'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Exploring the World Through a Book

Hello to readers in Bulgaria!

Our family loves to travel and when we lived in Beijing, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to do a lot of it. Since coming home, the travel bug has well and truly left its mark, and I'm so keen to jet off again, I haven't put the suitcases away yet.

Alas, work and school will put paid to that for a while, but what's to stop us from exploring the world from home via the pages of a book?

One of my fave little books is the pocket-sized DK A-Z Atlas which can take kids on a fact-finding mission in moments. There may not be tonnes of glossy pics, but for the information hound, it's priceless.

I recently noticed a large amount of visitors on my www.taniamccartney.blogspot.com website were coming from Bulgaria. Who'd have thought it? Australia, yes. USA, definitely. China, goes without saying. UK, absolutely. But Bulgaria comes in at number 5 for most visits. Like I said - who'd have thought?

So, intrigued, I pulled out my little A-Z atlas and learned a bit more about Bulgaria - and here is what I found...

  • the Republic of Bulgaria was formed in 1908
  • the capital is Sophia
  • the country lies to the west of the Black Sea
  • there are only 7.8 million people in Bulgaria
  • people there speak Bulgarian, Turkish, Romani and English!
  • the currency is the Lev
  • it has a well-developed wine-making industry
  • software development is one of its greatest strengths
  • there are lots of seaside resorts and ancient monasteries in Bulgaria
  • the people there like my blog!

Ahhh. The joys to be found in books.

I'm ashamed to say I didn't know much about Bulgaria until now... did you?

Look at this... how beautiful?

And this... gorgeous!

Amazing! Right, I'm off to adjust the travel list...

I LOVE to learn about places I don't know much about, and kids have an inherent desire to do the same. My kids love leafing through the pages of this little atlas and Ella is using it, as we speak, for a school talk she's designed on China.

Travel and an interest in other cultures cannot be underestimated as a way to improve intelligence, creativity, understanding, tolerance, diplomacy, drive, purpose and a sense of humanity in our children. I simply cannot wait for the moment we next set foot on foreign shores. My kids also can't wait.

Where do your kids want to travel? Have you asked them?

If you can't travel overseas soon, at least take your children on an exploration of the world via books or the internet. This is one of the reasons I wanted to make my book - Riley and the Sleeping Dragon - into a travelogue series for young kids. How important it is to take our children around the world, even if it's via the pages of a book.