Julie Merberg, Suzanne Bober. Monet’s paintings take you on a trip to Giverny, ride the train, past fields of red poppies to a secret garden. Children play in the sun, cross a magical bridge to water lilies floating on the pond.
  • A Magical Day with Matisse by Julie Merberg, Suzanne Bober. Bright colored paintings by Matisse in the south of France – sailboats on the bay, a rainbow of rooftops and sparkling sea, peaches, cherries, apples for dessert, listen to music, play games with friends.
  • Mini Masters Box Set by Julie Merberg, Suzanne Bober. Lovely collection of four board books: In the Garden with Van Gogh, A Picnic with Monet, A Magical Day with Matisse, and Dancing with Degas.


Things that go


  • Planes by Byron Barton. Perfect introduction to a first plane flight. “In the sky, airplanes are flying. This is a jet plane, with people inside. Get ready for takeoff. … There goes the jet plane in the sky.”
  • Cars Galore by Peter Stein, Bob Staake. Cars and MORE cars – fast car, slow car, has-it-all car (including a whale and grand piano), beep car, short car (driver is very tall), junk car. On a drive trip, you probably won’t see a hundred feet car (feet instead of wheels) or eco-friendly runs-on-air car. Cars and their passengers, all imaginative and fun!
  • Subway by Anastasia Kuen. Sights, sounds and rocking rhythm of a subway ride in pictures and rhymes. “Rock left, rock right, we hang on tight.” We love all the different people on the subway.
  • Let’s Look at Trains by Britta Teckentrup. Have you traveled on a train? The observation car, sleeper car, freight cars, engines, high speed trains, monorails, and count the wheels on the train. Charming illustrations with animals as passengers.




  • Little Zebra: Finger Puppet Book by ImageBooks. Meet a little zebra on the African savannah. He basks in the sun, eats grass, when it rains, Little Zebra is happy to find a waterhole. Adorable zebra finger puppet.
  • Over in the Ocean by Marianne Berkes, Jeanette Canyon. Gorgeous collages of sea life in the coral reef. Count one octopus, two parrotfish, three clownfish, four stingrays, up to ten seahorses.
  • Hello, Baby Beluga by Darrin Lunde. Hello to Baby Beluga, a whale that lives in the cold ocean. Fun facts and adorable illustrations of baby and mom. Tip: See beluga whales in Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.
  • Touch and Feel Jungle Animals by DK Publishing. Pet the jaguar’s fur, touch a bright green frog, feel a snake, tickle the hairy orangutan, touch the toucan’s bright yellow bill. Perfect before a visit to the zoo.
  • In My Forest by Sarah Gillingham, Lorena Siminovich. In the forest, a baby deer watches the snowflakes fall on the trees. He eats acorns, plays with his forest friends and falls sleep, warm and snug with his family. Delightful forest scenes.
  • So Many Feet by Nicole Mara, Alexander Vidal. Animals have many different feet – “high feet” (mountain goat), “slow feet” (giant tortoise), “snow feet” (polar bear), “jumping feet” (kangaroo), “hanging feet” (sloth), “soft feet” (tiger), and more. Super illustrations, by the artist who created the forest mural in the California Academy of Sciences San Francisco.