The Wheelan family are my heroes. They quit their lives for nine months and traveled around the world on a gap year adventure. Not only were their experiences hilarious and exciting, but Charles Wheelan also details how they managed to make it happen along with the disastrous and wonderful parts of each leg of the trip. The trip included Charles, his wife, and their three teenage children. Now of course, a trip like this comes from a certain amount of privilege, and Wheelan does discuss this when explaining how they made their arrangements. They rented their home to relatives who also wanted an adventure in a different state. They found people willing to keep their family pets. The oldest daughter took a classic gap year before her first year of college, and the other two teens completed online school from various parts of the world. Wheelan and his wife take sabbaticals from their jobs in the academic world. They crafted a strict budget and stuck to it. The amount of planning this trip must have taken sends my head spinning but also excites me to another realm. I had daydreams about doing this before I read this book, and now it’s a full-on obsession. Wheelan is funny and presents as the typical embarrassing dad-joke kind of guy. His kids (like all teens) are equal parts bratty, intelligent, loving, sentimental, kind, and all-around great young people. Wheelan doesn’t shy away from sharing the tough parts about adventure travel. One of his daughters gets a flesh-eating bacterial infection. They get swindled in India. They lose two kids (temporarily) in Colombia. Wheelan’s banter with his kids is so familiar and made me smile over and over again. If you like travel, this book will stir your spirit.
Looking for a middle grade series full of adventure and treasure hunting? Although the 39 Clues is not my cup of tea, my girls, ages 8 and 11, absolutely love them and highly recommend them. If you don't have access to the print versions, look for digital copies in Libby by adding your local public library's digital collection or if in PA, set up a free account at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
One False Note by Gordon Korman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I really didn't think I could handle another one of these books, but my kids love them. As much as I dislike the characters and dialogue, I can appreciate the adventure. They forced me to listen to another one, and it was slightly more tolerable than the last. This time Amy and Dan Cahill travel with their au pair to Vienna and Venice to continue tracking the clues leading to their family's powerful secret. All of their adventurous locations revolve around the famed composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The interesting thing about this series is that each book is written by a different author. I was hoping they'd get bored with it, but they already begged to start number three. Clearly the series holds major appeal to the younger set.
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Travel All the Pages is inspired by my two loves - travel and reading, a combo I can't resist. Enjoy these little pairings.