Travel the World in Books with 4th Graders

Does your pioneering preteen know more countries and capitals than you do? Does it seem like they’ve even “visited” all seven continents through books, documentaries, and globe-trotting media? Is their list of “Places I Want To See” called everywhere?

With literature, you can give them a round-the-world ticket without having to book a flight.

Books can teleport your child across the globe, recreating the smell of sizzling street food at a market in India or the chaotic enchantment of Marrakesh’s central square. For your travel bug, we’ve chosen a few of our favorite transportive books from Club Phoenix. 

Ready to see the world? Read on (no passport required).

The Explorer 

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Katherine Rundell, author of The Explorer, introduces us to Fred, Con, Lila, and Max, four kids who have just been thrown into the biggest game of hide-and-seek they’ve ever seen. Stranded in the Brazilian Amazon after a plane crash, they are now tasked with finding their way back to civilization. 

Traveling can teach us a thing or two about how best to share the planet with the people who live here. But let’s not forget about the lessons to be gained from our non-human pals, too. In this tale of survival, readers will learn what it means to take a piece of the natural world with them while also leaving it just as it was before. 

Ask your readers about:

  • What insect they would eat if they really had to
  • A nearby natural space they would be curious to explore—and how they might devise a plan to protect it 


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Priyanka is an inquisitive Indian-American girl who often clashes with her mother, a woman whose lips remain tightly sealed regarding matters of family history. Pri goes looking for answers to the questions her mother avoids with the help of a magical pashmina, transporting herself to the India she’s always wanted to discover.

This graphic novel will be a match made in doodling heaven for any middle-grade reader curious about making the shift from fantasy to magical realism. From the challenges of juggling two cultures to the empowerment of self-discovery, Author Nidhi Chanani fills the pages with a vibrancy that only the colors of a pashmina can match. 

Ask your readers about:

  • What illustrations they would include in a graphic novel about their own cultural heritage
  • How to say hello in Hindi 
  • How life might look different for girls in India

George’s Secret Key to the Universe 

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Why limit traveling to one planet when there are seven others to explore? Not to mention more than 200 moons!

If you’re anything like us, your list of fun facts about the solar system is shorter than you’d like to admit. And it certainly doesn’t stand a chance against your preteen reader, whose list of questions is growing at a faster rate than they are. 

That’s why we’ve called in the experts: renowned physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter, Lucy. Travel through space with young George, his neighbors, Eric and Annie, and their computer companion, Cosmos. George’s Secret Key to the Universe masterfully blends fantasy and scientific accuracy for a book that is equally as entertaining as it is informative. 

Ask your readers about:

  • How much they think George’s pet pig would weigh on Mars.
  • What was the most amazing fact they learned from George’s adventures.  
  • Which of their siblings would they throw into a black hole first

(Just kidding! Let’s just toss in our least favorite vegetables instead.)

Wander the World with Club Phoenix 

Literati Kids book subscriptions don’t come with a plane ticket, but they can help your adventuresome adolescent build the tools they need to grow into a culturally agile adult. Every month, each Literati book box comes with five hand-picked books, art, and some fun literary surprises like bookmarks, posters, and more! 

Go forth, travelers! Book your tickets to literary adventure with Literati’s Club Phoenix.


NASA. Moons.

Simon & Schuster. George’s Secret Key to the Universe.

The New York Times. A Novel Set in the Amazon, Harking Back to Classic Survival Stories.

The New York Times. Can India Be Her Homeland, Even if She’s Never Been There?.

On Key

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