In "Driving Across Missouri: A Guide to I-70" we wrote about what travelers can see beyond the billboards. In "Traveling Through Illinois: Stories of I-55 Landmarks & Landscapes Between Chicago & St. Louis" we found stories among the cornstalks. Follow us as we share stories found alongside the roads we travel in the U.S. and around the world.
"The real voyage of Discovery lies not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes" - Marcel Proust
Talk of approaching summer day trips and vacations
inspired my nine-year-old daughter and me to read Amelia Hits the Road by Marissa Moss. Moss has a whole series
about ten-year-old Amelia. Reading the book is like holding Amelia’s journal in
your hand. I love epistolary novels (books
written in letter or diary/journal form.)
exploits reminded us of our road trips and trips that I took as a little girl
with my family. My brother and I often played the license plate game just as
Amelia did with her sister:
been playing the license plate game for hours (or decades!). By the time we get
to the Grand Canyon, I bet I’ll see all the
Like Amelia, I also bought a handmade Indian doll when
I visited the Grand Canyon when I was nine years old. I remember how cool it
was to pull off the highway to this dusty little roadside stand and purchase it
from the Native Americans that made it.
One of our favorite parts in the book was when Amelia’s
family started seeing the first of many billboards advertising the “Mysterious
1.Mysterious Place—30 miles
ahead—Stop and Experience the Mystery!
Parents are happy that
the billboards will stall the kids from saying they’re bored for the next half
hour, but fear the exit they will pass as the kids point and whine from the
2.Mysterious Place—15 miles to go to
this Unique and Amazing Sight
3.Mysterious Place—Just 5 miles
ahead—DON’T MISS THIS INCREDIBLE SIGHT
4.HERE IT IS!!
the Amazing, Incredible, Unique, Extraordinary MYSTERIOUS PLACE—DON’T DRIVE BY
OR YOU WILL REGRET IT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!
Do these billboards remind you of any you’ve passed
along the road? It reminded us of Wall Drug billboards in South Dakota and Bridal
Cave in the Ozarks. Of course, the kids in the book made the parents stop and
we saw next was so astounding I’m not sure I can write about it. The Mysterious
Place was—indescribable. At least, I can’t describe it, but Mom’s word for it
was “cheesy”—and she didn’t mean cheddar.
There are actually many children’s and young adult
books out there on the theme of road trips. I’m talking about novels and
stories, not puzzle books and such (although Mad Libs on the Road is pretty fun).
The littlest road warriors can share a road trip
with their favorite cartoon characters. Spongebob, Mickey Mouse, Arthur, and
the Berenstain Bears all have road trip adventures. Elmo’s Rockin’ Road Trip sounds like miles of fun (grin), and even
the Mystery Machine heads out on the highway in Scooby Doo and The Haunted Road Trip (seriously—I am not making
this up). And for the beginning reader, there is Fred and Ted’s(not Cable)
Road Trip by Peter Eastman.
Other road trip titles I found were the following:
& Bud’s Bumpy Ride: America’s First Cross-Country Auto Trip
by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff
Popularity Papers: Bk 4 The Rocky Road Trip of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie
Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow
Trip (Diary of a Teenage Girl: Bk 3 Chloe) by Melody
by Roger Eschbacher (a picture book)
Trip to the Parks by Michael DiLorenzo
Even celebrities have road trip stories for kids.
Henry Winkler, a.k.a “the Fonz” from Happy
Days has a book called Barfing in the
Backseat #12: How I Survived My Family Road Trip. Woody Guthrie's book spins a more positive attitude in the book that animates his children's song, Riding in My Car. The blend of illustrations and photographs along with movable parts and flaps make the book as lively as the song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frRcDMGdTWM
So on your road trips this summer, don't forget to pack some road-related reading for those little backseat drivers!