Around the World in AR Books

By Kerry McGuire, Editor

This summer’s travel plans might be a little different this year. Due to uncertainties following the pandemic, many of us are finding ourselves at home instead of on sandy beaches.

Fear not! With the following books chosen by the Accelerated Reader Content team, you and your family can travel around the world, from the Caribbean to the Arctic. All without leaving the comfort of your sofa or garden deck chair!

Check out the handy list of quiz details at the end when you’re ready to take the quiz!

Lower Years

The first stop on our around-the-world tour is to Ireland with Carol Ann Treacy’s picture book Barney Goose: A Wild Atlantic Way Adventure. Barney starts off living with a lighthouse keeper in West Cork. When Spring arrives, he has the urge to fly away. Children can follow Barney on his journey and see the picturesque stop-offs he makes on his long trip to Donegal.

With my Irish roots, I couldn’t not pick this book! The illustrations give Barney a lot of character. So many parts of Ireland and their wildlife are shown.

Sarah’s choice was the Raintree non-fiction series, A Benjamin Blog and His Inquisitive Dog Guide. She said the series is  “a great way for kids to experience the wonders of the world whilst staying at home during their school holidays.” There are 26 Benjamin Blog titles on AR. Each one covers a country from around the world.

Sarah liked how the books “mix fictional characters – in the form of intrepid explorer Benjamin and his trusty dog, Barko Polo – with non-fiction information on the most famous landmarks each country has to offer. Entertaining, educational and ideal to use as a guide for choosing which foreign destinations to travel to at a future time!”

Middle Years

Krista loves how Tracey Baptiste’s Jumbies series is full of inspiration from Haitian folklore. She asked, “Who wouldn’t love to be relaxing on a Caribbean island right now? Well, maybe not during hurricane season, but we can certainly still dream of warm sands and blue waters!” For anyone who wants to escape to the island, there’s “danger and magic – all with a resourceful main character at its core. The perfect summer read.”

Middle Years Plus

Next up, pack your thermals, because Laura is taking us to Alaska with her pick, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s The Smell of Other People’s Houses. I loved this Carnegie-shortlisted debut novel, which reads like a collection of short stories – but also as one continuing story. Open it, and you will be transported to 1970s Alaska, where you will be immersed in the culture of the time – experiencing the blend of modern and more traditional ways of life. The book is beautifully and nostalgically written and will leave you moved by the experience of reading it. It is certainly one that has stayed with me!”

Upper Years

It wouldn’t be a blog from the Content team if there were no macabre titles involved!  Peter has chosen one of his favourite Poirot stories, Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, which he says “combines a murder mystery with travel and, for us, an insight into a bygone era. Perfect for those hot summer days!”  A holiday in Egypt. An idyllic cruise down the Nile on a paddle steamer. What could go wrong? Well, it’s Agatha Christie, so plenty!

This year marks the 100th anniversary since the publication of Christie’s first novel, which introduced the world to Hercule Poirot. Peter says that “there are many reasons why her detectives and their cases continue to grip readers everywhere, but chief amongst them is her ability to pull the rug out from under your feet at the last moment – I’ve lost track of how many times I think I’ve guessed the killer only to be proven wrong!”

Next, we’re packing our bags and setting off for Rhodes to follow the mystery of Christina’s Face by Penny Kendal. This title particularly resonated with Cecelia who said, “There’s nothing like a mystery in an exotic location for a summer read.” While holidaying in Rhodes, Rachel keeps being mistaken for a missing girl, Christina.  Intrigued, she sets out to find out who the girl is and why she is missing. “You’ll be guessing right up to the end!”

The last stop off on our tour is back to another frosty setting with the much-loved character Lyra Belacqua. Lee loves the series His Dark Materials. He has picked the first book, which he describes as “a very gripping fantasy adventure involving ice-bears and witch-clans, that transports you to the northern-most parts of the world and beyond.”

Lee describes the story in which “Lyra and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among the scholars of Jordan College, Oxford.  She then bravely adventures to the Arctic to find her friend Roger when he goes missing”.

Where will you go next?

For your next adventure, try using the Advanced Search tool on AR BookFinder to narrow down your topic/subtopic choice by destination. There are thousands of titles to choose from under the topics Countries or Continents!

Please get in touch via Twitter or Facebook to let us know where your books are taking you this summer – and happy quizzing!

Quiz information

A Benjamin Blog and His Inquisitive Dog Guide series of 26 books by Anita Ganeri
LY | BL 4.3 – 5.0 | Raintree

Barney Goose: A Wild Atlantic Way Adventure by Carol Ann Treacy
LY | BL 3.6 | # 238390 | O’Brien Press Ltd

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
MY | BL 4.6 | # 238612 | Algonquin

Rise of the Jumbies | BL 4.5 | # 238616
The Jumbie God’s Revenge | BL 4.9 | # 238617

The Smell of Other People’s Houses By Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
MY+ | BL 5.7 | # 231202 | Faber and Faber

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
UY | BL 5.9 | # 236060 | HarperCollins

Christina’s Face by Penny Kendal
UY | BL 4.6 | # 207625 | Andersen Press

Northern Lights / The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
UY | BL 6.2 | # 200740 | Scholastic, Inc

Kerry McGuire

Posted on 14 August 2020 at 10:09 am
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