What’s on my travel bookshelf? There’s probably more travel books than one woman should own, but I swear I read them all the time. Though, there’s some books that are definitely more thumbed-through than the others. Fun with the Family Northern California, by Karen Misurca, is the book I most use from my collection. It’s been a great investment, because of how often I travel in my home region of northern California. In fact, I just took it off the bookshelf to plan my upcoming Memorial Day weekend trip.
The book is very detailed, because it only covers northern California. It’s broken up into twelve regional chapters: from Redwood Country and Shasta Cascade, to the Central Coast and High Sierra South. The central coast is the one region of California that’s most hard to categorize. If you’re traveling as far south as Big Sur, then this book will help you plan your trip. If you’re traveling further south to Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara, then you’ll need to pick up the Fun With the Family Southern California edition.
You’ll find that pretty much every family-friendly attraction in northern California is reviewed in this book. The author also includes a few restaurant and lodging choices. I like that there’s also small sections devoted to specific topics in each region, such as the section “Underground Adventures” that lists the caverns in Gold Country. There’s also some “Top Ten” lists that highlight the more popular attractions in certain cities or regions.
As a teacher, I’m surrounded by children’s books. They literally fall at my feet every day (luckily, I haven’t had one land on my head…yet). So I figure I’ll share my children’s book wisdom, and review any excellent books I come across. My focus will be geography, culture, and anything related to western states.
I recently came across the book Our California by Pam Muñoz Ryan at a local bookstore. The first thing that caught my eye was the fact that they had the same title in spanish: Nuestra California. I’m always excited to find a great book that’s also translated into spanish.
Our California is appropriate for kids from age 3 to 10. It covers all the geographical areas of California, and the map on the first page makes it accessible for even the youngest kids. The book takes kids on a journey to fourteen different cities and regions in California: from San Diego to Sonoma, to Yosemite to Death Valley. The last seven pages include facts about each place, which would be more suitable for older kids.
The poems on each page are brief, but descriptive enough to give kids a sense of each place. What really makes this book so outstanding, is how the illustrator, Rafael López, makes the narration come alive with his bright, Latino-inspired drawings. The author and illustrator both bring out the colorful, multicultural history of California. I appreciate any book that is so true to the essence of a place.
I would recommend this book to any California kid who needs to brush up on the geography and history of their state (I’m looking at you third and fourth graders!). Our California is also a terrific book for families who are making a visit to the Golden State.
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