I’ve droned on and on about the importance of preparing kids for vacation, especially before a trip abroad where they are more apt to encounter new languages, foods, architecture, cultures, and social norms. I find one of the best ways to acquaint kids with what they are about to see and experience is by reading about it. Before my daughter’s first visit to the dentist, we read about it so she knew what to expect. Before her first baseball game, we read about it. Before her first day of school, we read about it. Get the idea? So what should you read before a family trip to Rome? Here are some ideas.
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10 Books to Read Before a Family Trip to Rome
- This is Rome by Miroslav Sasek – this old favorite picture book depicts all the major attractions in Rome and even describes some of the history and symbology of Rome (like what SPQR means). Even though my daughter is way past picture books, she still got something out of it because as I was talking about our itinerary and mentioned the Bocca della Vertita, she knew exactly what it was.
- Not For Parents: Rome: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know from Lonely Planet – this “Not for Parents” not-a-guide-book tells the story of Rome that not even parents know. My daughter took it quite seriously and hid the library book from me whenever she was reading it.
- G is for Gladiator: An Ancient Rome Alphabet by Debbie Shoulders – This A-Z picture book introduces children to the history of Ancient Rome, a great precursor to a visit to the Colosseum and Forum.
- The Coliseum Con by Geronimo Stilton – if graphic novels are more your kid’s thing, they might enjoy the popular Geronimo Stilton and his adventures in Rome.
- Vacation Under the Volcano by Mary Pope Osborne – a perfect intro to a side trip to Pompeii, this is part of the popular Magic Tree House series where Jack and Annie find themselves in Pompeii as Vesuvius begins to erupt.
- Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #14: Ancient Rome and Pompeii by Mary Pope Osborne – the non-fiction companion to Vacation Under the Volcano, this goes deeper into the history of Rome and Pompeii.
- Ancient Rome (DK Eyewitness Books) by Simon James – this popular nonfiction series offers facts in a very graphical format that is easy to digest.
- The Assassins of Rome (The Roman Mysteries) by Caroline Lawrence – if mysteries enthrall the kids in your house, check out the series of The Roman Mysteries.
- The Orchard Book of Roman Myths by Geraldine McCaughrean – 15 of the most popular Roman myths retold in a way that is appealing to young readers.
- Rome with Kids by J.M. Pasquesi – this guide book is for parents but enjoyable for kids too as each section suggestions things for kids to look for and fun facts about Rome. It gives an inside view to all the highlights of Rome with suggestions on where to stay and where to eat. Better than an average guidebook, this is truly geared toward family travel and what things are interesting to kids. It is a must read!
I hope you find this list useful and would love to hear about your plans for a family trip to Rome in the comments. If you are looking for a family-friendly hotel, try the Grand Hotel de la Minerve, the Internazionale Domus, or the Hotel Albergo Santa Chiara.
Header photo credit: Derek Key on Flickr via Creative Commons License. This image has been cropped for size.