Armchair Traveling Book Lists with - London, England

As always, the first place I turn for a book about a specific city, regardless of the age of the intended reader, is Miroslav Sasek and his This Is... series of picture books written in the 1950s and 1960s. This Is London takes the reader on a child's eye view of London. I love his crisp, colorful illustrations and the way he captures the movement and action of any city.

For an updated (and less wordy) version of Sasek's book, don't miss A Walk in London written and illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino. A mother and daughter walk through the city, with the daughter narrating.  Additional factoids are scattered about the pages. Rubbino has also written A Walk in New York.


Both Erica and I are big fans of Timothy Egan's Dodsworth books, set (so far) in New York, Paris, Rome and London. For my review of all four books, click here. For Erica's take, click here.

Of course, Madeline in London, by Ludwig Bemelmans leads the list!
The Shape Game by Anthony Browne is a fantastic story about a family's visit to a museum (based on the Tate Modern) and a game that leads to an greater appreciation of the art they are viewing.

The Little Princess. An illustrated adaptation of the classic by the wonderful Barbara McClinktock.
Paddington the Bear The original chapter book is written by Michael Bond, but there are also picture book adaptations.

Charlotte in London illustrated by the award winning Melissa Sweet, this is the third in a series of book about the child of American painters who travels from Giverny to Paris, then London and New York as the 19th century draws to a close. Although picture book in format, this series reads like a chapter book.
Otto the Book Bear Reviewed by Tanya, but as Erica says, 
"Otto the Book Bear, which is very light on the fact that it is London, but I like that it doesn't scream 'THIS IS LONDON, SEE THE SIGHTS.'"

(reviews at
Cornelia and the Audacious Escapade of the Somerset Sisters set in New York City, portions of this story take place in Paris, London and Morocco.

The Whispering House - a really great ghost story set in contemporary England with a ghost from the Victorian Era and a scene at the Midsummer's Fair. Review to come on June 25, 2012.

And, finally, a best friend of mine and fellow kid's book lover is spending the year in London studying Shakespeare and working on her master's. I asked her to poll her mates and find out what books they all read as kids. Here are the top three, which I plan to read and review this summer!

 David Almond's Skellig, published in the US in 2000, is an award winning book both here and across the pond. Almond recently published the prequel, My Name is Mina.

Philippa Pearce's Tom's Midnight Garden was published in 1957 and remains widely read and is considered a classic in the UK. When Tom's brother gets measles, he is sent to stay with an uncle and aunt who live in a small flat with no garden. Because he might be contagious, Tom is sequestered and lonely. One night he hears the grandfather clock strike 13 and when he goes to investigate he finds a small, sunlit garden and a girl named Hatty. This book has been adapted by the BBC into a made for television movie three times and as a cinematic release in 1999. Clive King's Stig of the Dump was published in 1963 and is also considered a classic. Stig is a caveman living in the dump in 20th century England when he is befriended by a boy and his sister. Stig of the Dump has also been made into a television show.

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