13 Best Books About Explorers Update 05/2022

Books About Explorers

It’s a favorite subject for kids to read about. A lot of kids have a lot of imagination, and I think that helps them think up daring trips to new places and become the heroes of their own tales! You can’t say everyone likes a good true adventure story, but I think most people do.

I’ve tried to put together a list of books about explorers that isn’t too heavy or light. There are a lot of books in the library that are about white, European men. I didn’t want this to be a list of those books. I did find some interesting books about women explorers, though. I think your kids will learn about some new people to look up to.

Below, I have two types of books about explorers: biographies and general books that show different people and places. Enjoy your trip. There are affiliate links to the names and covers of the books.

Explorer Biographies

The Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest by Steve Jenkins.

The Top of the World Climbing Mount Everest by Steve Jenkins

Jensen’s cut paper illustrations take your child on a journey to the top of Mount Everest, and they’re so beautiful. Jenkins talks about how to get to Everest, what you need to climb, how to deal with the weather, and more. Jenkins also talks about former climbers and their stories.

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill.

This huge book is a beautiful tribute to Antarctica adventures. Colored pencil illustrations show the risks and rewards of overcoming a rough but beautiful landscape. A lot of kids will spend a lot of time studying this book because it’s full of information and they want to go on an ice-filled adventure.

The Great Voyages of Zheng He by Demi.

He was alive in the 15th century, when Zhenh was alive It was his goal to spread the word about friendship and peace all over the world. Emperor Zhu Di of China built the world’s largest naval fleet, and Zhenh He was its admiral. He took trade, treasure, and peace across the seas, making the world a better place. It’s a great book because Demi’s beautiful illustrations make it fun for kids to read. They’ll also learn that maritime travel in the 15th century was more than “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

Far Beyond the Garden Gate: Alexandra David-Neel’s Journey to Lhasa by Don Brown.

Alexandra David-Neel used to be an opera singer, but after she married, she decided to become an adventurer. In 1924, she was the first European woman to visit Tibet’s forbidden city, Llasa. She was also the first person from Europe to go there. Author Brown used some of David-quotes Neel’s in the book, and kids will be excited to learn about this brave woman.

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earleby Claire A Nivola.

Life in the Ocean The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earleby Claire A Nivola

You don’t have to be a mountain climber or a sailor to be an explorer! In the beginning of this book, a young girl is quietly “investigating” what is going on in a pond, and then the book moves on. When her family moves to Florida, she starts to look into the Gulf of Mexico, which is where she lives now. Earle’s love for the ocean and the people who live there comes through in this book, and it’s a surprising and moving read with a lot to look at. In this book, you can talk about how going to new places makes us want to be better stewards of the earth.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca.

A beautiful, big book about the 1969 trip to the moon. Floca’s illustrations show the wonder and drama of the flight to kids, who don’t think that going into space is very different from going to the movies.

Keep On! The Story of Matthew Henson, Co-Discoverer of the North Pole by Kathleen Krull.

During Robert Peary’s 1909 trip to the north pole, an African-American, Matthew Henson, went with him. As a child, Henson was a big fan of adventure. Krull has a lot of information for kids who like books about explorers, so they can learn a lot from the book.

Around the World by Matt Phlan

It’s a great book about three 19th century explorers: Thomas Stevens, who rode his bicycle around the world, Joshua Slocum, who was the first person to sail around the world alone, and Nellie Bly, a reporter who set out to go around the world in under 80 days.

Dare the Wind: The Record-breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloudby Tracey Fern.

The 19th century was a time when women didn’t work on ships. Ellen’s father saw that his daughter had a love for the sea and helped it grow. She grew up, married a sea captain, and went with him on his business trips. It took Ellen a lot of skill to navigate the Flying Cloud around Cape Horn in 1851. She did this in 89 days, 21 hours, which is a record for the time. When your child reads the text and looks at the pictures, he will feel like he is on the sea with Ellen and the clipper.

Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa by Don Brown.

Uncommon Traveler Mary Kingsley in Africa by Don Brown

During the 1890s, an English explorer, Mary Kingsley, went to West Africa and saw a lot. Mary didn’t go to school until she was 30. She stayed home and took care of her mother, who was sick, while her father went on trips all over the world. As soon as her parents died, Mary was finally able to go out on her own for the first time.

General Explorer Books

Atlas of Adventures by Rachel Williams

This is a great, big book that your kids will want to read for hours. There are seven continents in the atlas, and each page shows where to go and what to do and see there.

Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air by Stewart Ross.

This book has a lot of fold-out illustrations and very detailed drawings. Kids will love this book. It has a lot of useful information. Ross looks at fourteen different explorations and talks about the people, equipment, and geography involved. He answers every kid’s longing to know how the explorers did so many dangerous things!

Explore! The Most Dangerous Journeys of All Time by Deborah Kespert.

Afterwards, the author breaks down the stories and adventures into groups based on their terrain. Polar, ocean, land, desert, sky, and new frontiers are some of the different types of places. Photos, notes, glossaries, maps, and more accompany each section about different explorers and their journeys, and they’re all shown in each one. The book has a few women in it, but most of the explorers are men from Europe. I think it’s also important for parents to look for books that give a better picture of how explorers shaped “new territory.” It’s a big problem when people praise colonialism.

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