Vestiges and Venues | Landmarks & Locations Series Nonfiction

The newest titles in the landmarks and locations section focus on dazzling places to visit and feature the many fulfilling experiences one can have even while at home.


The newest titles in the landmarks and locations section focus on dazzling places to visit and feature the many fulfilling experiences one can have even while at home. Introducing readers to more people, customs, and places, this season’s series dive deeper using archaeology, animal adventures, political events, and even magical postcards to discover the beauty all around. All titles offer colorful photos or illustrations to engage readers, along with age-appropriate text. Many of the titles have supplemental material through the use of hands-on activities, critical thinking questions, and extended reading, which is stated in the subsequent reviews. The following 10 series offer readers the opportunity to experience new environments, cultures, and wonders that can be found in every corner of the world.



Brink, Tracy Vonder. Australia. ISBN 9781039644564.
––––. Canada. ISBN 9781039644595.
––––. Costa Rica. ISBN 9781039644601.
––––. France. ISBN 9781039644588.
––––. Italy. ISBN 9781039644571.
––––. Japan. ISBN 9781039644557.
ea vol: 24p. (Exploring Countries). Crabtree/Seedlings. Jan. 2022. Tr $25.27.
Gr 1-2 –These titles provide a basic profile of each country for beginning readers. The books open with guided discussion questions for educators and caregivers for before, during, and after reading to help build reading skills. Pages include one to three sentences paired with colorful photos and informative graphics, including picture captions and basic maps. Vocabulary words are in bold and are presented with pictures in the glossary along with the definition. For example, a picture of a lavender field in France is shown next to a definition where lavender is defined as: “a sweet-smelling plant with light purple flowers” (France). The text highlights Indigenous people where applicable along with well-known landmarks, plants, animals, and geographic features of the country. VERDICT Serviceable profiles of various countries for beginning readers.

Friedman, Laurie. A Postcard from Australia. ISBN 9781039645134.
––––. A Postcard from Canada. ISBN 9781039645165.
––––. A Postcard from Costa Rica. ISBN 9781039645141.
––––. A Postcard from France. ISBN 9781039645110.
––––. A Postcard from Italy. ISBN 9781039645158.
––––. A Postcard from Japan. ISBN 9781039645127.
ea vol: illus. by Roberta Ravasio. 32p. (Magic Postcards). Crabtree/Blossoms. Jan. 2022. Tr $22.60.
Gr 2-3 –This series follows twins Camilla and Carlos as they travel to new places via magical postcards. With a guide, the twins see famous landmarks, eat classic dishes, and experience the culture in each country. For example in A Postcard From Japan, Carlos and Camilla visit Mount Fuji with their tour guide Keiko, who tells them “some people say the mountain is shy” because it is usually covered with clouds. This series features exquisitely illustrated maps and landmarks, which give a storybook feel to each adventure. Although the titles only give minimal information on each country, the presentation of Carlos and Camilla’s experience may be more engaging to readers who prefer fictional stories, such as the “ Magic Treehouse” series. There is no back matter, but titles begin with “School-to-Home Support for Caregivers and Teachers” that includes before, during, and after reading questions/prompts. This series can be paired with another more fully nonfiction series from the same publisher called “Exploring Countries.” VERDICT An early elementary, mostly nonfiction, series for reluctant and/or beginning readers.

Murray, Julie. King Tut’s Tomb. ISBN 9781098226640.
––––. Machu Picchu. ISBN 9781098226657.
––––. Ötzi the Iceman. ISBN 9781098226664.
––––. Petra. ISBN 9781098226671.
––––. Pompeii. ISBN 9781098226688.
––––. Terracotta Army. ISBN 9781098226695.
ea vol: 24p. (Amazing Archaeology). Abdo/Dash. Jan. 2022. Tr $29.93.
Gr 2-4 –Each of the titles in this series for younger readers covers a person or place from the past that has been discovered. Each topic is introduced, given historical context about how it was discovered, and additional facts are given. The sections vary in length but contain one short paragraph that corresponds with colorful full-page photos, renderings, or art that make the information easily comprehensible. For example, in Ötzi the Iceman readers learn that a rendering was done of Ötzi and “...his belongings are on display in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy.” The combination of vocabulary words in bold, a simple map to show where the archaeological site was found, and a “More Facts” page at the end, make the topic more accessible to young readers. Although there is no time line of events included in the series, the text is written to enhance reader understanding, overall. Back matter includes a glossary, index, and a further reading website/QR code from the publisher. VERDICT A good first overview of archaeological sites.

Peterson, Christy. A Trip to the Farm with ­Sesame Street®. ISBN 9781728439143.
––––. A Trip to the Fire Station with Sesame Street®. ISBN 9781728439129.
––––. A Trip to the Library with Sesame Street®. ISBN 9781728439167.
––––. A Trip to the Post Office with Sesame Street®. ISBN 9781728439112.
––––. A Trip to the Science Museum with ­Sesame Street®. ISBN 9781728439150.
––––. A Trip to the Zoo with Sesame Street®. ISBN 9781728439136.
ea vol: 24p. (Sesame Street ® Field Trips). Lerner. Jan. 2022. Tr $27.99.
K-Gr 2 –Familiar Sesame Street characters take readers on field trips in this series. Each title starts with a table of contents and Sesame Street characters greeting the reader at the place they are visiting using a speech bubble. One to two sentences are paired with colorful photographs to describe life in each location and what can be learned there, like exhibits at the science museum that show dinosaur skeletons from long ago ( A Trip to the Science Museum). At the end of each field trip, a character asks questions, helping children connect what they have learned to what they already know. The back matter includes a glossary, though vocabulary words are not highlighted; a “Learn More” page for further reading; and finally an index. VERDICT This series offers good guides to help prepare readers for field trips and what to expect at various locations.

Spanier, Kristine. Angkor Wat. ISBN 9781636903019.
––––. Chichén Itzá. ISBN 9781636903040.
––––. Easter Island. ISBN 9781636903071.
––––. Golden Gate Bridge. ISBN 9781636903101.
––––. Leaning Tower of Pisa. ISBN 9781636903132.
––––. Pyramids of Giza. ISBN 9781636903163.
––––. Statue of Liberty. ISBN 9781636903194.
ea vol: 24p. (Whole Wide World). Jump!/Pogo. Jan. 2022. Tr $26.99.
Gr 2-4 –This series continues to balance information with an eye-catching format, highlighting landmarks around the world. There are about three chapters that are six pages long and contain full-page pictures that accompany short paragraphs throughout. The beginning of each title starts with before, during, and after questions for teachers and caregivers to engage readers. The series takes a look at the history of each location, such as the hundreds of stone statues on Easter Island which “...were made more than 500 years ago” (Easter Island). Vocabulary words are in bold, photos are labeled, and infographics, like diagrams and sidebar facts, make the text easy to understand. Still, some full-page pictures are cut in half by an unnecessary color block that has a small paragraph, but this allows the information to be broken up into pieces. The end of each series includes quick facts and tools, a glossary, index, and how to learn more. VERDICT An accessible introduction about historical landmarks for elementary readers.

Upper Elementary to Middle School

Dickmann, Nancy. Your Passport to England. ISBN 9781663959270.
Golkar, Golriz. Your Passport to Egypt. ISBN 9781663959263.
Gómez, Isela Xitlali & Anaïs Deal-Márquez. Your Passport to Mexico. ISBN 9781663959287.
Reynolds, A.M. Your Passport to Australia. ISBN 9781663959256.
ea vol: 32p. (World Passport). Capstone/Press. Jan. 2022. Tr $29.32.
Gr 3-5 –As with past titles in the series, readers can explore various countries around the world all from their armchair. Every title has about six chapters of varying lengths written to let children feel as though they are actually visiting each country. As in preceding titles, each book describes the daily life, history, religion, and landscape using multiple paragraphs paired with photographs. Maps inform readers about the country’s location and infographic side panels highlight necessary information. Endangered animal species are shared along with recipes, such as preparing nopales or prickly pear cacti in Mexico (Your Passport to Mexico), in addition to holidays and celebrations in each country. Although the overall design is the same for every country it does not distract from the amount of information given. The final pages include a glossary and further reading that can be found online or in a book. VERDICT Still a good introduction for mid-elementary readers interested in exploring the world.

Doeden, Matt. Travel to Australia. ISBN 9781728441672.
––––. Travel to India. ISBN 9781728441696.
––––. Travel to Israel. ISBN 9781728441641.
––––. Travel to Japan. ISBN 9781728441634.
––––. Travel to Kenya. ISBN 9781728441658.
––––. Travel to Mexico. ISBN 9781728441689.
Layton, Christine. Travel to China. ISBN 9781728441665.
––––. Travel to Russia. ISBN 9781728441702.
ea vol: 32p. (Searchlight Books ™ — World Traveler). Lerner. Jan. 2022. Tr $30.65.
Gr 3-5 –The titles in this series cover a range of countries, and each opens with a paragraph from a traveler in the country. Title chapters then overview the climate and geography, history and government, culture and people, and end with current daily life. Every chapter has sections called “Must-See Stop” and “Let’s Celebrate!” detailing a place visitors should see and common celebrations throughout the country, such as the Masai Mara National Reserve in Southwestern Kenya where “over 450 bird species live” ( Kenya). Much of the format includes longer paragraphs accompanied by full or half-page photos. Pictures are captioned, but vocabulary is not highlighted in any way. The end of each title has a map with key facts, a glossary, index, and a section to learn more both with online and text resources. VERDICT A well-rounded overview for elementary to middle grade readers; good for a school project.

Golkar, Golriz. Ecuador. ISBN 9781644876107.
––––. Jamaica. ISBN 9781644876114.
––––. Somalia. ISBN 9781644876145.
Klepeis, Alicia Z. Austria. ISBN 9781644876091.
––––. Malaysia. ISBN 9781644876121.
––––. Poland. ISBN 9781644876138.
ea vol: 32p. (Country Profiles). Bellwether/Blastoff! Discovery. Jan. 2022. Tr $27.95.
Gr 3-5 –As in the past, every title in this series helps readers discover a bit more about each country. The sections are two pages long, first setting the scene from the perspective of a visitor, then featuring a brief rundown of the history, climate, wildlife, athletics, and celebrations through colorful photographs and accompanied with short paragraphs. Maps and infographics are used to enhance readers’ understanding with quick facts, such as vulnerable species from the title country. The series gives a well-rounded profile of each country. Recipes are shared in each ­title, like the one for Kac Kac or doughnuts in Somalia, along with an activity and famous people from the country. The time line offered at the end of each title could be more comprehensive, but the material is easy to read overall, since each section is short. The b,ack matter includes a basic pictured time line of the country, quick two-page profile, glossary, further reading suggestions, and an index. VERDICT A solid introductory series of country profiles; good for gathering information for a school project.

Huddleston, Emma. Animal Encounter Bucket List. ISBN 9781532195228.
––––. Historical Site Bucket List. ISBN 9781532195242.
––––. Outdoor Expedition Bucket List. ISBN 9781532195266.
Kortemeier, Todd. Sports Venue Bucket List. ISBN 9781532195273.
London, Martha. Archaeological Site Bucket List. ISBN 9781532195235.
––––. Natural Wonder Bucket List. ISBN 9781532195259.
ea vol: 48p. (Travel Bucket Lists). Abdo/Core Library. Jan. 2022. Tr $34.21.
Gr 3-6 –This series includes titles that prepare readers for experiences from visiting historical sites to sports venues. Starting with a table of contents that shows four-to-five chapters in varying lengths, each title opens from a visitor’s perspective and is written in third person, setting the scene for readers. Longer paragraphs are accompanied by color photos or graphics to give more context, balancing the amount of information provided throughout. Using informative side panels outside of the main text, dedicated pages to primary resources, and questions throughout, the presentation encourages readers to think critically about what they have read. For example, in Sports Venue Bucket List, the third chapter details the importance of college sports in the United States, listing the largest stadiums in the world, eight out of 11 of which are U.S. college stadiums. At the end of each title, a map is shown with pinned locations that can be connected to the text along with a “Stop and Think” section good for short answer written exercises or for class discussion. The back matter includes a glossary, more reading found online or in books, and an index. V­ERDICT Expands understanding and cultural importance of popular excursions and experiences; this series is good for older elementary/younger middle grade readers.


Upper Middle School to High School

Breach, Jen. Places of Protest. ISBN 9781731651846.
Duling, Kaitlyn. Coolest Collections. ISBN 9781731651839.
ea vol: 48p. (Travel to...). Rouke/Connections. Mar. 2022. Tr $34.22.
Gr 9 Up –The latest titles in this series cover a wide range of places to discover. Every title starts with before, during, and after reading activities to extend learning and is followed by a table of contents. A combination of graphic renderings and photographs are paired with one or two paragraphs that may also include a side panel that generally connects the reader further to more specific information, such as museums going digital during global disasters (Coolest Collections). This series does not shy away from nuanced topics, including repatriation of art to the original country (Coolest Collections) or why protests around the world happen. For instance, when the Patriarch of the Orthodox Russian Church campaigned for Vladimir Putin, there was a large protest in 2012 (Places of Protest). Although each title has a lot of information, the sections are relatively short and can be read as a whole or on their own. The back matter includes a glossary, index, bibliography, text-dependent questions, and extended activities. VERDICT A fantastic overview for older readers who want to learn more about the nuances of culture and activism.

The series above offer a wide-range of locations to visit and landmarks to see. From ancient historical sites to modern travel, they introduce readers to people and places around the globe. Reluctant younger readers may enjoy “Magic Postcards” (Crabtree/Crabtree Blossoms), while “Travel Bucket Lists” (Abdo/Core Library) would be a good choice for future adventurers for older readers. Many series focus on country profiles for a variety of ages such as “Exploring Countries” (Crabtree/Crabtree Seedlings) for younger readers and “World Traveler” (Lerner) for elementary to middle grade readers, while some of the standout series involve just as much adventure as they do history, such as “Amazing Archaeology” (Abdo/Dash) and “Travel To…”(Rourke/Connections). Familiar faces are shown in “Sesame Street Field Trips” (Lerner), which gives an introduction to educational outings, and “Country Profiles” (Bellwether/Blastoff!), “World Passport” (Capstone), and “Whole Wide World” (Jump!/Pogo) are series back with new adventures and countries to discover.

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