5 Reasons to Take a Literary Vacation with Children
A literary vacation is an entire trip based around a book, series or author. Maybe it’s Northern California and you are visiting Jack London Ranch or perhaps you’re on the hunt for Harry’s Diagon alley and platform 9 3/4 in London, literary vacations are a way to bring the pages to life, to see and touch the same things as our beloved characters and the marvelous authors who introduced us to them. While it might be fun for us adults to dine in the Plaza Hotel and wander Central Park there are some added bonuses for the little girl channeling her inner Eloise.
The first and most obvious reason to take your child on a literary vacation is the fact that it will encourage reading. The length of a Harry Potter novel may seem daunting to our pre-teen but knowing that they will soon be standing in Kings Cross Station hunting for platform 9 3/4 will be a great motivator to jump inside the pages of a book. And maybe your younger readers don’t have the patience to sit still and read a book but being read Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry while on a road trip through Arizona might be just the thing your primary school student needs to get bit by the reading bug.
Children live in very small worlds without the pressures of the internet and the nightly news, as it should be, but because of this anything outside of their own environment doesn’t seem real but a vacation to the location of a where a true story took place can open their eyes to history, science and cultures. A Laura Ingalls Wilder story is only a story until you roll into Desmet South Dakota and visit the land Laura grew up on and wrote about then it becomes history. A love of marine biology might be sparked by a trip to the San Francisco Bay in California if you read the true story of Humphrey the Lost Whale who swam in the bay in the fall of 1985 and went the wrong way up the fresh water Sacramento River and had to be saved.
An older child will better grasp the events of WWII with a trip to the Anne Frank house and The American Revolution will become far more relatable to a child when seen from the eye’s of Felicity an American Girl character who lived in Williamsburg Virginia in 1774 and even more so when they walk the streets of Williamsburg and can relate what they see to what they have read.
One of the reasons that reading is so vital to children is that is fuels their imagination which from there leads to problem solving skills as an adult. Taking your children along the German Fairy Tale Road will put them smack dab in the middle of the place that inspired and gave birth to classic fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm. Here they can imagine that they are Hansel and Grettal escaping an evil witch or maybe it’s trolls that are after them and they are in a different tale altogether. Even better though is perhaps in a moment of sightseeing down time they place that inspired Sleeping Beauty will inspire a new fairy tale of their own.
A literary vacation doesn’t only have to be to locations that are in books but could also be to the home of the author. A trip to the childhood home of a beloved author will open a child’s eyes to the fact that this grown up that they admire was once a child just like them. This knowledge can inspire them to follow their dreams and encourage them that it is possible to someday be someone that other people admire and respect. A trip to Mark Twain’s boyhood home is a two in one as it reminds kids that even Mark Twain was a kid once and it also brings the world of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawer and Becky Thatcher to life. Then again that world is Mark Twain's as well.
A literary vacation is just plain fun. There are rarely lines like there are at theme parks, and even if they are you have a book to read while you wait. Children are actively engaged and learning (shh, don’t tell them that though) and unique and special memories are being made that will be treasured long after other’s photos of Micky are beginning to fade. (not that I have anything against Micky though.)