Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Movie/book ideas to pique kids' interest in travel

Movie/book ideas to pique kids' interest in travel

Old Sep 16th, 2000, 12:36 PM
Posts: n/a
Movie/book ideas to pique kids' interest in travel

We leave in January for a 7-month adventure with our three children, ages 12, 10, and 7. We will travel a bit in Kenya, Egypt, and Israel, then spend the rest of the time "living" in Europe--two months in a house in Tuscany, a month in a village in the Dordogne, a couple weeks with friends in Sweden, a month in a cottage in southern Ireland. Between our "homestays" we'll travel where our noses take us. The kids are excited, but don't really know what they're in for. Any suggestions for good flicks for the kids, that show countryside, foreign cities, culture, language etc.? The older boys are great readers, too; ideas for good books?

Thanks a million.

Old Sep 16th, 2000, 09:00 PM
Posts: n/a
This is an interesting question, and I've been trying to rack my brain. I'm sure more will come to mind, and I don't know if this is too old for them or not - but Peter Capstick's "Death in the Long Grass" is an excellent book about a big game hunter in Africa. Capstick wrote several others. May be out of print, but perhaps the library or a used book store. Of course, there's always "Born Free", the movie about the rearing of a lion cub. I can think of several books , but they might be more interesting to girls - "Flame Trees of Thika" and for Tuscany - "Under a Tuscan Sun". Do they play computer games at all? There's "Mummy, tomb of the Pharoah" and for France, there's "Gabriel Knight, Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned" (it's not about Tuscany though, it's in Languedoc).Hope this helps a little - in any case, it will bring it to the top for another chance.
Old Sep 17th, 2000, 08:01 AM
Posts: n/a

For movies, do a site search right here under 'movies' and you will get fabulous suggestions for Ireland and perhaps other lands. As regards personal book recommendation, here are a few:

For the seven year old a couple suggestions are 'Linnea in Monet's Garden' by Christina Bjork, 'Vendala in Venice' by Christina Bjork and the Pipi Longstocking series by Astrid Lindgren.

For the older boys, how about a gorgeous pictorial? One is 'The most Beautiful Villages of Tuscany', James Bently, Thanmes& Hudson publishers. Eyewitness series has great juvenile non-fiction for Egypt and perhaps others. They have a website, BTW, under www.dk.com.

As I am a devout library patron, Cass, I just can't help myself: I must urge you to get to the library and do your own computerized subject search. Also, enlist the help of the reference librarian behind the desk: he or she will be able to access those materials enriching to your childrens' minds. If you are in such a sad situation that no public library is available, do a computer search on the internet book store sites. If that doesn't work, perhaps the poor clerks at Barnes&Noble may be of assistance. At any rate, I'll top it up for further suggestions because I know there's more book know-how here.

P.S. - I'm in awe of your seven month adventure. Wow!
Old Sep 17th, 2000, 09:26 AM
Posts: n/a
Several years ago we saw a fun movie called The Button War, about boys from two different villages in Ireland. My kids loved that. They also liked Out of Africa. Another idea is Chariots of Fire, nice scenery.

Just some ideas.
Old Sep 17th, 2000, 03:17 PM
Posts: n/a
The Secret of Roann Inish (not sure if I have that spelling right) is a great movie for kids, about kids, and a secret island in Ireland. Although not exactly for children, Waking Ned Devine doesn't have any sex, and the only naked body belongs to a 70-something on a motorbike. Think they'll find it very funny. And although The Quiet Man isn't for kids, it's such a sweet story and the great thing is if you go to Cong, where the movie was filmed, they actually have a map you can buy identifying different sites in the movie - which might be something the older kids would enjoy - sort of like a tourist's treasure hunt. (When we were there we rented bicycles in town and tried to see how many places we could identify. And the great thing was we were staying in a self-catering cottage with a VCR and rented the movie that evening and re-lived it all over again.) What a wonderful opportunity for your children - we had friends who did something similar and the kids each kept these scrapbooks/sketches/diary things with all kinds of interesting souvenirs - everything from ticket stubs, pressed flowers, postcards, wrappers from different kinds of candy - in them that everyone enjoyed when they got home.
Old Sep 18th, 2000, 11:45 AM
Posts: n/a
What a great question!
First of all, you yourself (as opposed to your kids) might enjoy an account of a similar family's adventure in travelling around the world for a year with their kids -- it's called "One Year Off" by David Cohen and there is a website at www.oneyearoff.com. I enjoyed the book very much.

For movies about Ireland, I HIGHLY recommend a fantastic movie called "Into the West" with Gabriel Byrne -- delightful for both kids and adults -- it's a story about two little boys and their father who are "travellers" in Ireland, and their horse, Tir na Nogue. It's one of my favorites.

I also loved "The Secret of Roan Inish" mentioned above -- also a good movie for both adults and kids, a bit slower moving, but still fascinating.

Not on your list of destinations but still one of my absolute favorite movies for both kids and adults that shows countryside and a foreign culture (in both time and space) is a film called "Hope and Glory," set in London and nearby countryside during WWII -- it is actually a very nostalgic look at those years told through the eyes of a young boy and his two sisters (one older, one younger), and, to the extent there is such a thing as a "happy" war movie, this is probably it. One of my all-time faves.
Old Sep 18th, 2000, 12:20 PM
Posts: n/a
For Italy, another one of my all-time favorite movies is "Cinema Paradiso," about a little boy who runs the film projector in small-town Italy -- it shows the town and its characters very well.

For Kenya: In my opinion the best show currently on television is one called "The Living Edens," on PBS. Each week they focus on a different rich natural habitat/environment somewhere around the world, and there is one episode called "Ngorongoro" that I would try to see if I were you. We tape it every week and it is always fantastic, but that episode in particular would be worthwhile for you. They have an excellent website at http://www.pbs.org/edens/ngorongoro/
"Out of Africa" is fantastic obviously but probably only very mature kids would really appreciate it.
Also, there was an IMAX movie called "Serengeti" that came out a couple of years ago; I don't know if it's still around or if you have an IMAX theatre near you, but it was definitely worth seeing and might pique your kids' interest in the animal migrations in Kenya.

For France, it's a bit sad but your two older kids might appreciate a WONDERFUL film called "Au Revoir Les Enfants" which I believe was directed by Louis Malle -- about two French schoolboys, set during the German occupation of France -- absolutely wonderful. Another sad one (why is it that the French do sad kids so well?) that is also terrific is "Ponette," about a little French girl whose mother dies -- I thought I was going to cry my eyes out so it might be a bit much for kids to take, but the acting is incredible and it truly is lovely. And perhaps the film "May Fools" -- but I can't remember if this was appropriate for children or not so check it out first.

This is a bit out of the blue, but I will offer it up anyway as I vividly remember it was the first book read to me as a child that stimulated my own interest in travel: "The Little Prince." Most appropriate for your 7-year-old if he/she hasn't already read it or had it read to him/her. I remember there is a description of a desert night, and one of a baobab tree, and I remember asking all kinds of questions about baobab trees and whether they were real and where did they grow and why don't we have them here, and I remember looking up the word "baobab" in the dictionary and thinking, "I can't wait until I'm older and I can travel to Africa so I can see a baobab tree."
Old Sep 18th, 2000, 12:49 PM
Posts: n/a
Realized I neglected Sweden. When I was young I did love the Pippi Longstocking books that someone else mentioned. Also the movie "My Life as a Dog," about a young Swedish boy. Also maybe "Pelle the Conqueror," about a Swedish father and son who emigrate to Denmark in search of a better life, and possibly Bergman's semi-autobiographical film "Fanny and Alexander" -- although to me those are both really films for adults, about kids, but not necessarily for kids -- you know your own kids though.

Also, about Italy, I forgot to mention "Life is Beautiful" which is so excellent and may be appropriate for your older kids but probably not the younger one since it involves WWII and concentration camps -- but it is handled very skillfully so again, you be the judge.

Can't think of any Egyptian/Israeli movies really, although the original "Indiana Jones" movie is right up there in terms of great entertainment and does deal with digging for artifacts in the desert, religious relics -- and kids love it.

In the category of "good flicks for kids that show foreign cultures," I highly recommend a movie called "The White Balloon" -- set in Iran, about a little girl who is trying to buy a goldfish for the New Year, and a series of misadventures that she and her brother have. It's totally entertaining and sweet and delightful and perfect for kids of all ages (and adults).
Old Sep 18th, 2000, 05:02 PM
Posts: n/a
One of my favorites is suitable for kids as well as adults. It starts out in France and ends up in Italy: "A Little Romance". Very cute story and features Maurice Chevalier as a sort of mentor to two young kids that travel together to kiss under the bridge of sighs in Venice.
Have a great time!
Old Sep 19th, 2000, 11:13 AM
Posts: n/a
Great questions, let's give this another shot at the top.
Old Sep 19th, 2000, 11:46 AM
Posts: n/a
If you want to know a bit about Israel, rent "Exodus", based on the book by Leon Uris. It focuses on Israel's gaining independence, and its initial struggles. It may bit a bit above the younger children's heads, but like someone else said, you know your children.
Old Sep 21st, 2000, 05:41 AM
Posts: n/a
If you have not already read it, please read "Take Your Kids to Europe" by Cynthia W. Harriman, published by The Globe Pequot Press. I believe they have good suggestions on books and activities to prepare your children for traveling. In addition, it has some great tips for parents.
Old Sep 21st, 2000, 05:47 AM
Posts: n/a
We took our children to the Dordogne area in France partly in response to having seen the movie "Ever After". The movie is a rendition of the Cinderella story, and is filmed at various castles in the Dordogne area.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:17 AM.