It’s spring break season! Are you going somewhere for spring break this year? Isn’t it exciting to think that we can go places again? Whether you’re heading out on a road trip, flying off to a far-off locale, or staying close to home, there’s one thing you should always pack: books! Am I right?
Even if you’re not going anywhere physically, you can go lots of places mentally through the pages of a book. You can even travel to another time as well as another place. How fun is that? (For more time travel books, check out this post.)
Keep reading for a list of books that will take you on all kinds of trips with all kinds of people and even some pets. Bonus: there’s a wide variety of road trip snacks along the way.
Enjoy your trips!
1. Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
Have you ever really looked forward to something only to have it get cancelled? That’s what happens to Scoob and his spring break trip. Only what actually happens instead might just turn out better than the trip he had planned.
How to Go on an Unplanned Road Trip with Your Grandma:
Grab a Suitcase: Prepacked from the big spring break trip that got CANCELLED.
Fasten Your Seatbelt: G’ma’s never conventional, so this trip won’t be either.
Use the Green Book: G’ma’s most treasured possession. It holds history, memories, and most important, the way home.
What Not to Bring: A Cell Phone: Avoid contact with Dad at all costs. Even when G’ma starts acting stranger than usual.
2. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart
Coyote’s trip is not what you’d call a vacation. It’s more of a lifestyle. But it turns into quite an adventure…
Amazon description: Five years. That’s how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation.
It’s also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash.
Coyote hasn’t been home in all that time, but when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished―the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box―she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days…without him realizing it.
Along the way, they’ll pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Lester has a lady love to meet. Salvador and his mom are looking to start over. Val needs a safe place to be herself. And then there’s Gladys…
3. The Last Grand Adventure by Rebecca Behrens
Just like Scoob in Clean Getaway, Bea is traveling with her grandmother. Bea’s story will help you travel, too—back in time to 1967.
Amazon description: It’s 1967 and twelve-year-old Bea is in need of some adventure. Her mother is off in San Francisco, while her father has just gotten remarried in Los Angeles. Bea has gained a younger stepsister, and she’s not thrilled about her blended family. So when her ailing grandmother, Pidge, moves to an Orange County senior-living community and asks if Bea would spend the summer helping her get settled, Bea is happy for any excuse to get away.
But it turns out, her grandmother isn’t interested in settling in. What she really wants is to hop a train back to Atchison, Kansas—where she thinks she’ll be reunited with her long-missing sister: Amelia Earhart. And she wants Bea to be her sidekick on this secret trip.
At first, Bea thinks her grandmother’s plan is a little crazy. But Pidge has thirty years of letters written in “Meelie’s” unmistakable voice, all promising to reunite. This might be the adventure Bea needs…With letters in hand, Bea and Pidge set off on their quest to find Amelia. But getting halfway across the country proves to be more of an adventure than either of them bargained for. And their search for Amelia leads to some surprising truths about their family—and each other.
4. When I Hit the Road by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
What is it about trips and grandmas? Here’s another one, full of road trip shenanigans including “A GIANT alligator, the hilarious (and terrifying) Kooky Karaoke Contest and The Friendly Fill-up Gas Station (and the Restroom of Horror).” I think I may have been to that last one myself.
Amazon description: Samantha is not exactly excited to spend her entire summer vacation in Florida with her grandma. Or to have to write to her future self in the journal her mom insists she use. But it turns out that Gram has some not-so-boring plans up her sleeve… Gram and her friend Mimi are going to audition for the Seniors Have Got Talent Karaoke Contest!
A road trip in Gram’s new Mustang turns into a series of hilarious mishaps that flip Samantha’s summer on its head, especially because, an unexpected person is sharing the ride: a super cute, muscular, athletic-looking, dimple-faced, middle-school boy named Brandon.
It looks like her journal might be worth keeping after all because this summer will be one Samantha will never want to forget.
5. Julia and the Art of Practical Travel by Lesley M. M. Blume
Here’s another opportunity to travel back in time to the 1960’s. The places Julia and her aunt go on their trip, and the people they meet along the way, would be fascinating in any century.
Amazon description: When her grandmother dies and the once-majestic family estate is sold, eleven-year-old Julia Lancaster and her aunt Constance must take to the road to find Julia’s long-lost mother. They bring with them only the most practical travel things—silver candlestick holders, a few Oriental carpets, some steamer trunks, and Julia’s beloved Brownie camera, which she will use to document their journey across 1960s America.
On the road, Julia and her aunt meet a cast of peculiar characters, including guitar-strumming hippies in Greenwich Village, a legendary voodoo queen in New Orleans, the honorable proprietor of the World’s End Cattle Ranch in Texas, and the colorful sheriff of Gold Point, Nevada (population: 1), who also happens to be the town’s mayor, fire chief, and reverend. But will they find Julia’s mother and a place to call home?
6. The Courage Test by James Preller
One of the most famous road trips in American history was the one Lewis and Clark took into the wilderness. Will and his dad are following their footsteps and it’s an adventure, all right…but maybe not the one Will expected.
Amazon description: Will has no choice. His father, a professor of American history, drags him along on a wilderness adventure in the footsteps of the legendary explorers Lewis and Clark―whether he likes it or not. All the while, Will senses that something about this trip isn’t quite right. His parents are divorced, and he hasn’t spent much time with his father. Why now? And why is Will’s mother practically pushing him out the door?
Along the journey, Will meets fascinating strangers and experiences new thrills, including whitewater rapids and a heart-pounding encounter with a bear. This, along with getting to know his dad, tests Will in ways he hasn’t faced before. But the biggest test of his courage isn’t on the road; it’s facing an illness that will be life-changing.
7. Breathing Underwater by Sarah Allen
I love how this story shows the relationship between sisters Olivia and Ruth, and what it’s like to love someone who needs help, even when you don’t really know how to help them.
Amazon description: Olivia is on the road trip of her dreams, with her trusty camera and her big sister Ruth by her side. Three years ago, before their family moved from California to Tennessee, Olivia and Ruth buried a time capsule on their favorite beach. Now, they’re taking an RV back across the country to uncover the memories they left behind. But Ruth’s depression has been getting worse, so Olivia has created a plan to help her remember how life used to be: a makeshift scavenger hunt across the country, like pirates hunting for treasure, taking pictures and making memories along the way.
All she wants is to take the picture that makes her sister smile. But what if things can never go back to how they used to be? What if they never find the treasure they’re seeking? Through all the questions, loving her sister, not changing her, is all Olivia can do―and maybe it’s enough.
8. The Great Good Summer by Liz Scanlon
Ivy’s motto is, “Every good day starts with an idea.” Whether or not it was a good idea for her to run off to Florida…well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out.
Amazon description: Ivy Green’s mama has gone off with a charismatic preacher called Hallelujah Dave to The Great Good Bible Church of Panhandle Florida. At least that’s where Ivy and her dad think Mama is. But since the church has no website or phone number and Mama left no forwarding address, Ivy’s not entirely sure. She does know she’s missing Mama. And she’s starting to get just a little worried about her, too.
Paul Dobbs, one of Ivy’s schoolmates, is also having a crummy summer. Paul has always wanted to be an astronaut, and now that NASA’s space shuttle program has been scrapped, it looks like his dream will never get off the ground.
Although Ivy and Paul are an unlikely pair, it turns out they are the perfect allies for a runaway road trip to Florida—to look for Mama, to kiss the Space Shuttle good-bye, and maybe, just maybe, regain their faith in the things in life that are most important.
9. Road Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen
This is a short, fast-paced story perfect for a spring break read, but my favorite thing about this book is that Atticus, the dog, gets to narrate every other chapter!
Amazon description: Dad and Ben haven’t been getting along lately, and Dad hopes a road trip to rescue a border collie will help them reconnect. But Ben is on to Dad’s scheme, and he’s got ideas of his own. Like inviting his buddy, Theo, who’s sure to get into fun (and trouble) along the way. And if Dad wants a family road trip, then the family dog, Atticus, should get to come, too. What could go wrong?
But when their truck breaks down, the family trip takes plenty of unexpected turns. Before they know it, they’ve commandeered an old school bus and joined forces with its cranky mechanic, Gus. Next, they pick up Mia, a waitress escaping a tense situation. Only sharp-eyed Atticus realizes that Theo is on the run from something bad—and someone is following them.
10. From Norvelt to Nowhere by Jack Gantos
I love the friendship between Jack and Miss Volker. If you like this one, be sure to check out the first Norvelt book, Dead End in Norvelt.
Amazon description: After an explosion, a new crime by an old murderer, and the sad passing of the town’s founder, twelve-year-old Jack will soon find himself launched on a mission that takes him hundreds of miles away, escorting his slightly mental elderly mentor, Miss Volker, on her relentless pursuit of the oddest of outlaws.
But as their trip turns south in more ways than one, it’s increasingly clear that the farther from home they travel, the more off-the-wall Jack and Miss Volker’s adventure becomes.
11. The Summer We Saved the Bees by Robin Stevenson
What if you could help save the environment by going on a road trip? Would it be worth it even if it tore your family apart?
Amazon description: For Wolf, saving the planet means first saving his family from self-inflicted disaster. Wolf’s mother is obsessed with saving the world’s honeybees, so it’s not too surprising when she announces that she’s taking her Save the Bees show on the road―with the whole family. Wolf thinks it’s a terrible plan, and not just because he’ll have to wear a bee costume―in public. He likes his alternative school and hates the idea of missing weeks of classes. His teenage stepsister doesn’t want to leave her boyfriend, and one of his little half-sisters has stopped talking altogether, but Wolf’s mom doesn’t seem to notice. She’s convinced that the world is doomed unless ordinary people take extraordinary action.
It isn’t until the kids take some drastic action of their own that she is forced to listen when Wolf tells her that dragging the family around the province in a beat-up Ford panel van may not be the best idea she ever had.
12. Chicken Trek: The Third Strange Thing That Happened to Oscar Noodleman by Stephen Manes
Oh my goodness, imagine having to travel from city to city just to eat chicken! Not because you want to, but because you need to. There’s fowl play ahead!
Amazon description: How much chicken can one human eat? Oscar Noodleman is about to find out!
Oscar owes his weird inventor cousin $49,462.37—plus tax. His cousin needs the money to avoid a horrible fate. The only way out is for Oscar to win the Bagful o’ Cash prize in a coast-to-coast chicken-eating contest. Trekking across America in his cousin’s amazing Picklemobile, Oscar stuffs down more than two hundred chicken meals. But an evil seer with a huge appetite, a grudge against Oscar’s cousin, and a taste for fowl play is hot on the drumstick trail herself.
Will Oscar spout feathers? Will the ChickenSniffer, the RemDem and his cousin’s other crazy inventions save the day? Feast on this tale and cackle at the fine-feathered fun!
13. The Great Peach Pie Experiment: When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie by Erin Soderberg Downing
Calling all fans of The Penderwicks and The Vanderbeekers: There’s a new family in town and you’re going to love them. Actually, they’re not so much in town as on the road—in a food truck!
Amazon description: After a tough year, Lucy, Freddy, and Herb Peach are ready for vacation. Lucy wants to read all of the books on the summer reading list. Freddy wants to work on his art projects (when he isn’t stuck in summer school). Herb wants to swim every day.
Then their dad makes a big announcement: one of the inventions their mom came up with before she passed away has sold, and now they’re millionaires!
But Dad has bigger plans than blowing the cash on fun stuff or investing it. He’s bought a used food truck. The Peaches are going to spend the summer traveling the country selling pies. It will be the Great Peach Experiment–a summer of bonding while living out one of Mom’s dreams. Summer plans, sunk. And there’s one more issue Dad’s neglected: none of them knows how to bake. . .
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Is there a book about that place? Travel to my Instagram account and let’s talk about it!