Buvette Masthead

Kids books for a (fictional) summer holiday

Elsie Adamo

Who says that adults are the only ones that should get to escape out of Canberra with a good book?

Here are some reading suggestions, all with travel or international themes, for your little ones to keep them occupied over summer post-Christmas excitement.

Charlies Adventures…in Hawaii by Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern


3 – 6 years old

Written by local Canberran, Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern, this is the first instalment of a soon to be series, following Charlie’s adventures to different places around the globe. Her inspiration comes from encouraging children to learn and want to explore different parts of the world. In Hawaii, Charlie learns about Hawaiian traditions, language and values. The perfect summer read for your young ones craving some time at the beach.

The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke

Image: corneliafunke.wikia.com

Image: corneliafunke.wikia.com

9-12 years old

After running away from home, brothers Prosper and Bo join a group of children living on the streets of Venice led by Scipio, who calls himself ‘The Thief Lord’. Unfortunately, they’re also being tracked by a private detective hoping to find the boys and return them to their Aunt.

Filled with twists and turns, and a hint of magic, this book will take the kids on a journey through Venice.

Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein

wabi sabi

7 – 10 years old

Wabi Sabi is a cat living happily in Kyoto, Japan with her owner. One day visitors come and ask a simple question she had never thought about before, ‘where is your name from’? Her owner’s answer of “it’s a long story” doesn’t satisfy Wabi Sabi so off she starts on an adventure to discover the meaning of her name.

Based on Japanese philosophy, Wani Sabi is the idea of seeing beauty in simplicity, the ordinary and imperfections and the book is a charming story and exploration of Japanese culture.

Spin the Globe: The Incredible Adventures of Frederick von Wigglebottom by Edward Moldenhauer



Another series inspired by travel, The Incredible Adventures of Frederick von Wigglebottom has instalments from Morocco (Mysteries of Marrakech), Peru (Alpacas in the Andes), Norway (Fjords, Vikings and Reindeer) and even a local one – Dreamtime in Alice Springs. All adventure stories with an education twist as Frederick von Wigglebottom is shown new lands by two children from the area.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

Image: simonandschuster.com

Image: simonandschuster.com

10+ years

When suburban kid Claudia Kincaid chooses to run away from home, she does it to not run from somewhere, but to somewhere. In her words, ‘somewhere comfortable, beautiful and preferably, elegant’. Naturally, she runs away to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

After moving in, Claudia and her brother Jamie get caught up in the mystery of the Angel Statue that the museum had purchased for $250. Is it possible is was really created by Renaissance master Michelangelo? Equal parts culture, mystery and fun, this books is sure to get the kids eager to visit the Canberra’s museums soon after.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Image: snicket.wikia.com/wiki/A_Series_of_Unfortunate_Events

Image: snicket.wikia.com/wiki/A_Series_of_Unfortunate_Events

8-12 years old

While yes, ASOUE is not strictly travel themed, the series is full of adventure and I can’t pass up the opportunity to recommend these books. An old personal favourite of mine, the books are jammed packed with adventure, lessons, and yes, unfortunate events and are centred around three intelligent siblings Violet, Klaus and Sunny.

After losing their parents, the children are being tracked down by the evil Count Olaf intent of getting his hands on their sizable inheritance. Soon to be released as a Netflix series in January, get the kids reading them before they’re brought to life – not to mention that there are 13 books in the series. Entertainment for weeks!

Search for these titles at your local ACT Library here


Elsie Adamo

Elsie originally hails from South Australia but after almost five years in the Capital likes to consider herself now as a local. A student at ANU she keeps herself busy on campus with student societies and now interning at HerCanberra. Her great loves include sitcoms, podcasts, bookstores, cider, brunch and online shopping. More about the Author