Travel the world this summer (even if you can’t afford the plane tickets)
Having a British husband comes with perks, let me tell ya. There’s the accent, the tea, the extended family, and the need to travel regularly to visit them!
The first time we took our whole family to England in 2012, my kids were nine, eight, and seven. We went again last year, and we’re saving up now to go back in 2018.
We’ve craned our necks upward looking at York Minster and Big Ben, floated down the Thames and under Tower Bridge, toured Beatrix Potter’s house in the Lake District, and kept our eyes peeled for Merry Men while exploring the real Sherwood Forest.
It sounds kind of glamorous, doesn’t it?
But it wasn’t always that way. Back in the day as a young mom, I had a four-, three-, and two-year-old. Three children with less than two years separating them in age has some advantages, but at that time I didn’t know what they were!
I do recall lovely, sloppy kisses, lots of crying (from both me and kids), toddler giggles, sleep deprivation, and the urgent need to bring a sense of peace to the four walls we lived within.
I wasn’t thinking about the next global excursion we would take, that I can assure you. We had money to live on, but that was about it, and a bad airplane experience (cue the nonstop screaming) with my two infant boys flying from Texas to North Carolina left me anything but eager to sign up for that again!
Yet I needed to find some way to explore the world. Why?
Well, those three gorgeous children of mine hail from three separate continents:
- my biological son, Jonathan, born in Texas;
- my son Elijah, adopted as an infant from Liberia, West Africa; and
- my daughter Trishna, who joined our family at the age of four from India.
Add my husband Steve and me to the picture and that makes five people from four countries. As survival mode faded away and the kids became a little older, I felt an urgency to incorporate the cultures of the world into our home, since God had literally knit our family together from the ends of the earth.
And I found a cheap and mostly stress-free way to do it: books.
It started with Children Just Like Me: A Unique Celebration of Children Around the World. I remember my littles flipping through its colorful pages, looking at children just like them!
Later we went through a season where I read one or two pages aloud every day, discovering with each one turned a new family somewhere in the world. We needed more of that in our lives, which sent me on a library hunt like no other.
Along the way we stumbled upon more treasured titles, and used our imaginations to set foot in foreign lands, even when our wallets couldn’t afford the trip.
A few of my favorites:
- Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke (Africa)
- Biblioburro: A True Story by Jeanette Winter (Colombia)
- Elizabeth: Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox (New Zealand)
- The Journey that Saved Curious George by Louise W. Borden (France)
- Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski (Everywhere!)
And that’s how I began researching and writing a resource we all can use to do the same: Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time.
More than just a book to read once and return to the shelf, this is a title you can use with your children all the way from ages 4 to 12!
It’s a reading treasury including over 600 of the best kids’ book recommendations from around the world, featuring carefully curated reading lists organized by region, country, and age range.
One of my childhood heroes, LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow fame, has called Give Your Child the World, “an invaluable resource for any and everyone who has children in their lives!”
So this summer, your library card can be your passport no matter how full (or empty) your bank account is.
The book released earlier this month, and I thought the best way to celebrate would be to invite you and yours on a trip around the world!
Summer kicks off with a bang for children, doesn’t it? But after a few weeks of sun and unstructured time the whiny refrains begin: “I’m bored!”
That’s why my friend Sarah Mackenzie of the Read-Aloud Revival and I have teamed up to create Read the World Summer Book Club! An online summer book club to keep your kids (& whole family) engaged, interested, and learning. Each week for eight weeks we’ll be using global books to travel the world!
There will be activities to choose from (simple ones, don’t worry), videos to watch, global families and kids to meet, free downloads to print off and use, and amazing prizes to win–head here for all the details about how to get involved! (And just to clarify: You don’t have to homeschool to join in.)
We’ll be kicking the club off officially on Monday, June 27th, and with Give Your Child the World in hand you’ll be set all summer long to choose the books that interest you and yours most. I’ve done the hard work so you can get to the fun part: exploring the globe page by page. I hope you’ll join us!
A note from Tsh:
As you might guess, I love the premise of Jamie’s new book. In fact, I love it so much I wrote the foreword! I’m honored to help release my friend’s fabulous mission to the world. Here’s a snippet from my foreword:
“…But the truth is, as much as our clan loves to leave our front door and travel, most of our days are spent on the couch in our living room and the grass in our backyard. Library trips, grocery runs, and karate practice are much more likely to be a part of our days than a trip to Zambia—love that journey as we may.
“Books are the answer to our wanderlust. From the moment we crack open the cover, a book transports us to worlds exotic and unknown. We breathe in the glory of different colors, landscapes, and cultural mores, all brought to us from a just-right story. Books are like passports as the real thing—but so much cheaper to use.”
Jamie wants to give FIVE Art of Simple readers a copy of her new book! To enter a chance to win, leave a comment on this post, below. For fun, answer this question: Which country would you travel to next, if you could go anywhere in the world?
We’ll draw the winners soon!
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You’ll also get an excerpt from her latest book, At Home in the World, a memoir about the school year her family backpacked around the world.