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  • disney

    When I was growing up, my family was always a “Disneyland family.” You know, some families take trips to Disney theme parks and some don’t – mine was always in the first category. In fact, some of my fondest family memories are from trips to Disney parks. Even as an adult, I have something of a reputation for being a Disney person – that may be because I have an Annual Pass to Disney World (yes, in Florida) even though it is 2,321 miles away from the Provo City Library. 

    I like to think that all of these trips over the years were training me for the day that a patron would walk into the Library and ask “we’re planning a trip to Disneyland. Do you have any books to help get our kids excited?” The answer, of course, was yes. Here are my five favorite recommendations, from the unofficial Disney Expert at the PCL, to anyone who has the same question. 

    1.28 Pocket Full of ColorsPOCKET FULL OF COLORS: THE MAGICAL WORLD OF MARY BLAIR, DISNEY ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE
    By Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville
    Illustrated by Brigette Barrager
    (2017)

    This book is actually one of my favorite recent books, even for non-Disney fans. It is all about Mary Blair, the most famous Disney animator you’ve never heard of. In the 1950s she worked as a concept animator for films like Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Cinderella before leaving to work in advertising. She was then brought back by Walt Disney himself to design It’s a Small World. This  book is filled with lots of Disney goodness and will make even the most reluctant willing to board “the happiest cruise that ever sailed.” 

     

    1.28 Secrets of DisneylandSECRETS OF DISNEYLAND: WEIRD AND WONDERFUL FACTS ABOUT THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH
    By Dinah Williams
    (2013)

    When I was a kid visiting Disney, the best part was bugging my parents and older siblings with secret, hidden, little-known facts and tidbits I had collected (I was a youngest child who would grow up to be a librarian, what can I say?). This book is filled with all kinds of behind-the-scenes information that kids will be excited to share. If you’re headed to Florida instead of Anaheim there is also a Disney World version – SECRETS OF WALT DISNEY WORLD: WEIRD AND WONDERFUL FACTS ABOUT THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE ON EARTH

     

    1.28 Walts ImaginationWALT’S IMAGINATION: THE LIFE OF WALT DISNEY
    By Doreen Rappaport
    (2018)

    If you’re trying to get excited for a Disney trip, there is no better place to start than with the man himself. This new picture book biography explores the life of Walt Disney for young readers with beautiful illustrations featuring Walt, Mickey Mouse, and other familiar faces.   

     

    1.28 PiratesPIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
    By Xavier Atencio
    (2017)

    Let’s be honest, no Disney trip preparation is complete without a little Disney music. Pirates of the Caribbean is one of my favorite rides at Disneyland and this picture book captures the magic of the ride with original illustrations to accompany everyone’s favorite pirate song. 

     

    1.28 Keymasters QuestTHE KEYMASTER’S QUEST
    By Jason Lethcoe
    (2017)

    For older readers looking to get in on some pre (or post) Disneyland action, this adventurous series of Middle Grade novels is a good place to start. Set in the worlds of Disney’s Adventureland (The Enchanted Tiki Room, the Jungle Cruise, etc.) this book follows Andy Stanley as he ventures deep into the jungle to keep magical artifacts from falling into the wrong hands. It’s an adventurous story made better by some good puzzles and Disney magic.

     
  • Read to Travel

    Once again I’m back to talk about places I have traveled because of books that I have read—or places that I loved going to visit  because of the literature that was written there. Hannibal, Rome, London, and Concord have all made my list. Today I’m going to talk about my second favorite place(s) to go on vacation due to books I have read. And yes, if you noticed, this place is really two places. It would have been three  dream places if my time hadn’t been so short. 

    Bath & Chawton, England

    I know I already mentioned London earlier—and I still love that choice. But I seriously took two major detours when traveling in England for one author: Jane Austen! So yes, London is amazing; however, Bath & Chawton—specifically Chawton—were places that I went specifically because of reading (and I was not disappointed!). 

    The only reason I went to Bath was because of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION (and if pressed possibly because of Northanger Abbey as well). Without Jane and her novels I probably wouldn’t have been persuaded to go visit Bath. And to be completely honest without this adaptation of the movie PERSUASION, I probably wouldn’t have recognized just how beautiful Bath is and wouldn’t have had such a desire to go and see where Anne Elliot lived and finally got her happily ever after. While in Bath we visited the Roman Baths and the Royal Crescent (yes, that one spot that every movie set in Bath uses because it is that beautiful). I swear Anne Elliot must have been just around the corner while we were there… 

    classic Bath

    Joella at the Roman Baths in Bath

    bath

    I couldn’t travel to Jane Austen country without actually going to Chawton, England—the place where the Jane Austen Museum is. It was here that Jane wrote and/or revised all six of her completed works: SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, MANSFIELD PARK, NORTHANGER ABBEY, EMMA, and PERSUASION. Not only that, but at the museum you can see the writing table where Jane wrote everything. The. Desk. Where. All. The. Things. Were. Written! Plus you can see Jane’s ring—the ring that lived on her finger! This is the vacation spot for all of you who wish to geek-out about all things Jane Austen! 

    chawton

    When walking around Bath or in the gardens at the Jane Austen Museum, I truly got a feel for what it might have been like for Jane Austen to live there and write there. These two locations had some of the most fan-girl-like moments to connect one to Jane Austen. It truly felt like I made some sort of pilgrimage to be in my favorite books written by my favorite author (and for a librarian who likes SO MANY books, this is quite the confession)!

     Jane Austen s writing table

    Joella at Jane Austen s House

    The only thing that would have made this literary vacation even better was if I could have gone up to see the Pemberley location from the 1995 movie version of Pride and Prejudice. That would have possibly sent this vacation to the very top of my read to travel list. Alas, with only so much time over the pond it didn’t happen…but there is always next time, eh? 

    Joella reading on a beach while traveling

    So there you have it, my penultimate literary vacation spot. Only one more left. Where do you think it will be? 

  • Read to Travel

    Hopefully you all aren’t tired of these random  vacation  posts yet! I have been talking about some of my favorite places to travel because of the books that are associated with them—or perhaps they have become some of my favorite books because of the places I have traveled…

    Either way, I have talked about Hannibal, Missouri; Rome, Italy; and London, England so far. Today I’m talking about another location that I had planned to visit for years, Concord, Massachusetts.

    3. Concord, Massachusetts, USA

    When I first went to Concord, Massachusetts, it felt like a dream come true! At that point I had just graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in English (note: this means I had read a lot of American literature, and I do mean A LOT). I had studied so many wonderful American authors, and was surprised that so many authors that I loved lived and wrote in Concord—and all at the same time! In fact, one of my final papers for one class was all about how every English major that studied American literature had to eventually go and visit Concord. 

    My absolute favorite place to visit in Concord (and the main reason why I wanted to travel there) was to visit the home of Louisa May Alcott. I loved visiting the place where Alcott wrote LITTLE WOMEN. And now whenever I reread anything about the March sisters, I can’t help but think of Orchard House in Concord. Such a beautiful setting that feels like Jo March must be around the corner writing everything all down. 

    Orchard House

    My second favorite place to visit in Concord is Walden Pond. Yup. That Walden Pond. The one made famous by Henry David Thoreau and his book WALDEN. I loved going and hiking around the pond (not just looking at the little replica cabin that mimics Thoreau’s simple living quarters, though that was fun too). But to actually get away from the parking lot and to just feel the peacefulness of nature—it was a happy moment. 

    Another place that felt like I was stepping into a book was at the Ralph Waldo Emerson House. I studied so many Emerson essays (again, I was an English major) that I felt like going to his home was adding another layer to why Emerson wrote what he wrote. Then there is a trip to The Old Manse (where Emerson wrote his first draft of Nature and where Nathaniel Hawthorne—yes that Nathanial Hawthorne—lived). Plus there is also the idea that The Old Manse looks at the Old North Bridge, the bridge that was mentioned in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride." 

    Man—who knew there was so much literature to “visit” when planning a vacation to Concord, Massachusetts? Well, my English professors did, which is why they inspired me to actually plan a trip out to the East Coast—just so I could take in all the settings of so many books I love. 

    I have two more spots left—favorites vacations where I traveled to because of the books I have read. Yup, these two places were solely vacations planned based on beloved books. Keep reading to find out where they are!

  • Read to Travel

    So here is the thing, I like to read AND I like to travel. And it is a sweet spot when both things happen at the same time (meaning, sometimes I pick where I travel based on a book I read or sometimes I read books based on places that I have traveled to or will travel to). If you love to read and love to travel, this series of posts is for you. I'll be sharing my top six destinations that hit the sweet spot of good books and great location, where the place has as much personality as the characters in the books. Granted, due to my being a little long-winded, it might take a few posts to get through all my favorites… 

    6. Hannibal, Missouri, USA

    I will confess, the first time that I went to Hannibal .…I didn’t choose to go. I was nine and my mother made the decision for a family vacation. So we went. But I liked it so much that I went two more times - that is saying something, right?

    Basically this is the literary travel spot for all things Mark Twain (aka Samuel Clemens). Think TOM SAWYER and HUCKLEBERRY FINN. Think of all the cave spelunking and riverboat rides. In Hannibal you can tour the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum Properties. I loved looking at the white picket fence and thinking about how Tom tricked everyone else into white-washing it for him. When I was in Hannibal (many years ago) I also toured around other museums and saw where “Becky Thatcher” would have “lived."

    8.6 tom sawyer statue

    There is something to be said for skipping rocks and having a picnic next to the mighty Mississippi River, the very river that Huck Finn and Jim sailed down on a raft. In fact, there are a lot of places in Hannibal where you can just sit and watch that river. And possibly contemplate all of those many big things that Mark Twain leads you to think about when reading Huckleberry Finn. 

    8.6 Mark Twain Cave with Joella

    But the highlight for this area is the Mark Twain Cave Complex. There you can explore where Becky and Tom got lost. And if you happen to have an older brother the way that I do—perhaps you might jump every now and again due to said older brother’s shenanigans. Seriously. There's nothing quite like going inside just after reading the scary chapters about Tom and Becky being lost in that same cave (the very one!) and then having your brother do his best to scare the heebeegeebees out of you. Literature definitely came alive for me in that moment!

    8.6 Mark Twain Cave

    And with festivals and theater performances giving nods to all things Mark Twain, this is a travel destination totally connected to all things literary. 

    Bonus: There is also a movie and a graphic novel adaptation of Tom Sawyer and not one but two different graphic novel adaptations for Huckleberry Finn. 

    8.6 Tom Sawyer TwainTHE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER
    By Mark Twain
    (1876)

     

    Tom Sawyer FilmTOM SAWYER
    (1986) 

     

    8.6 Tom Sawyer HallTHE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER: A GRAPHIC NOVEL
    By Margaret Hall
    (2014)

     

    Huckleberry Finn TwainADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
    By Mark Twain
    (1884)

     

    8.6 Huckleberry Finn RatliffTHE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
    By Tom Ratliff
    (2008 

     

    8.6 Huckleberry Finn SilvermoonADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
    By Crystal Silvermoon
    (2017)

     
    Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for other literary vacation destinations that I have loved!   
  • Read to Travel

    Perhaps you've read all five blog posts (number 6, number 5, number 4, number 3, number 2) we've already shared that talk about my love of reading to travel or traveling to read—basically literary vacations! I have talked about Hannibal, Rome, London, Concord, and Bath & Chawton. Today you get my ultimate vacation spot based on books I have read: Prince Edward Island (yeah, not just one city, the whole Canadian province)! 

    1. Prince Edward Island, Canada

    So, this is my all-time, most bookish trip that I took. I probably would never have gone to Prince Edward Island if it wasn’t for reading ANNE OF GREEN GABLES as a teenager. True story. However, PEI is not only the location of the beloved Anne books, but also many other L.M. Montgomery novels and short stories (and honestly the location is like a character in the story—you can’t totally understand Anne without understanding the place that she loves and lives in). 

    EMILY OF NEW MOON writes in PEI, PAT OF SILVER BUSH grows up in PEI, AND so many of the short stories that Maud wrote were based on the island.  In fact, one tour guide at one of the many places we visited said that out of Montgomery’s 20 books, 19 of them take place in her home province—even though she only lived there until she got married. (The only book that Maud wrote that doesn’t take place in PEI is THE BLUE CASTLE, though that is a brilliant book as well.)

    On the advice of someone who had been to PEI, when we first went to Cavendish (renamed Avonlea in the books), we went to the Cavendish Homestead and saw the land where L.M. Montgomery lived. Then we took a detour to the Cavendish Post Office; Maud was the assistant postmistress in Cavendish and secretly sent off her books there to be published.

    We then walked through the “Haunted Wood” and came out just under Maud’s uncle’s home, which Green Gables was based on. That was truly the perfect way to see Green Gables for the first time (especially since the other entrance leads you to the visitor’s gates and barns…). Walking through the wood and then suddenly seeing Green Gables on the hill just felt like I was in the books with Anne. There is no other way to describe it! If you want to feel like you are in Montgomery’s work, you must travel to PEI. 

    green gables picture

    Also, there is the Anne of Green Gables Museum at Silver Bush (which also has the Lake of Shining Waters). This house was the inspiration for Pat of Silver Bush and is where Montgomery got married. Plus there are buggy rides that you can take—almost as if you were in the movie and Matthew was taking you out for the afternoon. Really, when Maud wrote her books, PEI was a main character and I couldn’t do justice to these books that I loved without going to the land where they were set. 

    And there you have it. My ultimate top choice for a vacation based on books. Besides the FANTASTIC seafood, pretty much everything that we did on PEI was because of books—so basically it was a sweet vacation.

    Granted, there are more travel plans ahead and more books with places as characters. So perhaps this list will continue to grow and change with each new passport stamp. I read to travel, I travel to read.

    Where would you go based on books? Or what good books have you read because of somewhere that you have traveled?

  • Read to Travel

    Last timeI talked about the good ol’ literary home of Tom Sawyer on the Mississippi. My number five pick for literary vacations takes us abroad…to Italy! And really, I could have included the WHOLE COUNTRY on this literary smorgasbord. But I was good and I narrowed it down to one city—Rome!

    5. Rome, Italy

    This location is one hotbed of history—and thus literature! Think about it, how many times do people reference JULIUS CAESAR? Or Roman Mythology? Or parts of the Bible that took place in Rome? There was so much that happened here. “Et tu, Brute?” 

    colosseum1

    When I visited Rome, one of my favorite things was going to the Roman Forum. There I saw where Julius Caesar and Mark Antony delivered their famous speeches. I don’t think I would have appreciated this attraction as much if I hadn’t read the great Shakespeare classic Julius Caesar or studied various Roman Mythology in middle school. (Plus there are a plethora of other books like Rick Riordan’s THE MARK OF ATHENA or Jennifer Nielsen’s MARK OF THE THIEF—both of which I better understood because I had traveled to this ancient land and saw the Roman Forum.) 

    For those who are really into art, history, and mysteries, touring around the various churches in Italy brought to mind Dan Brown’s book ANGELS AND DEMONS. I mean, if you are enjoying art work by some of the world’s masters—you might as well think of a suspenseful mystery book… right? 

    For those moments when I wondered about the various people that lived in Roman history—including children—I thought of THE THIEVES OF OSTIA (a kid’s mystery book that takes place in ancient Rome)—because walking on all the cobblestone streets reminded me of passages in the book where kids have to go from place to place to figure out a mystery.   

    Basically, there are a bunch of books that have portions of history that take place in ancient Rome. And having traveled there I feel like I understand the literature just a little bit more. Not to mention there is the famous Colosseum across the street, the great Spanish Steps, and the Pantheon that all have a lot of history—and make their way into various books and movies that take place in Rome. I know it isn’t literature, but I couldn’t help myself—when visiting the Colosseum I pictured all that happened there in BEN HUR. And I smiled at the memories of watching ROMAN HOLIDAY when going to the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Pantheon. 

    colosseum2

    Thankfully I also had my RICK STEVES’ ITALY tour book so not only could I think of great literary masterpieces as I toured around Rome, I could also find the best place to eat gelato and create my own Roman memories! 

    So there you have it, my #5 literary destination pick (a city with a zillion book and movie references). Keep an eye out for my next pick for a literary destination vacation.  

    Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for other literary vacation destinations that I have loved!