My husband jokes that in my family, if anyone says, “Do you want to go to…,” we all say, “Sure!” before we even know the destination. My parents definitely succeeded in passing on a love of travel to my siblings and me, and we’ve all handed down that travel lust to our own children as well.
For me, a huge part of it came from the books I read. I’m pretty sure that the earliest places books made me want to visit were ones that didn’t actually exist: Narnia, for example. (I also really, really wanted to be able to tesser.) But a lot of the books I read as a kid also implanted a deep desire to see certain real places for myself.
Now that I’ve written THE SUMMER OF BROKEN THINGS, a book that I hope will make other readers want to travel, too, I thought it might be fun to list some of the main real places books made me long to go when I was a kid:
1. New York City. It seemed like half the books I read as a kid were set here (probably because so many publishers and writers lived there). I wanted so badly to see HARRIET THE SPY’s neighborhood, the ALL-OF-A-KIND FAMILY’s neighborhood, the neighborhood where A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, etc., etc., etc.
Have I been there yet: Oh, yes! Many times! Often for something book-related.
2. England in general, and London in particular: Luckily for me, my local library contained a lot of British books. Some of my favorite authors were Rumer Godden, Noel Streatfeild, Frances Hodgson Burnett, etc. (And, well, I was already an adult before Harry Potter came out, but that series made me long for England even more.)
Have I been there yet: Yes! Once was even a research trip for a book of my own, when I was working on the 39 CLUES series.
3. Italy: One of my favorite books when I was a kid was called SHE THE ADVENTURESS, and it was about a 12-year-old girl traveling from Iowa to Italy all by herself. How could I not want to visit after reading that book?
Have I been there yet: Yes, again!
4. India: I think the desire for—well, let’s call it “A Passage to India”–began with some of the British books I read. Even in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s THE SECRET GARDEN, Mary was returning to England from India. But as I got older, I read more books set in India where the main characters were Indian, not British, and I really liked seeing that perspective.
Have I been there yet: No—but someday!
5. Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and pretty much every other biblical location: I think I was twelve when I decided to read the entire Bible, front to back. (Though I’ll admit, I mostly just skimmed some of the lists of “begats.”) Then I really wanted to see those sites for myself.
Have I been there yet: No, but this is still very much on my list of places I’d love to go someday.
6. France in general, especially Paris: I’m not sure it was logical to fall in love with France after reading books like LES MISERABLES and THE THREE MUSKETEERS, but I did.
Have I been there yet: Yes! And I still love France, but both trips I’ve made to Paris were rather challenging. So maybe I should have taken the books more as warnings?
7. Outer space: I read a lot of science fiction as a kid, and back then science fiction mostly meant rocket ships and extraterrestrial adventures. I thought I’d at least have made it to the moon as a tourist by now.
Have I been there yet: This should be obvious, but no. And unless we make some pretty incredible advances in the next three or four decades, it’s pretty unlikely that I ever will. But that’s okay. I do still enjoy reading about it!
8. Granada, Spain, and specifically the Alhambra: I have a vivid memory of the cover of a book I read when I was about ten, which showed a beautiful Moorish design from the Alhambra. I remember that the book had “Alhambra” in the title, and that it was about a girl—possibly American or English—who got to visit Granada one summer. Even though I remember nothing else about the book, it made me want to see the Alhambra for myself.
Have I been there: Yes—when I was on a trip to Spain to do research for THE SUMMER OF BROKEN THINGS.
So a book made me want to travel to Spain, and I got to do that for research to write a book that might make more readers want to travel. It’s very circular, but to me that seems like a perfect outcome. Along with wanting to travel more myself, I love the idea that I might pass on a longing for travel to lots more kids besides my own.
From New York Times bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix comes a haunting novel about friendship and what it really means to be a family in the face of lies and betrayal.
Fourteen-year-old Avery Armisted is athletic, rich, and pretty. Sixteen-year-old Kayla Butts is known as “butt-girl” at school. The two girls were friends as little kids, but that’s ancient history now. So it’s a huge surprise when Avery’s father offers to bring Kayla along on a summer trip to Spain. Avery is horrified that her father thinks he can choose her friends—and make her miss soccer camp. Kayla struggles just to imagine leaving the confines of her small town.
But in Spain, the two uncover a secret their families had hidden from both of them their entire lives. Maybe the girls can put aside their differences and work through it together. Or maybe the lies and betrayal will only push them—and their families—farther apart.
Margaret Peterson Haddix weaves together two completely separate lives in this engaging novel that explores what it really means to be a family—and what to do when it’s all falling apart.
About the Author:
Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularlyChildren of Exile series, The Missing series,
the Under Their Skin series,
the Shadow Children series
. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News
. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio.
acclaimed YA and middle grade novels, including the
Follow Margaret: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
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