One of the ways we love to prepare our kids for travel or teach them about other countries and cultures is through our evening storytime routine. Reading a children's travel book about London, like the Paddington Bear series, before our trip helps them make connections on our trips. We also love to do this before holidays, like Christmas, to get them excited for the upcoming occasion.
Speaking of Christmas, one of the coolest things about Santa is that he travels around the world. So when I discovered “Where Would Santa Go?”, a book that combines Santa's travels with teaching kids about other countries, I knew it was a perfect book to share with my travel-loving kids.
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Written by Julia Inserro and illustrated by Natalie Merheb, this adorable story follows siblings Lucy and Max as they anxiously await Santa's visit on Christmas Eve. In their letter to Santa, they tell him how they want to travel the world. Since Santa gets to see the world, they ask him for advice on where they should go first.
Santa then visits the pair and invites them to travel with him to some of his favorite locations around the world. Simple to follow, but well-written, the story takes readers to several locations near and far, some of which they may have never heard. Countries visited include places in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the South Pacific, and even the United States.
My seven-year-old twins had a hard time keeping their hands off “Where Would Santa Go?”. For starters, the story is very interesting to them. They love learning about counties and cultures around the world.
Santa takes Lucy and Max to see something special in each country, and through these visits, kids learn something unique to each country. In Germany they see castles, in Morocco, they visit an open-air market, and in Costa Rica, they discover the rain forest.
Through Lucy and Max's interactions with Santa, each country visited teaches the kids something new. My son also noted how Santa's, Lucy's, and Max's clothes change to reflect each new location, a comment that sparked a conversation about the weather around the world.
The book has a good amount of text, but not so much to be daunting. The story allows readers to spend a moment in each country, and just the right amount of time so that younger kids can remain engaged.
The gorgeous illustrations are also finely detailed, colorful, and mesmerizing for young readers. There is a lot to look for on each and every page.
One of the things I appreciate about “Where Would Santa Go?” is how Santa takes Lucy and Max to countries my kids may be unfamiliar with. In doing so, they really learn something special and different. The book also teaches readers a few words in the languages of the countries they visit, such as “empanadas”, when Max notices a delicious smell in Argentina.
In other locations, Santa tells Max and Lucy about the animals or something about the landscape. They even learn about cultural celebrations unique to the country, such as the festival called “Holi” in Nepal.
Equally as important to me is the enthusiasm and excitement with which Lucy and Max greet each new location, celebration, and experience. As they embrace each experience, it sparked excitement in my own kids to learn about each location.
I also appreciate that “Where Would Santa Go?” focuses less about getting gifts from Santa, and more about receiving experiences. This message resonates with me because I am a believer that experiences are so much more important than things. And, the way this story is told, Max's Christmas wish comes true, as visiting these countries and learning new things is Santa's gift to Max and Lucy. It's a message I can truly get behind.
“Where Would Santa Go?” would be a great book to put into the nighttime reading routine in the days leading up to Christmas or as a gift for Christmas. We took some time to pull out my kids' Little Passports map from their Little Passports World Edition Subscription Box and find the locations Santa visits on the map. For some of the countries where we had more information from this box, like Japan, we could revisit more about that country.
It also sparks great conversations about the other countries Santa visits in the book and the celebrations in those countries. For example, we talked about:
“Where Would Santa Go?” is a wonderful new book for your kids to enjoy this holiday season. Though it is a picture book, which would suggest it is for a younger audience ages 9 and under, it is a delightful read perfect for kids of all ages. More than being a Christmas book, it is a wonderful way to introduce kids to other countries and cultures around the world and inspire their curiosity and wanderlust.
Whether for a gift or for your own collection, check out this excellent post of a collection of the Best Christmas Books For Preschoolers.
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