I originally published this post in January 2016 under the title of “Children’s books about New Orleans”. The original post included tips about teaching kids about Mardi Gras and four book recommendations for books set in New Orleans. Since then I’ve started a series of books called “Best Children’s Books for a Trip to” which focuses on books to be used for getting kids excited about a trip. I’ve decided to update this post to be part of that series. The Mardi Gras content can be found in Mardi Gras Picture Books for Kids and the upcoming post, Teaching Kids about Mardi Gras. So here’s a list of the best children’s books for a trip to New Orleans.
Books are key to successful family trips. They help get kids excited about what they’re going to experience, are great reference points for what they’re seeing once there, and make perfect souvenirs to keep that trip in the kid’s memories afterward. Here are some books to help your family plan a great New Orleans vacation.
Board books for families visiting New Orleans
Hello, New Orleans!
by Martha Zschock (Author)
This book introduces the littlest traveler to the city via colorful illustrations. Learn about the unique sites and interesting tour options that make New Orleans a destination for all ages. Aimed for ages 2-5.
Dreaming of New Orleans: Counting Down Around the Town
by Gretchen Everin (Author), Jared Souza (Illustrator)
Countdown from 10 to 1 in this board book geared towards the youngest travelers. Count and learn about New Orleans.
Children’s book about Hurricane Katrina
Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans
by Phil Bildner (Author), John Parra (Illustrator)
There’s often a lot said about the spirit of New Orleans. That spirit is definitely in the city’s people. This story tells about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and the story of Cornelius Washington. In the aftermath of Katrina he organized volunteers to help clean the city.
Children’s books about Food in New Orleans
Beignets for Breakfast
by Jeanette Rose Weiland (Author), Allison Lemon (Illustrator)
Beignets are the best. And though this book includes Beignets in its title, it’s about more than that. It’s about other foods, sites, and sounds that people in New Orleans use to identify their city – and perfect for visitors to help prepare them for a trip.
New Orleans! #4 (Recipe for Adventure)
by Giada De Laurentiis (Author), Francesca Gambatesa (Illustrator)
Food and New Orleans go together well. This series by the Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis is a fun way to experience a place. Here the adventures take the reader on a trip to the food-side of New Orleans.
Children’s books about Jazz + New Orleans
by Troy Andrews (Author), Bryan Collier (Illustrator)
Trombone Shorty is A 2016 Caldecott Honor Book and Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Award Winner. It was written by Troy Andrews, Trombone Shorty himself, and in addition to being set in New Orleans – shares the story of the struggle, passion, and perseverance as he became a musician.
Welcome to Jazz: A Swing-Along Celebration of America’s Music, Featuring “When the Saints Go Marching In”
by Carolyn Sloan (Author), Jessica Gibson (Illustrator)
This is not a book specifically about New Orleans. It is a book that introduces kids to jazz and includes some of the sounds to make the famous song, “When the Saints Go Marching In.” I think this is a fun addition to any New Orleans family trip planning toolbox.
Children’s Guide to New Orleans
All That Jazz! a Kid’s Guide to New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
by Penelope Dyan (Author), John D. Weigand (Photographer)
This kid’s guide is geared towards early readers preparing for a trip to New Orleans. It’s a great tool for parents to help their kids get excited about what they’ll do while visiting, help the famous sites more recognizable, and learn about the city.
Quick tips for Visiting New Orleans with Kids
In addition to the books above, you may also want to pick up a travel guide with a lot of photos to help plan details of the trip. I like the DK series.
I can’t speak to traveling to New Orleans with kids and specific sites, but on my many trips to the city pre-kids, I enjoyed ghost tours, the food, and mardi gras. I found these tours that cover those areas. Maybe they’re of interest to your family?
Fun walking tours in New Orleans
One of my favorite things to do when I travel is a ghost tour. One of the best ghost tours I’ve ever experienced is in New Orleans. While my tour was pre-kids, I think a good kid-friendly ghost tour would be an interesting way to learn about the history of the city.
Another fun tour in any city, but especially a food city, is a food tour. Experience creole cuisine, beignets, po-boys and more with this food tour.
Kids who like vibrant colors and parades may appreciate a behind-the-scenes look at Mardi Gras’s preparation. What a fun thing to be able to experience as a family.
In addition to those tours, don’t forget to stop at Cafe du Monde for the world’s best beignets. It’s worth the line.
New Orleans Hotels
What books would you encourage visitors to read? What spots should people make sure to visit on their trip? Let us all know in the comments!