Parenting  |  Travel

Travel-Inspired Book Picks From 5 Washington Moms

Five busy moms share their favorite novels for trips this summer.

Diving into a good book can transport you to a faraway place, without the hassle of TSA lines. Five on-the-go moms share their favorite travel-inspired reads.

Bethanne Patrick

Washingtonian Books Editor; Mom to Claire, 21, and Eleanor, 16

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

“Any mom will recognize the family dynamics, both tense and tender, that occur in this new novel. Each participant’s life is illuminated, but in a sun-washed, beachy manner, rather than by spotlight. It had me yearning for a direct flight anywhere warm, sandy, and welcoming.”

Sarah Wildman

Writer, author of Paper Love, to be released this fall; Mom to Orli, 5, and Hana, 1

Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas

“I like books set where I am traveling, so The Sun Also Rises while in San Sebastian; Giovanni’s Room while in Paris. My favorite book on Spain is Soldiers of Salamis, the first novel that really grappled with Spain’s civil war in a way so relatable it makes you see and feel modern Spain like nothing else. I wept reading it the first time, on a plane.”

Monica Bhide

Writer; Mom to Jai, 14, and Arjun, 7

My Kind of Place by Susan Orlean

“This is the book that made me want to travel 100 percent of the time. I want to go with her to explore African music in Paris, to the trailer park in Oregon, to the taxidermists’ conference, to climb Mount Fuji …. To paraphrase the great traveler Ibn Battuta, I was left speechless by the travels that turned her into a storyteller, and inspire me to become one.”

Elizabeth Thorp

Founder of; Mom to Isabelle, 11, and Lucy, 10, and Penelope, 7

I Married Adventure: The Lives of Martin and Osa Johnson by Osa Johnson

“This book makes you want to go on safari, sell all your worldly goods, and travel. I have a vintage copy with the original zebra-print cover.”

Sarah Wright

Senior Technical Editor, Federal Reserve Board; Mom to Johnston, 13, and Hugh, 10, and Duncan, 8

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

“This book seemed more exotic the more kids I had. Walking briskly, for hours, carrying a backpack rather than a whiny child? Leisurely meals in restaurants, and beers in a centuries-old pub? Sleeping soundly, alone in a hotel? Tell me more. Tell me again.”