Books are the best way to prepare for a family vacation. Use these children’s books for a trip to Chicago. If you’re looking for more, don’t forget to check out Illinois children’s books.
Chicago Board Books
This collection of board books are perfect for families with little ones visiting Chicago.
by Jerome Pohlen (Author), Violet Lemay (Illustrator)
Babies guiding babies. This illustrated board book uses babies to introduce kids to Chicago.
Max Explores Chicago
by Reji Laberje (Author), Liza Fenech (Illustrator)
This board book has a dog, Max, as the tour guide through Chicago. It was made in conjunction with the Chicago Children’s Museum
123 Chicago: A Cool Counting Book
by Puck (Author)
Count to ten with fun Chicago sites. The bold illustrations include things like: Sears Tower, the el train, Navy Pier fireworks, Chicago-style hot dogs, and deep-dish pizza.
Good Night Chicago
by Adam Gamble (Author), Joe Veno (Illustrator)
The Good Night series is a fun souvenir book for traveling families. There’s a version for every state, many cities, and some countries. Get Chicago’s to add it to your collection
Chicago Picture Books for a family trip
Larry Gets Lost in Chicago
by Michael Mullin (Author), John Skewes (Author, Illustrator)
Larry gets lost in a lot of places, and this time he’s in Chicago. Older kids will love this picture book, but the youngest in the family will like the Larry board book or ABC Book.
Journey Around Chicago from A to Z
by Martha Zschock (Author), Heather Zschock (Designer)
Get a look into so many Chicago sites before your Chicago trip. This is a great way to prep for a trip, and a great post-trip souvenir.
W is for Windy City: A Chicago Alphabet
by Deborah Dover Layne (Author), Steven L. Layne (Author), Judy MacDonald (Illustrator), Michael Hays (Illustrator)
Another alphabet book that makes a great souvenir. This is set in Chicago and makes a good collection piece because this series exists for many states and cities.
by Nina Gruener (Author), Robert Cameron (Photographer)
Seeing cities from above is one of the coolest things. This book gives kids the opportunity to see Chicago. Take note of all the sites you’re seeing from the ground.
History book for kids: Chicago
Chicago History for Kids: Triumphs and Tragedies of the Windy City
by Owen Hurd (Author), Gary Johnson (Foreword)
Kids will have a better chance of appreciating Chicago when they learn a little more about the city’s history. So, this is the book for them. Give it to them early enough and they just may be able to play tour guide.
The House that Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams
by Tanya Lee Stone (Author), Kathryn Brown (Illustrator)
Jane Addams was the first female Nobel Peace Prize winner. She transformed a poor area of Chicago. Read about her legacy before the trip.
Chicago Travel Guides for Kids
Kids should have a say in trips, but often don’t know what there is to see and do. So, give them a travel guide and let them mark up the pages (either directly or with sticky notes) so that you know what interests them more. Then use their plans for your plans and everyone will be happy. Or, at least, that’s what we can hope for.
Here are a few travel guides.
Ultimate Kids Adventure Guide to Chicago
by Sarah Parisi (Author)
This adventure guide just screams – KIDS HAVING A GOOD TIME IN CHICAGO!
111 Places for Kids in Chicago You Must Not Miss
by Amy Bizzarri (Author), Susie Inverso (Photographer)
Whether you call Chicago home or you call Chicago that cool city in Illinois we’re going to be visiting – this list of 111 places for kids to visit in Chicago is a great checklist-type book that keeps the must-sees easily organized.
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Chicago books for adults
If you want to read some Chicago set books for kids, but also some choices for yourself, check out my travel-themed family book club post for Chicago.
Want to add any books to the Chicago list, let us know in the comments.
Chicago resources for traveling families
Do you want to join other like-minded families who are interested in learning about other cultures via books and travel? Join our Facebook Group. I approve new members daily. It’s still small but growing.