Age-Appropriate Books for Travel

When it comes to travel, there is always going to be downtime. For parents, this might mean some extra time to get ahead on work or start planning the next leg of the trip. For kids, though, this part nearly always means boredom.

Oftentimes, parents will pack the car or carry-on bag to the brim with things to keep kids individually engaged for the whole trip. Sometimes this means tablets, other times it means handheld video game devices. The core of the problem is keeping kids occupied while parents deal with the frustrating and tedious parts of travel.

Tablets, television and videogames are great for long trips, but with enough time, the batteries can die. In addition, many parents are probably rightly concerned about the quality of content available on sites like YouTube and services like Netflix. When electronics are off the table, parents should look to books for kids.

In elementary school, kids can start reading accessible chapter books as soon as they find themselves able to focus for long enough without losing patience. If you aren’t sure which books fit which age groups, the good news is many books intended for younger readers will have grade and age recommendations on the front cover.

Kids reading outside together. Photo: Oleksandra Polishchuk |

Kids reading outside together. Photo: Oleksandra Polishchuk |

A good place to start looking for younger kids is for movies adapted to easy chapter books. Moana is just one recent movie the kids will be familiar with that received such a book. It seems like books of this variety are endless, and come in all flavors. If your kids like Star Wars, Barnes and Nobles outlines a few great options here.

As kids get a little older, they can begin to pick their own books. A trip to the library before a road trip can get everyone in the reading spirit when parents and children work to select appropriate books together.

Other series great for younger readers include The Boxcar Children, The Magic Treehouse, Geronimo Stilton and for kids with an inkling toward horror, Goosebumps.

As kids grow into teenagers, their options open considerably. Young adult favorites like Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games are great for all readers looking for a little immersion and adventure. A long flight or car ride is the perfect time to settle in with a book, whether you’re in elementary school or finishing college.