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Did you know that National Adventure Day and National Hero Day were earlier this month? I thought it would be fun to talk about what an adventure actually is and then share some that you can go on from the comfort of your couch. I included books for readers of all levels, so the whole family can adventure together.
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A Little about me
For all of my new readers out there, I am Emily! I love reading and have easily read over 2,000 books. The Book Nanny was created to be a resource for readers trying to find a good book to read. Nothing is worse than getting partway through a book before you find yourself skipping inappropriate scenes or cringing from crude language. Each post about a book has a Parent Guide and a short explanation of why I rated it the way I did. I love hearing your opinions on the books or know what you want me to write about next. So use the contact form, comment on a blog post or social media post, or send me an email. Now, time for an adventure.
Who likes Adventuring?!
Who else loves new or different experiences? I love exploring new places in nature, trying a new restaurant, or taking another route home to see something new. Some of my latest adventures have taken me to over half the states in the United States. Plus, living on both coasts and many places in between have brought plenty of new experiences. One of my biggest dreams is to travel all over the world. My bank account and other obligations say no for now.
Guess what?! There is a low-cost, easy solution to adventuring that also takes out the aspect of danger. Read a book! You can find a book set in any location at any time throughout time. You could adventure through Middle Earth, head to Hogwarts, or steal back stolen paintings. There are adventures set in fantastical settings, and others take place in our backyard.
What is an adventure?
The dictionary says it is “an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks” where you will be “[exposed] to danger or loss.” In other words, you do something but don’t know how it will turn out, and you will be exposed to danger in the process. Honestly, that sounds like a long way to describe any trip I take with my toddler. This definition is also a perfect description of a grocery store run in the middle of a pandemic (especially if toilet paper or Clorox wipes are on your list).
Iconic Adventure Books!
Here are some iconic adventure books I think everyone should read or at least know about. They are also great places to start exploring a new world.
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J. R. R. Tolkien
This is a classic adventure story that Tolkien wrote for his children. It is about a hobbit who is reluctant to go on an adventure with thirteen dwarves. They undertake a dangerous journey to raid the home of Smaug, who has taken over the dwarves ancestral home.
It is long-winded in some parts but is more kid and family-friendly than the other books in The Lord of the Rings Series. The Hobbit is a 6th-grade reading level and might be a good fit for middle-grade readers exploring fantasy. Here is where you can find it on Amazon.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
I feel like most people know who Harry Potter is, but if you don’t, this is one bandwagon you need to join!
Harry is an orphan, and on his eleventh birthday, he finds out that he is a famous wizard. Harry discovers Hogwarts, a school for wizards, and learns that being a wizard is much more than just waving a wand. As Harry tries to navigate this new world, and he stumbles into a mystery. He must solve it before the embodiment of evil can terrorize his newly discovered world of magic. Here is where you can find it on Amazon or check out all these books like Harry Potter.
The Hunger Games
The world of Panem isn’t magical like Middle-Earth or Hogwarts. However, from start to finish, Katniss is diving into the unknown to deal with risks and dangers in hopes of coming home alive. If you are already a Hunger Games fan, check out this post.
The Capital controls the twelve districts of Panem by forcing each to send one boy and one girl to participate in the annual Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are a fight to the death on live TV. Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take the place of her sister. She accepts that she has been sentenced to death. But survival comes easily to Katniss, and without meaning to, she becomes a contender. To win, she has to choose between survival and humanity, and life or love. Here is where you can find it on Amazon.
Adventure Picture Books
Even the youngest readers deserve a chance to go on an adventure with a book. Here are some of our favorite picture books with big stories.
How to Catch a Mermaid
This is a super cute story with amazing pictures about two friends who try to catch a mermaid. Each attempt brings them closer to success, but you will have to read the book to see if they catch the mermaid in the end. Here is where you can find it on Amazon.
The Monster at the End of This Book
The Monster at the End of This Book brings back memories of reading this with my Dad. He would read it in the voice of Grover as Grover tries to convince you not to turn any more pages. It is fun to discover who the monster at the end of the book is. Here is where you can find it on Amazon.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
The book is different from the movie. Food is still falling from the sky in Chew and Swallow, but the people have to figure out what to do when the food starts to get out of hand. The illustrations bring the book to life. Here is where you can find it on Amazon.
Beginner Chapter Books with Adventure
These books are for readers moving to slightly longer books, but still extremely easy to read. Each of these books is the first book in a series so your little reader can keep the fun going with the next book.
The Princess in Black
Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when the monster alarm goes off! A giant blue monster is going after the goats. Princess Magnolia has to sneak off and change into the monster-stopping Princess in Black and get back before Duchess Wigtower discovers her secret.
If you haven’t heard of The Princess in Black, you are missing out. It is filled with monsters and a princess in disguise who saves her kingdom with out-of-the-box problem-solving. Read more about The Princess in Black or get it on Amazon.
Dinosaurs Before Dark
While walking home one day, Annie and Jack find a mysterious tree house that just showed up. Before they can uncover its secrets, the treehouse transports them back in time. Now they have to figure out how to get back home in time for dinner.
The Magic Tree House Series is one adventure after another. Each book features the children being dropped into another time, and they have to find a way to get home. I like these easy reads. They are short and can entertain readers who become bored with other series. Read more about Dinosaurs Before Dark or get it on Amazon.
The Boxcar Children
Four orphan children are afraid of being split up, so they run away and make a home for themselves in a boxcar. They come up with creative solutions to their problems as they work together. This story shows the love between siblings and creative problem-solving.
The Boxcar Children is all about a group of siblings who learn to rely on each other for survival. Their story isn’t a typical adventure, but they face the unknown, loss, and fear. Read more about The Boxcar Children or get it on Amazon.
Middle-Grade Adventure Books
Middle-Grade books are normally for grades 4-6 where they are looking for longer but still age-appropriate books. Each of these is part of a series, so if your reader gets hooked they can keep on reading!
Kendra and Seth are staying with their grandparents while their parents go on vacation. Little do they know their grandfather is the caretaker of Fablehaven, a hidden refuge that mystical creatures have been flocking to for centuries to prevent extinction. However, this sanctuary of magic is far from safe. Curiosity and a few broken rules throw Kendra and Seth in the middle of a fight for their lives against the forces of evil. On their journey, they must conquer their fears to save the ones they love.
This is a fabulous book for late elementary school and early middle schoolers. It is a longer book but very engaging. Fablehaven is an adventure that two siblings go on together and would be a great book to read as a family. Read more about Fablehaven or get it on Amazon.
A Wrinkle in Time
On a dark and stormy night, a strange visitor comes to the Murry house. She asks Meg, her brother Charles Wallace and their new friend Calvin O’Keefe to go on a dangerous mission to save the universe. They accept and sweep off through the stars on an adventure that will threaten their lives.
This is a classic children’s novel with big ideas and themes. Check out this post for more about A Wrinkle in Time and the other adventures the characters go on in this series. It is also available on Amazon.
Luna’s Rescue tells the adventure of Luna, a crested gecko who loves her family. When her family disappears, she goes on a journey to rescue them. Along the way, she meets new friends and discovers the magic that can help find her family. However, Luna must learn that true magic comes from within.
This is a super cute book, and I recommend it for girls and boys. It is full of whimsy and overcoming self-doubt. Luna’s Rescue is marvelous and full of adventure. Read more about Luna’s Rescue and get it on Amazon.
Katarina Bishop is not a typical fifteen-year-old. All she wanted for her birthday was to be out of a life full of stealing and scamming and hide in a private school. But hiding from the family business doesn’t work for long. When her best friend, Hale, comes waltzing back into her life and brings news of her Dad, her life becomes a lot more complicated. The only solution is to find and steal back some paintings her Dad supposedly took and maybe steal her own life back in the process.
I don’t condone stealing. But, if you are stealing something to give it to the rightful owner, is it stealing? Heist Society is an entertaining, fast-paced adventure where kids have to outthink adults. Read more about Heist Society and get it on Amazon.
Dealing with Dragons
Princess Cimorene is sixteen and dislikes being a princess. She prefers practicing sword fighting or conjugating Latin verbs to embroidering and curtsying. So, she runs away to a bunch of dragons and volunteers to be their princess. She loves being a dragon’s princess, where her skills are finally appreciated. Until the princes start showing up. Over and over, she explains that she does not want to be saved. In the process, she meets witches and wizards and has to protect the Enchanted Forest.
Dealing with Dragons was one of my first adventures into fantasy after Harry Potter. It is full of magic and wit. Plus, I liked the original story about a princess who does not want to be rescued! Read more about Dealing with Dragons and get it on Amazon.
Teen and Young Adult Adventure Books
Teen and young adult books aren’t just for readers under the age of 25. The complex story plots and multi-dimensional characters will draw you in and hold you captive. These are also the books that I recommend to everyone! Some of the Adult books aren’t the best fit for every reader because of their content. However, I have no problems recommending any of these books. Each is also the start of a series so you can continue to explore this new world.
The Goose Girl
This is the story of Princess Anidora-Kilandra Tatianna Isilee, a crown princess who learned how to speak to birds. Years later, this knowledge helps her when the title of Crown Princess is taken away. She works as a goose girl while trying to stop a war.
A princess turned goose girl is quite the adventure. She goes from palace living to taking care of herself and trying to oust the traitors before a war is irrevocably started with her beloved country. This is a marvelous journey you will not want to miss! Read more about The Goose Girl and get it on Amazon.
Alex Rider knows his uncle’s death was not accidental. They said it was a car accident, and he wasn’t wearing his seat belt. When Alex tracks down the car and sees bullet holes, he knows he is right. They did not tell him that his uncle was on a top-secret mission. There is no turning back for Alex when he gets sucked into the work of spies and intrigue. At fourteen, he is surrounded by terrorists and has to outsmart people who want him dead. If his courage fails, every child in England will be murdered.
Stormbreaker is an action-packed book for middle school readers. It is the story of an unexpected adventure and the boy who must defy death to help save the lives of so many others. Read more about Stormbreaker and get it on Amazon.
Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean
Demons of the Ocean is the story of a set of twins – brother and sister – who are picked up by two different ships after a massive storm. Connor is taken aboard a pirate ship and learns how to sword fight. His sister Grace is rescued by a mysterious vessel of dangerous vampire pirates.
With both vampires and pirates involved, there are sure to be unexpected turns and some amount of risk involved. Both Connor and Grace go on an adventure that will change the course of their lives forever. Read more about Vampirates and get it on Amazon.
The Merchant of Death
Bobby Pendragon looks like a fourteen-year-old boy with average basketball skills. He is going to save the world, just not Earth. After kissing his crush, Bobby is pulled into a different dimension. Dropped into a medieval world in the middle of a revolution, he is told that he has to step up and lead the war if he ever wants to see his family again. But he will soon discover that Denduron is only the beginning.
The Merchant of Death is the first of ten adventures that Bobby goes on. This series is perfect for fans of Harry Potter or books packed with action and exploring new worlds and cultures. Read more about The Merchant of Death and get it on Amazon.
Elle lives with her step-monster and two step-sisters, who love spending time at the country club and spending money trying to become famous. Elle is a geek. She loves an old television show called Starfield and has her blog about it. Elle has mixed feelings about the actors in the movie adaptation and makes it know. Above all, her heart is set on winning the cosplay contest at the convention her Dad started before he died.
Darien Freeman is a teen actor who lived for cons before his life was taken over by acting. His biggest dream was to play Prince Carmindor in Starfield. As the convention draws closer, he feels more like an imposter until a mysterious girl changes his mind.
Geekerella explores the adventure of romance and how you have to step into the unknown and risk it all to have a shot at love. Plus, some of the things they get into together are hilarious! Read more about Geekerella and get it on Amazon.
Adventure Books for Adults
These books are all for adults and I highly recommend looking at the parent guides for each of these before letting younger children read them. Some of them would be great for kids but others, not so much.
A Court of Thorns and Roses
Feyre’s stomach is empty when she goes hunting for something to feed herself and her family. When she sees a massive wolf, she kills it and only thinks about how long it will take care of her family. Within a few days, a giant lion-like beast comes to her home, demanding she die or live the rest of her life in Prythian for killing a fae.
Just like that, Feyre lives in a castle cursed by magic and a High Lord who can transform into a beast. She is thrown into a world of magic, danger, and the unexpected around every corner. Read more about A Court of Thorns and Roses and get it on Amazon.
Robert Langdon is a professor of religious iconography and symbology. He shows up at the renowned ultramodern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, for an earth-shattering presentation by his friend and former student Edmond Kirsch. Edmond is a forty-year-old billionaire known for his sleek inventions and his predictions that come true. Tonight he plans to reveal his breakthrough that will answer two of the oldest questions in the universe.
As the presentation unfolds, chaos erupts, and the big news is almost lost forever. Langdon and Ambra Vidal, the museum director, are off on a dangerous quest to find the cryptic password to unlock the secret and unveil knowledge that will change the world. Join him on his journey. It is similar to The Da Vinci Code with twists and turns. Some parts are slow, but others will have you living on the edge of your seat. Read more about Origin and get it on Amazon.
The Lost Heiress
The return of Brooke’s best friend turns her life upside-down. Brooke has never fit in, but when her friend Justin discovers she is a missing heiress, she questions herself more than ever. As she adjusts to her new family, her life is endangered, and the mystery of her mother’s death is reopened. Brooke has to figure out the secret behind the death of her mother to save her own. Plus, will her friendship with Justin survive as he tries to run away from love?
The Lost Heiress is a fantastic historical fiction book with romance and a huge dose of action. The story is an adventure from beginning to end as Brooke discovers a new life and solves an old mystery. Read more about The Lost Heiress and get it on Amazon.
Area X has been cut off from the rest of civilization for decades. Various expeditions have gone in to explore what appears to be a pristine environment. The first expedition returned, but the rest never came back the same. Some team members developed fast-growing cancer, and others came back as shadows of themselves if they came back.
The twelfth expedition is a team of four females: an archeologist, a surveyor, a psychologist (or team leader), and a biologist. The biologist tells the story as the team collects specimens and explores Area X. They discover the unexpected. The more they uncover, the more they realize they know nothing.
Annihilation is a different kind of adventure and not for the faint of heart. This science fiction novel is filled with twists as we discover the secrets of Area X. Read more about Annihilation and get it on Amazon.
Tarzan of the Apes
After a mutiny on a ship strands an English couple on the remote African coast, their son is born in the wild. Soon after, he is orphaned and adopted by apes. The tribe of apes is reluctant to accept him, so Tarzan grows up as an outcast in a world filled with ferocious animals.
To survive, Tarzan learns the skills of the jungle: how to fight the great predators, talk with animals, and swing through trees. Through many adventures, he gains the title of Lord of the Jungle. When his jungle is invaded by civilized men, Tarzan must choose between two worlds.
Tarzan of the Apes is different from the Disney interpretation but so much better. This is the perfect book for non-readers. The adventures of Tarzan will make you glad you were not raised by apes. Read more about Tarzan of the Apes and get it on Amazon.
Ready for an Adventure?
Hopefully, this list of books has shown you that adventures come in all shapes and sizes. What type of adventures are you going to go on? Will you travel through time, explore somewhere new, save the world, solve a mystery or risk your heart in love? There are so many to choose from! I’m glad there is no limit to the number of adventure books one can read.
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This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and decide to buy, I make a small commission for referring you. This helps me make a few cents for doing what I love.