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What we’re reading: the family edition

Take the glazed look off your sulky teen’s face with this fascinating view into street life around the world

What we’re reading: the family edition

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Travelling with teens is an even more intense version of life with teens. They’re determined not to be impressed by anything you suggest or any wisdom you try to impart. Every idea is met with a shrug, or a ‘whatevs’.

Which is why I snapped up the recently published Streets of the World, by Belgian photojournalist Jeroen Swolfs, who spent seven years documenting everyday street life in 195 countries. The book is an incredible insight into living conditions, food, pastimes, passions and habits — and young people — around the globe.

Among the arresting images are kids playing volleyball on an airstrip on Tuvalu in the Pacific, a policewoman supervising non-existent traffic in North Korea, alluring food stalls in Singapore and families queuing for food after a tsunami in Samoa — the book is an invitation to travel and discover, but is also wonderfully thought-provoking.

Swolfs looks behind the tourist-paradise image of the Maldives, for instance, to the poverty of Malé, tacitly asking what kind of travellers we want to be. And alongside images of shabby public boats in Brunei is a list of their Sultan’s 5,000-strong car collection.

This isn’t a cheap tome, but as a gift to inspire and awaken teens (and maybe make them realise just how lucky they are), it’s a must.

Streets of the World by Jeroen Swolfs. RRP: £39.95 (Lannoo Publishers)

Take me away

BABIES AND TODDLERS
Night Sounds by Sam Taplin and Federica Iossa
Listen to owls, foxes and other nocturnal animals.
RRP: £12.99 (Noisy Books).

PRE-SCHOOLERS
The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Africa’s least loved beasts.
RRP: £8.99 (Alison Green Books).

PRIMARY SCHOOLERS
Dinosaur Atlas by Lonely Planet Kids
Discover prehistoric lands and the creatures that roamed them.
RRP: £12.99 (Lonely Planet).

TWEENS
The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens
A family trip to New York turns 12-year-old Ted into a detective.
RRP: £6.99 (Puffin).

TEENS
Atlas of Adventure by Lonely Planet
Ideas for thrill-seekers — fancy volcano-diving in El Salvador?
RRP: £24.99 (Lonely Planet).

Published in the Family Travel guide, free with the Jan/Feb 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)