Kids Love Discovery
It was a great resource and for my older child (daughter age
7), it was particularly useful. My 4 year old son was bribed
around galleries with promises of seeing the works of all 4
Ninja Turtles - Donatello, Rafael, Michelangelo and Leonardo. He
was suitably impressed. Craig C
WOW! We got your book this week and it is EXCELLENT! I've
been sharing with the boys and they are ready to order Pokémon
gelato, to see what blood oranges look like, and to count how
many different shapes of pasta they can find. I think we'll get
them each a small pad to carry around. Stacy
Received the book on Saturday. I actually bought it for my
nieces who are going to Italy this summer w/their parents. They
are 12 & 13 years old. I looked through the book and I think
it's fabulous. This is the best book I've seen for kids. It
makes everything more interesting & fun. I'll recommend to
"Received your books about 2 business days after
ordering!! Very impressed. Also extremely impressed on what the
books include. Our kids, as well as us, were excited to read
through the journals and get a taste of what they will be
experiencing. Many interesting facts to read. My dad has been to
Italy 3 times and enjoyed reading through it too. Fantastic
"I just had to write to say thank you so much for your
prompt shipment of Kids Europe - Italy Edition. It is
fantastic!!! My daughter and I have been pouring through it. She
is 9YO and has not been very excited about this trip - your
fantastic book has really made a difference in her attitude -
she is now counting down the days until we leave. I am not sure
who is more excited to use the book she or I. Thank you again.
"Your guide book and Rome map were a great addition to
our trip. The kids were able to add great facts to our vacation.
Here they are reading your map in Rome and on the street in
"I recommend your products to people all the time. I
know a friend ordered the UK book and loves it. She is going
there for a year with her family. In fact, they are planning to
homeschool their son and will use your book as a basis for their
exploration. Thanks, Amy"
"Our children particularly enjoyed the sections on art,
gelato and police. They wished it had been in color, but
understood the idea of the spiral bound copy and the opportunity
to add one's own color. They have been in school in England and
this trip represented a break from school for them.
Consequently, the more activity or workbook style parts were not
used as much as I think they might have been had we travelled
during a summer vacation or a spring vacation from school where
they were not taking work with them while were gone." Lucy
"Loved the Italy discovery Journal. Really a great way
for the kids to learn about Italy and its culture." Debra
"We used your Italy Discovery Journal everyday while on
our trip in June. My 6 year old begged me to help her write in
it daily." John O.
"Without first seeing it I didn't know if it would be
appropriate for my son, just age 5. It was fabulous for him, and
there were plenty of pages that he could do at his level! Thank
you for making such a versatile book for both kids including my
8 year old daughter. Needless to say, we had a phenomenal trip
to Italy (Venice and Rome) in Nov. 2006 which was made
extraordinary by your book. The kids learned so much! We have
had a large chance to travel Europe as we are an American family
living in Ireland, and this was one of our best trips, thanks to
your book! With much appreciation, Tanya B"
"Had a wonderful holiday in Italy last year and not only
my eight year old grandson made good use of your journal, so did
his mum, auntie and Grandma. We all learned things not found in
any other book we had purchased. So thanks for making our
holiday great – and a learning experience for all of us.
The coin holders I got were also a great success with many
nights spent emptying wallets looking for that elusive coin! I
think we came home with only two sets not complete. Maybe next
I look forward to receiving your newsletter in the future.
Thanks again for helping make our holiday a success for four
generations." Chris M.
ordered Italy Discovery Journal for my 5 1/2 year old
daughter. We all enjoyed it, it really helped keep her
busy looking for things. She felt like she was a little
secretary keeping notes on everything." Cindy B.
"Basically I was very impressed with the amount of
information and the ideas in the book. I will definitely bring
the book along and recommend it. I liked the fact that the
information was just as interesting as an adult. There is so
little geared towards older kids & teens, so it is great to
have a reference type book. I hope the comments are useful, and
I applaud you for figuring out how to collect and organize all
that information." Shelly I.
"Fabulous family vacation in Italy...found the kids
going back over their journals just the other day! We will
certainly keep you in mind should we travel abroad again..love
KidsEurope! Take Care, Catherine A."
"At first glance, the book looks very interesting and
unlike any other I've managed to find. Travel books for children
are thin on the ground so well done for producing this
one." Ian H, South Africa
"We just returned from 15 days in Italy. The book was
the best investment for our twelve year old daughter. She
brought it with her during our daily trips to museums and
churches. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone
traveling to Italy with a child from 8-14. It kept her busy for
hours and she has something to look back on from her trip.
Thanks" Terri T, Tampa, Florida
"Your guides for Florence and Rome were wonderful,
specially for the children. We really liked them. My oldest son
Chris used it during our stays in Rome and Firenze." Al C
"The Journal arrived a couple of days ago and I have
been having such fun going through it! You have included so
much! (I LOVE finally getting the rules to Italian card
games!)" Gail P
"I am so excited about this journal! Our son is
going to love it - along with the games/money holders/etc. There
is really nothing targeted to kids, that speaks to kids about
how to experience travels abroad in a fun way. Even the food
section is going to pique his curiosity such that he might
actually eat something besides bread and cocacola while he is
there....or at least he can find all the different shapes of
bread, thanks to you. :)" Liz H
"I just wanted to let you that we just got back from
Italy and my kids carried their Italy Journals every where we
went. My fifth grader is doing a book report for school on the
book and her trip! I would love to see this idea expanded to
other countries! Good Job!" Amy G
"I've just finished printing out the Italy Discovery
Journal, and I had to write immediately.
Frankly, I am never, NEVER impressed with materials like
this. I have a teaching and educational television background,
and every single time I bite on someone else's efforts, they
turn out to be--at best--a good start. I always end up doing it
myself, because I have to be thorough and it has to be good.
I bow, utterly and completely, to you and The Italy Discovery
Journal! The breadth and depth of content, the organization, the
attention to all learning styles . . . and the sense of fun! It
all leaves me humble. I had no idea what I was getting when I
When, oh when, will you branch out to other countries?
[working on Great Britain pb]
Thank you so much for making this available. I want you to
know that I fully understand the amount of time this took, and I
greatly appreciate and honor it." Laurie O
"We recently returned from a week in Rome with our 8, 6,
and 4 year olds. We had a fabulous time thanks in no small part
to your journal. We carried the journals everywhere we went and
were able to do things we never would have dreamed of without
them. For example, we were willing to risk a tour of the
colosseum because the kids could write, read, and draw during
the tour when they got bored (as opposed to whining loudly and
distracting us and everyone else like they usually do on
"We used your guide a lot. It really kept our kids
interested in all that they were seeing. Thanks for a great
book..." Justin B.
"Kids love your book. On the train from Rome to Lugano
read it a lot, did the word find (some hard ones to find), and
my daughter writes in the journal every day." Joshua R.
"...my son Nick really enjoyed your book. He took it
with him on our car rides to our destinations and learned so
much from it. He was often educating us on what we were
seeing!" Suzy F.
"We thought the journals were great and used them as the
main guide for planning our daily activities. Moving the focus
of our trip to seeing the Italian lifestyles and not the
museums/tourist sites was something I had not thought of and
enjoyed myself as much as seeing the sights, esp since I had
been to Italy twice before and did the tourist rat race thing
then. We esp. enjoyed the page tracking license plates and
gelatto flavors." KJB
"Our girls loved the journal--it was
helpful before the trip to give them some ideas of what they
might see and things to do, and sparked some lively dinner-time
discussions of the impending trip. During the trip, it
made time on the Autostrada, on trains, and waiting in
restaurants go by much faster. They especially loved the idea of
keeping track of all of the kind of transportation we went on,
and counting everything up became part of the game. Thanks!"
"Just wanted to tell you our kids, ages almost-15,
almost-12, and 7, all enjoyed their Italy Journals on our recent
first trip to Italy. We spent most of out time in the hill
towns south and east of Siena, with a day in Florence and Rome.
All 3 of the kids (2 girls and a boy) were amused by different
parts of the journal, and enjoyed informing their parents of
interesting facts we would have missed. I read the Journal
before we left for Italy, and much of the interesting everyday
information in there I found no where else in my EXTENSIVE
reading! Also, my son enjoyed filling in his Euro coin card--he
had all but the smallest coins by the time we arrived back at
the airport to come home, and a very helpful cashier at the food
area gave him the rest!" Laurie S.
"Your journals were WONDERFUL! They really made many of
the sites meaningful and real to our kids (Sarah 10 and Emily
8)... we loved looking at [license] plates and tracking all we
saw while driving [even mom and dad]. We’d highly recommend
your journals for anyone going to Italy with kids. Thank you
again and good luck." Rich & Amy, Raleigh, NC
"We had an AMAZING time! I must tell you that between
your suggestions using the newsletter and a book that i took
with us called "Italy With Kids"
it was a fabulous trip...the kids took turns planning activities
and meals and having reservations as the museums etc helped keep
us off all long lines etc...i can honestly say it was one of the
most well planned and acitivated trips we've ever taken. The
kids learned how to use the various vaporetto lines in Venice,
how to use the red and blue train lines in Rome and how to ride
the trenitalia thru the various regions, find the correct track
and correct train..for there are different train areas for
different ticket holders... we took that journal
EVERYWHERE! in fact it was in a backpack being carried around on
daily and what i did was got my little one a plain hard covered
spiral drawing book with those twistable crayons and that way
she was able to draw some of her favorite things of the day
while we were dining etc." Carol G
"We had a marvelous trip to Italy. We were downloading
the Italy Journal on our last day before we left for Italy. My
husband was irritated with this last minute thing that I added
to his to-do list. We stuffed the journal in one of the kids'
backpacks and headed to Florence. Once there, we pulled out the
journal on second day, (we were bleary-eyed that first day), and
then took it with us everywhere. We were completely delighted.
So thank you! We bought Italian playing cards, and learned to
play Scopa. We conducted treasure hunts for obelisks and
fountains. We learned a lot, and often brought it to restaurants
so the girls could flip through it while they waited for their
food to arrive. They loved the idea of watching the modesty
police at the Vatican. It cracked them up. We had gelati at
least twice each day and ate pasta at least once. They loved
learning the gelati flavors and pasta shapes. The girls are now
expert in ordering gelati the way they like it." Jill L,
"Thanks for the deck
of cards you sent to me and my sister! Whats cool about them
is we now know where all the places and sites are ! We LOVED
that journal. It was really great. I would work in it everyday
and Jara would help me. Shes 6 and still doesnt read that well
so it was a joint work sometimes. We all really want to go
back! That should be fun. WEll thanks alot! I need to
leave for school now :)" Alana G
"Hi - Just wanted to let you know that I printed out the
Italy Journal and had it cut and bound, and its just wonderful!
My family is leaving for Italy on Wednesday, and my kids were
very excited to read about Italy in a book they could understand
and appreciate. What a great idea!!" Kathy S
"We had a wonderful time in Italy, in part thanks to
your terrific book. The kids really used it, and my husband
and I found ourselves reading and enjoying it, too."
was terrific! Let me know what I can do to help you promote
that fabulous book! I'm telling you we used it EVERYWHERE...we
found the various flags in Siena, the eagle, the turtle, the
unicorn...we used it in Venice, Florence, Rome, Amalfi,
etc...it was the BEST!!!! as were all the terrific ideas!
Thanks again for that journal and those newsletters with other
great ideas!" Carolyn G.
"We love the
journal!!!" Kecia B.
"When I ordered the Italy Discovery Journal last
spring, I wasn't sure if my 11 yr. old daughter would be very
interested in using it on our trip. We just returned from
Italy and I wanted to let you know how much she enjoyed the
Journal. Her very favorite part was about the contradas in
Siena. We walked all over Siena and found all but one contrada,
that made Siena her favorite part of the trip. She also
enjoyed writing down all of the different types of gelato she
tried, counting the number of steps on the Spanish steps,
looking for the different fountains in Rome and looking for
the flood high water marks on the buildings in Florence. I
also enjoyed all the little pieces of information we learned
from the Journal. Thanks!" Krista Swenson
"It is a brilliant journal, chocked full of wonderful
ideas that children and adults can use to enrich their
experience of Italy. The comments and advice to adults were
helpful as were the topics and questions that targeted
attention. It is a goldmine of good ideas." BB Vargo.
"Thank you for your contribution to a wonderful visit
to Italy with our children....it definitely enhanced our time
and your observations about Italy came into play in a
different way than our guide book. We vastly preferred all
glimpses of 'real' Italy which pre-reading your book helped us
to catch...the bride and groom posing at the coliseum, the
arguing taxi drivers, kissing couples...etc. The gelato page
was a big hit with my younger child and we really liked some
of the 'color' stories you added to the major sights in Rome.
It was like a guide book for kids." Laurie Tasharski
"I think my daughter enjoyed assembling her journal as
much as using it. She got very creative and made a really
fancy journal, with a carrying case that she took everywhere.
She pasted it full of tickets and postcards and candy
wrappers." CH, Phoenix
"I’m 11 and I liked the
church of the bones. My friends couldn't believe it."
"I got this book for my kids and they enjoyed it.
But I kept finding it in my husband’s hands. He’s not a
museum guy, but he sure enjoyed picking up on all the Italian
customs you pointed out." GL, Boston
Take Your Kids to Europe
Italy Discovery Journal is the best educational
travel-guide available for kids. Starting with the reasonable
assumption that other guides already list places to go and
things to see, Pat Byrne has largely skipped those listings.
In their place, she's created a unique collection of
activities that encourage kids 6-16 to truly observe and
interact with Italy during their visit. She challenges kids to
describe Italian school uniforms, list weird snack foods,
collect pasta shapes, and even look for people wearing charms
against Malocchio, the evil eye -- just to name a few of the
scores of activities included. Byrne's approach emphasizes
that travel should be dedicated to meeting people and learning
about a different culture rather than simply eyeballing
churches and museums -- and she gives families an excellent
set of tools to propel them in her recommended direction. As a
veteran author of the leading Europe-wide family travel guide,
I highly recommend "Italy Discovery Journal" and
anxiously await expansion of the series to other countries.
Cynthia W. Harriman, author
Take Your Kids to Europe (Globe-Pequot, 6th edition 2004)
Travel For Kids
The Italy Discovery Journal by P.L. Byrne is a wonderful
way for kids to soak up Italian culture and put things into a
journal – spot your favorite pasta shapes, watch the
easily-excited Italian drivers, pencil in favorite building
colors, collect postcards of your favorite landmark, and many
Travel With Your Kids
by Peter Van Buren
While we encourage everyone to travel with their kids
however their family enjoys traveling (hey, it is your
vacation after all), regular readers know we have a sweet spot
in our hearts for families that try and do more than parade
through foreign countries as if they were theme parks. For one
thing, theme parks always have long lines, and the ice cream
is overpriced. Seriously now, we think that the experience of
trying to see how other people really live, eat and all the
other things people do is a rewarding one, and one which can
make family travel a rich experience.
Good Stuff: What's Inside It then comes as no
surprise that we really like this book. The Italy Discovery
Journal is 162 pages of text, graphics and directed activities
that will make any kid's journey to ...[Italy] a more
fulfilling experience. The Journal will also enable parents to
enjoy some of the historical and archeological sites by
allowing kids an age-appropriate way to explore something that
they otherwise might not immediately find as exciting as say
the 30 year old “Flipper” reruns on Italian TV.
The Journal begins with a list of over 100 topics to be
covered, from gelato shops to the Catacombs, with stops along
the way for pizza, fashion, spycraft, Martyrs, ruins, Black
Death and castles. Each topic is a stand-alone thing, so you
and your children can choose the ones which interest you most.
Style and Feel The exposition style is first-rate. For
example, the topic “Stony Streets” has kids notice what
things are used for paving in Rome, drawing them downwards to
study the shape of a “cobble stone” beneath their feet.
The Journal suggests kids kneel and imagine themselves laying
stone, only to discover that the patterns in the cobblestones
are not random or cheap art, but in fact are made by the arc
one would naturally use when placing stones from a fixed
position. That's pretty cool teaching—poke the kids and be
amazed when they discover a truth on their own.
I picked the cobble stone example because it paves the way
(sorry) to introduce another nice feature of the Journal.
Topics are classified on the bottom of each page as being
place-specific or as “everywhere.” You can pull out the
place-specific pages as appropriate, and keep a stash of “everywhere”
pages for any point in the trip where they will be useful. You
can make a game of it, as each page has a parental initials
box. The author suggests prizes—like say an ice cream—when,
for example, the kids complete ten pages on their own.
If you don't exactly get in your mind's eye what this
Journal looks like and how it works, the author has put some
sample pages up on her web site. Take a look now if you like;
I'll wait right here.
For older children, there are topics that encourage them to
listen for certain words in Italian, or challenge them to
speak to a waiter, or sort out the meanings of various hand
gestures (and no, not that naughty one, thank you, now run
along). Pages that encourage them to learn about the She-Wolf
legend of Rome's founding or one of the many wars Rome fought,
as well as fashion pages and restaurant food guides, mean that
there is something for everyone. If your kids are old enough
to remember the Teenage Ninja Turtles, there is a page that
talks about their names (Raphael, da Vinci, et al) and the
real-life famous people who had the monikers before they
While the author states that the Journal is for ages 6-16,
I would say based on exhaustive testing that involved dragging
my kids into the room here that perhaps a better target range
might be more like 7-14.
A Minor Quibble About the only thing I did not like about
this Journal is that it is available at present only as an “e-book”.
You pay the US$6.99 and the Journal comes flying to you as an
email attachment in Adobe PDF format. You either already have
the free PDF reader you'll need, or can get it free as an easy
download right here. You then have to print it out, all 162
pages. If you don't have a color printer, you'll miss out on
the nice graphics (though they will of course print in black
and white). If you have an old color ink jet, the printing
process will be quite long. On the other hand, waiting for a
traditional publisher to agree to put something like this out
can take some time, and your vacation would be over by then,
your frequent flyer miles nothing but a faded memory.
Conclusion But enough of that. This Journal is a
great thing to have as you are planning a trip to Italy, and
will make the travel itself a much fuller experience for you
and your kids. The Journal is only US$6.99. You are not going
to get this much good stuff for less than ten bucks anywhere
The Journal is available as a downloadable “e-book”
from the author's web site.