Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

Theme: Unusual Travel Adventures

52 Days by Camel: My Sahara Adventure - (ISBN: 978-1554511365)

by Lawrie Raskin

Ride along with the author as he travels through North Africa in a jeep, truck, bus, train, and even on a camel. Timbuktu, Mali was supposed to be reachable in 52 days if one was traveling exclusively by camel, but Mr. Raskin travels leisurely, picking up lots of information tidbits, cultural insights, and funny stories as he plods along, using whatever travel method works best. Which would you like to try?

Mary Poppins - (ISBN: 978-0152058104)

by P.L. Travers

Mary Poppins travels to her new job, being a nanny to the Banks children, by umbrella! Her other unusual methods of transporting include sliding up banisters and enabling the children to float so they can experience an English tea on the ceiling! Laugh, dance, and sing along with Mary and the Banks crew!

Paddle-to-the-Sea - (ISBN: 0395150825)

by Holling Clancy Holling

A small replica of a canoe, carved by its proud owner, takes a fabulous journey through the waters of the great lakes. The owner gives the canoe a name, Paddle-to-the-Sea, and you can follow the journey and adventures not only while reading but also while examining the marvelous pictures. Have you ever made a canoe or paper airplane? Try to imagine what your creation would say if it could write its own book.

Simon Sez: International Traveling Kid - (ISBN: 978-1105203329)

by Andrea Wetzel

Enjoy Simon’s hysterical narrative style as he describes his family life, and better yet, his travels by all sorts of modes. Especially interesting is his trip by hot air balloon! Which leg of his voyage did you enjoy the most? If you liked this humorous book, try others in the series.

When Jessie Came Across the Sea - (ISBN: 978-0763612740)

by Amy Hest

Jessie’s voyage alone across the ocean, after she leaves behind her poverty-stricken life with her grandmother, reveals a lot about many immigrants’ journeys to the U.S. Although she is only 13, she sets out after a rabbi gives her a ticket to a new life. Onboard ship she makes friends with a shoemaker. Her lifelong friendship with him and her determination to become a dressmaker like her grandmother allows her to save enough to purchase a ticket for her grandmother to make the voyage too. What personal qualities does Jessie have that enable her to survive the lonely, difficult trip and also make a life in a new culture?

Black Star, Bright Dawn - (ISBN: 978-0547053196)

by Scott O’Dell

Journey Into the Arctic - (ISBN: 978-0195220049)

by Bryan Alexander

My Librarian is a Camel - (ISBN: 978-1590780930)

by Margaret Ruurs

Simon Sez: The Future or Bust - (ISBN: 978-1479728800)

by James Haworth

The Twenty-One Balloons - (ISBN: 978-0142403303)

by William Pene du Bois

Activities for this Theme

Make a magnetic tangram travel puzzle.


Watch this easy-to-follow video and make your own hot air balloon.


Enjoy reading a very different poem:


Make hot air balloon decorations.


Challenge your friends to an egg drop competition using some of the ideas found at this site. Do you have some ideas of your own? Try them out and see what happens!