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Travel adventure for kids

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Exciting travel adventure books for kids
Amanda in Arabia

Amanda in Arabia

The Perfume Flask
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Amanda Ross closed her eyes, made a wish and blew out the candles on her birthday cake. She could have wished for anything, a new skateboard, an MP3 player or even a new bike; instead, Amanda wished for travel and adventure.

When she got the ticket in the mail to visit the United Arab Emirates she wasn’t surprised; after all, she had blown out every one of those twelve candles. All she knew about the United Arab Emirates was that her aunt and uncle lived there. When she found it on the globe in her dad’s office it looked awfully far away. Way farther than Regina and she hadn’t been anywhere past there. Perhaps she should have been more specific and asked for travel and adventure in Canada. In the future, she would be more careful when she made a wish.


A huge fan whirled overhead and a weird sound came from somewhere outside the window. Amanda sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes. Where was she? The room was unfamiliar. A clock in the corner glowed a green 4:30 A.M. There was that strange sound again, something between a chant and a moan. It got louder. She spotted her open suitcase on the floor and remembered. She was half–way around the world, visiting her Aunt Ella and Uncle Ben in the United Arab Emirates.

She tiptoed to the balcony of the third floor apartment. The tiles under her bare feet were still warm from the heat of the day before. There was a breeze coming off the sea but it was still pleasant enough to stand outside in her cotton pajamas. She watched the moon shimmer on the water and noticed the glow of a white mosque in the distance. The odd sound seemed to come from that direction. She felt like she was having a bizarre dream. Maybe she’d wake up and find herself back in her bedroom in Canada.

Amanda still couldn’t believe she had traveled all that way by herself. She had been excited, but nervous to go so far on her own. It turned out alright. Traveling without her parents was great. For one thing, she could do whatever she wanted. Her parents were OK, but all their rules drove her crazy. The people in the airports and on the planes were nice to her and treated her like a grown–up. The fifteen–hour flight didn’t even seem that long and had been super cool.

An Arab boy, returning home to Dubai, had turned off his headphones long enough to tell her to call the United Arab Emirates either the UAE or Emirates otherwise she would sound like a dork. No one, he reported, no one called it the United Arab Emirates unless they were fresh off a boat – or airplane in this case.

Before she left Calgary, Amanda wasn’t sure what to expect and was surprised to find that the country was so beautiful. Not beautiful in a pretty sort of way, but beautiful in an awesome sort of way. From the very start she knew she had come to a fascinating place.

Amanda was so tired when her Uncle Ben picked her up in his Jeep Cherokee from the Dubai Airport, but she didn’t dare fall asleep in case she missed something. She noticed the barren scenery of sand and rocks as they sped along the modern highway, interrupted occasionally with a splash of green, date–palm groves or white–washed buildings. Every so often, a magnificent mosque would rise up out of the landscape; the crescent moon-topped minarets reached far into the cloudless sky. The mosques looked even more amazing and mysterious than the pictures she had seen on the internet. It was all so unreal, like she had disappeared into a book. Even though she fought to stay awake, her eyes closed and her mind drifted to scenes of Aladdin from the stories she had read when she was little.

“You wanted to see a camel, Amanda. Well, look over here,” said her uncle, as he gestured out his window.

Her eyes popped open and there he was, her first camel, sauntering along the side of the road without a care in the world. He looked friendly and sleepy. She wanted to get out of the jeep, put her arms around him and give him a big hug.

“I can arrange it if you’d like to ride a camel,” said her uncle with a grin. “That is, if you’re not scared.”

“Scared? No way,” said Amanda, as she thought about what her friends back home would say. The most they could hope for this summer was a ride on a dude–ranch pony.

Uncle Ben stopped for gas at what looked like a regular Texaco gas station, except the writing on the sign was in the fluid lines of Arabic. A young man came over to the jeep. She recognized the long, flowing, white dishdasha and a white ghutra headdress tied in place with a black twisted rope from her internet research. He looked like he had stepped out of a storybook, or the bible.

He held out his hand and asked, “Where are you from?” His brown eyes were warm and friendly.

“Canada,” she said and shook his outstretched hand.

With a generous smile, he said, “I am Ali, welcome to my country!”

“My name is Amanda.” She smiled back, happy to have made her first Arabian friend.

The colour of the sand changed from creamy white to mocha to rust as they drove north toward the jagged mountains in the distance. Uncle Ben explained that there were many different colours of sand in the Emirates.

Amanda could feel her head bobble again even though she fought to stay awake. Soon they were driving alongside water that was so blue and clear it seemed like a post card. The blazing sun’s rays bounced off the water leaving a haze of sparkles.

“Is this the Persian Gulf?” Amanda knew that if she talked it would help her stay awake.

“Yes, it is,” said her uncle. “And if you were to take a boat and head straight across that way,” – he pointed – “you would land on the shores of the ancient land of Persia. Now, of course, the country is called Iran.”

“I’d much rather go by flying carpet,” Amanda laughed as she imagined a ride with Aladdin in search of ancient hidden treasures left behind by Alexander the Great.

“That ride will be a little more difficult to arrange,” replied her uncle, pretending to be serious. “But I’ll see what I can do.”

The foamy surf casually rolled over the fine, undisturbed sand. Amanda wondered why there were no people on the miles and miles of lonely, spotless beaches. Young school children lined up outside a school as they drove past. The children wore school uniforms similar to the kids back home. The teachers wore the traditional long, black overdress, called an abaya. Some covered their face with a sheer veil, others with a burqa face-mask that left only their eyes showing, and some did not cover their face at all.

The sun shone, the water glistened, the people smiled and waved, and little goats ran across the road as they traveled across unfamiliar territory. ‘What a totally amazing place I have come to,’ thought Amanda, as she finally dozed off.

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Why it's on the list ...
Amanda Jane Ross from Calgary, Alberta visits the United Arab Emirates and has an adventure of a lifetime as she learns about this amazing country.
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Amanda in Spain

Amanda in Spain

The Girl in the Picture
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Amanda smiled at the young girl across the room. She looked back at Amanda with unblinking, round eyes from a pale face framed with chestnut ringlets that tumbled past her shoulders. Her elaborate red and silver dress was much too big and too grown up for someone her age.

“Amanda, hurry up. Mom and Dad are going into the next room,” shouted Leah.

“I’m coming,” answered Amanda, as she gave the mysterious girl one last glance. She was about nine or ten; younger than Amanda. She looked friendly and Amanda had an urge to wave good-bye, but that would look just plain silly. The person smiling at her was part of a painting in the middle of Madrid’s Prado Museum.

When the email arrived from Leah in England inviting her to spend a holiday in Spain with her and her parents, Amanda Jane Ross jumped at the chance to visit another country. She looked up all kinds of information about Spain on the internet. Now that she was actually there, the massive buildings and the gigantic, marble sculptures in the middle of the streets seemed much older and larger than she imagined. She felt like she had gone back to the time of the Crusades and expected, at any minute, a knight to come charging around a corner on his white stallion.

The melodious sound of Spanish spoken by the friendly citizens made her feel welcome. They would often shout “Hola!” which Amanda knew meant, “Hello.” Leah and Amanda walked through the marble hallways and galleries of the museum, looking at the paintings and sculptures. Happy to be together again, they had so much to talk about. Like what they had been doing since they last saw each other, how they first met in the United Arab Emirates and their adventures in the desert.

“This will be a quieter holiday,” reported Amanda.

Leah laughed, “Yes, I remember how you got us both into trouble last time, my crazy Canadian friend.”

That night when Amanda went to bed in the hotel room, her head full of the many wonderful things she had seen and done that day, her mind kept going back to the girl in the painting. Amanda had a keen desire to get to know her, but since she had been painted over three hundred years ago, that was quite impossible. Just as she was about to fall asleep, she remembered the sign underneath the painting read Doña Margarite. She decided to look up some information about her on the internet when she got a chance.

The next morning after breakfast, Amanda, Leah and her parents went shopping. The warm smell of coffee greeted Amanda as they walked down a street lined with outdoor tables and chairs, occupied with people sipping coffee and reading newspapers.

Amanda looked up. Above the shops, people stood on balconies looking down at them. They looked real, except they were dressed in old-fashioned clothes with hair piled up high on top of their heads. Similar to the paintings she saw yesterday. They also didn’t move. One of the figures smiled at Amanda, turned around, and went inside. Definitely not a statue – but a real girl wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt. The strange thing was, her face, and her smile, looked exactly like the girl in the painting. “Come along Amanda. Why are you so interested in all these old buildings and things? Wait until you see the lovely shop over here. You will just go mad over the fashions.” Leah grabbed her arm and pulled her along.

Amanda wasn’t sure she actually saw what she thought she saw – a modern day girl, who looked exactly like Doña Margarite.

After some shopping, they had a drink and a snack at an outdoor cafe. Amanda and Leah drank descafeinado con leche, coffee with milk and no caffeine. Amanda loved the smooth, milky, coffee flavour and knew she would want another while she was in Spain.

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Why it's on the list ...
Amanda Jane Ross visits Spain where she experiences many cultural events across the varied terrain of this interesting country.
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Amanda in England

Amanda in England

The Missing Novel
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Amanda peered out the window, through the mist, down onto smoking chimneys and blackened roofs. Her excitement grew as the airplane descended.

‘Here I am, at last, in the land of the Potters – Beatrix and Harry,’ Amanda thought as the plane lurched to a halt at Heathrow Airport, London.

She followed the other passengers to the luggage retrieval. Although she had only flown outside of Canada twice before, she felt quite comfortable with the process. She took her bag off the luggage carousel and proceeded to the customs gate.

“Hey you!” shouted someone behind her. Amanda turned to see a teenage girl with a bright pink Mohawk, tons of make up, earrings everywhere and a very short skirt. “You sure that’s your bag?”

“Yes, I am.” Amanda looked at the luggage tag. “See – here, this is my name.”

“Um, so you’re Amanda Ross – from Canada I see.” The girl examined the luggage tag. “Sorry t’bother you. Ta Ta. Stay out of trouble.” She winked at Amanda with a dark lined eyelid, caked with mascara. She joined a teenage boy with tattooed arms wearing an England T-shirt and ripped jeans.

When Amanda emerged from customs, she found Leah and her dad waiting for her with balloons and flowers and a big sign that said, “Welcome to England, Amanda!”

“Wowza! Look at you,” said Leah as she gave her a big hug. “I think you’ve grown.”

“I don’t know about that - but you sure have,” said Amanda as she looked up at her tall, thin friend.

“Let’s get you out of here,” said Mr. Anderson as he took Amanda’s bag from her. “I am sure you’re tired after the long flight and most likely hungry.”

“It wasn’t nearly as long a flight as to the United Arab Emirates or even to Spain,” replied Amanda.

She shivered when they got outside. With a slight drizzle, the air felt damp. Mr. Anderson led them to a shiny, silver-grey BMW. He put Amanda’s bag in the trunk, went around to the passenger side and said, “You girls can sit in the back together. It’s unlocked.” He got in and sat in the passenger seat.

‘That’s weird,’ thought Amanda. ‘Who is going to drive? Do they have a chauffeur?’

It was when Mr. Anderson started the car; she noticed the steering wheel on the right side. “Now, that is strange,” she murmured.

They eventually found their way out of the busy airport parking lot. As Leah’s dad turned to exit he pulled into the wrong lane. “Oh no!” Amanda squeezed her eyes shut for the inevitable head on collision.

“What’s wrong, Amanda?” Leah asked with a concerned look.

“I thought we were going to have an accident.” Amanda opened her eyes and looked out the window at the many cars driving toward them – on the opposite side of the road.

Leah’s dad chuckled, “We drive on the left side of the road over here. I guess that must seem odd to you. You must be careful when crossing the street as you must look right, left and then right again.”

Amanda breathed a sigh of relief. “That’s weird, but good to know. I’ll be careful. Even though you speak the same language here, there will be some things new and different, I guess.”

Leah gave her arm a squeeze. “I’m so glad you’re here. We’ll have bags of fun. I can’t wait to take you shopping at Harrods downtown. Mom said we can go on the London Eye too.”

Amanda wanted to ask about the London Eye, but she was too tired and too excited as they drove through London towards the suburb of Guildford, where the Andersons lived. All the books she read about England flipped through her mind. Once again, she felt like she was living inside a novel.

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Why it's on the list ...
Amanda Jane Ross experiences the history and literary scene of London, Windsor and the Isle of Wight as she tries to find out what happened to a missing vintage novel.
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