Reading a book to your child isn't just a way to relax and soothe them before bed — it can bring great comfort and motivation any time of day. Right now during a global emergency and pandemic quarantine, it feels more important than ever to choose adventurous children's books that will inspire your kid to explore, even if they're stuck in the house. Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there to choose from.
Adventurous children may be a little bit hard to handle, but there are plenty of benefits that go along with that sense of wonder and exploration: studies have found that children who explore and play in nature a lot end up as happier adults, and other research has found that parents who don't allow their children to be independent and take risks can end up hurting them emotionally and behavior-wise. While encouraging your children to get out there and do new things may seem a little scary to parents, it's essential for their growth and emotional well-being.
And in this current climate, these adventurous books can inspire any child to get out of their comfort zone just a little. Whether they're doing that in their backyard or the comfort of their own home, they'll find confidence and fun here.
1. 'From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler' by E.L. Konigsburg
Older kids will love this classic about running away from home. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is about a girl named Claudia Kincaid who decides to run away. She and her brother Jamie end up escaping their home and taking the train into Manhattan to move into the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While they're there, the museum begins showing a statue that might be a lost work of Michelangelo. The book will teach something to any child with a sense of adventure.
2. 'This Little Explorer' by Joan Holub and Daniel Roode
This Little Explorer is a colorful board book that helps your little one learn all about the most influential explorers who came before them. Through words and images, young kids can learn all about 10 of the most memorable pioneers from around the world. It's educational and fun, and will encourage them to try something new.
3. 'Wherever You Go' by Pat Zietlow Miller and Eliza Wheeler
This beautifully illustrated board book takes the reader on a journey with an adventurous rabbit and his animal friends. Wherever You Go is a fun escape through mountains, cities, and long, winding roads, as well as magical worlds that will inspire anyone to want to go out and explore.
4. 'The Girl Who Drank the Moon' by Kelly Barnhill
The Girl Who Drank The Moon is an award-winning bestseller that every young person should experience. It tells the magical story of the people of the Protectorate, who leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest to keep her away from their town. The only thing? That witch is actually very kind, and she rescues the babies and feeds them starlight. One year, she accidentally feeds a baby moonlight, so that baby becomes magical. When the witch's life is in danger, it's this magical child who has to come to the rescue.
5. 'The Runaway Bunny' by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
The Runaway Bunny is another classic. It's about a little bunny who just keeps running away from his mother during a game of hide-and-seek. No matter how much the bunny runs, the mother always finds him. Although it's about a rabbit with an adventurous spirit, it's also comforting for children who are yearning to explore, and shows them that their mother will always be there in the end.
6. 'The Wish Tree' by Kyo Maclear and Chris Turnham
The Wish Tree is a book about hope, exploring, and believing in yourself no matter what — three things you definitely want your child to learn more about. The story is about Charles, who wants to find a wish tree even though his brother and sister say it doesn't exist. He searches for one anyway, and ends up finding out that wishes can come true even in unbelievable ways. From the sweet story to the beautiful illustrations, this is one worth holding onto.
7. 'Where the Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak
Who doesn't love this highly acclaimed children's book? In Where the Wild Things Are, your child learns about Max's imaginary journey into the wild world he created in his head. It encourages kids to be creative, to think for themselves, and to just give in to that sense of wildness sometimes.
8. 'Where the Mountain Meets the Moon' by Grace Lin
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a fantasy book inspired by Chinese folklore, and an exciting story about a young girl named Minli. Her father constantly reads her old folktales, and feeling inspired by those stories, Minli decides to set off on a journey of her own to help change her family's fortune. Along the way, she meets many interesting characters and magical creatures (like a dragon). It's a beautiful story of faith, independence, and friendship.
9. 'We’re Going on a Bear Hunt' by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
We're Going on a Bear Hunt is a classic story of a family that journeys out on an adventure together. It's a cute rhyming story for babies, young kids, and beyond that makes you want to go out and do something exciting — and best of all, it's about family, too.
10. 'Amos and Boris' by William Steig
Award-winning Amos & Boris is the story of Amos the mouse and Boris the whale who have formed an unlikely friendship after Boris saves Amos. One day, in the future, Amos will need to return the favor. It's a simple yet wonderful story about friendship and helping others, even when it seems strange.
11. 'SkySisters' by Jan Bourdeau Waboose and Brian Deines
In this story, two Ojibway sisters make their way across the frozen country in order to get a glimpse of the SkySpirits' midnight dance (also known as the Northern Lights). Along the way, the girls need to learn to be silent, and through that they learn how rewarding stillness can be. SkySisters is full of beautiful illustrations, and it's a sweet story about family and the joy of seeing something new and amazing.
12. 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret' by Brian Selznick
The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a paperback for kids who are a little older, and it's definitely an exciting page-turner. The story is about Hugo, a clock-keeper, orphan, and thief who lives a secret life in the walls of a busy Paris train station. When he meets a strange girl and old man, his secrets are put in jeopardy and everything starts to unravel — and a huge adventure comes along as well.
13. 'Day Dreamers' by Emily Winfield Martin
Any child with a fierce imagination should read Day Dreamers, which encourages kids to let their minds run wild with magical day dreams. It's all about children thinking up and experiencing wonderful things, like playing in a tide pool or cloud-gazing. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is simple enough for younger children to understand.
14. 'Nim’s Island' by Wendy Orr
What could inspire an adventurous spirit more than a book about being alone on an island? Nim's Island is exactly that: it's about Nim (a modern-day Robinson Crusoe) who is left alone on an island with her iguana. Nim is self-sufficient and isn't afraid to be by herself, until she ends up being alone longer than she thought. She has to learn how to be more brave than she already is, and leans on friends along the way.
15. 'Journey' by Aaron Becker
Journey is a picture book with no words, but it's still a story about exploring. You follow along with a lonely girl who escapes from her bedroom through a magic door and into a world of wonder and danger. She creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet to take her through this world, and it ends up being the most exciting journey of her life.
16. 'And Away We Go!' by Migy England
This cute picture book brings you onto Mr. Fox's hot air balloon along with a bunch of other animals. And Away We Go! is a beautifully illustrated story about literally flying into an adventure.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.