10 Children’s Books to Inspire Travel in Your Homeschool

Homeschooling your children creates amazing memories and some of my favorite homeschool moments were those when my kids would join me on the couch for a great family read aloud. Not only did we bond over great literature, some of the books we read enticed us to take our schooling on the road and visit the places mentioned in the books.

Here are ten children’s books to read to your children that may inspire travel in your homeschool. And I guarantee you haven’t heard of all of them.

Reading Misty of Chincoteague inspired my homeschool family to travel to the Eastern Shore to see the Wild Ponies of Chincoteague

1. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry

Chincoteague, a small town on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, was made popular by Marguerite Henry’s book, Misty of Chincoteague. The book is based on the true story of the Beebe family who raise a filly sired by a wild pony. The book was turned into a film in 1961, propelling the small fishing town forward as a tourist destination.

The Chincoteague Pony Center offers guests a chance to interact with Chincoteague ponies, take a pony ride and view the Memories of Misty Museum which contains memorabilia from the movie. A herd of wild ponies may also be found on the grounds of the Assateague Island National Seashore just outside Chincoteague.

2. The Watson’s Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis

This heart-warming, and sometimes heart-breaking, historical fiction book tells the story of the African-American Watson family, who travel from their home in Michigan to the deep south during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

The book provides an introduction to that ugly era in American history. Follow-up with a homeschool field trip to Alabama and tour the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, visit the 16th Street Baptist Church and continue to Montgomery where you’ll find the Civil Rights Memorial and Center, the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church and the Rosa Parks Library and Museum.

Reading Across Five Aprils enhanced my homeschool families visit to Chickamauga National Battlefield in Tennessee

3. Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt

This Newbury Honor book, tells the story of a family and town split during the Civil War. With members enlisted in both the Union and Confederate armies, tensions flare and the main character, young Jethro, reaches out to President Lincoln.

This story mentions several battles and campaigns including those at Fort Sumter, Shiloh, Bull Run, Corinth, Gettysburg, Vicksburg and Chickamauga. Each of these historic sites and battlefields can be visited today.

4. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I grew up on the Little House on the Prairie series, which became one of the first chapter book series I read to my children. These classic books offer a look at pioneer and frontier life. Fans of the collection can travel to Mansfield, Missouri to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum, to Walnut Grove, Minnesota to see the family dugout, or to the Ingalls Homestead in De Smet, South Dakota.

Visiting the Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri

5. Dear America, Voyage on the Great Titanic by Ellen Emerson White

Learn about the tragedy of the Titanic through the eyes of a fictional passenger, Margaret. The 13-year old orphan is traveling to New York City as a companion to a wealthy American, Mrs. Carstairs, hoping to be reunited with her brother when the horrific event occurred.

This book is a great introduction to a visit to The Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri or Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The hands-on galleries and exhibits offer a solemn look at one of the greatest maritime disasters in history.

6. Six-Million Paper Clips the Making of a Children’s Holocaust Memorial by Peter W. Schroeder

How do you teach children to understand the enormity of those murdered during the Holocaust? That’s the question one school in Whitwell, Tennessee asked themselves. The answer? Paper clips. Six million paper clips.

You can visit the town of Whitwell and learn about this project that has grown from a shoebox full of office supplies to a touching exhibit housed in a train car from Germany.

A Visit to the Coon Dog Cemetery inspired by reading Where a Red Fern Grows

7. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

When I heard of the Alabama Coon Dog Cemetery, I knew I needed to read Where the Red Fern Grows with my children before we visited.

What better way to describe the bond between a coon dog and its owner than through a story? Keep in mind that this book is a tear jerker.

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

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is the setting for the story of two children who run away- to live in the museum. While there, they discover a mystery about one of the pieces of art, an angel statue, rumored to be carved by famed artist, Michelangelo.

The museum has put together a guide for families that visit the museum and though a lot has changed since the book was written, you’ll discover many similar pieces to those described by Claudia and her brother, Jack.

9. Dear America: I Thought my Soul would Rise and Fly by Joyce Hanson

Slavery is a difficult topic to discuss with your children. I’m not even sure that I fully grasp the horrors that word entails. I thought my Soul would Rise and Fly is told through the voice of a freed slave girl, Patsy.

This book can tie-in to a trip to many Civil War, Civil Rights or Underground Railroad locations like the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio where visitors learn first-hand what it was like to escape slavery.

10. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

My family has read, watched and listened to many versions of this timeless Christmas tale, but there’s nothing like traveling back in time to the Dickens Victorian Village to really immerse you in the past. The small town of Cambridge, Ohio is transformed each November into a winter wonderland as Dickens’ characters line the sidewalks in snowy streetscapes.

The Dickens Victorian Village Welcome Center provides costumes for guests to dress up and get photographed with Charles Dickens in front of a map of England. One visit and it may become a holiday tradition to enjoy with your children for years to come.

Have you ever traveled to a destination because of a book you read? 

What do you think?