Italy with KidsWhat customers say about how their family travel in was enhanced by Discovery Journals


Italy Discovery Journal
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Kids Love Discovery Journals

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 others." Laura

"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 buy!!" Angie

"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. Regards Angela"

"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 Venice." Alex

"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 L.

"Loved the Italy discovery Journal. Really a great way for the kids to learn about Italy and its culture." Debra W.

"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 time!!

I look forward to receiving your newsletter in the future.

Thanks again for helping make our holiday a success for four generations." Chris M.

"I 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 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 ordered it.

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 tours)." MD

"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.

" 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!" Lisa S.

"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 pre-trip 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, Massachusetts

"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." Sally M, Massachusetts

"...that journal 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, 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 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." Ryan 

"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

Reviewers Praise

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 more activities.

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 turned green.

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 else.

The Journal is available as a downloadable “e-book” from the author's web site.

Kids & Discovery Journals

Italy with Kids

Nicole says "Just to let you know how much we enjoyed VivaVenice during our recent trip to Venice and the Islands."

Italy with Kids

Isaac posing like one of the statues by the Island Pond in the Boboli Gardens in Florence.

London with Kids

Navigating ancient Rome with the Rome Map for Kids & Families.

London with Kids

Stephen at Buckingham Palace.

Italy with Kids

Serena in Venice.

Italy with Kids

We used your Italy Discovery Journal everyday while on our trip in June. 

Italy with Kids

The Kerns in Tuscany.

Italy with Kids

Gail takes her grandkids and the Discovery Journal to Pompeii.

Italy with Kids








John checking off license plates from different provinces.

Italy Discovery Journal Goes to Siena

IDJ tucked in Tanya's belt in Siena.

Child in Rome

Wiley in Rome

Kids in Tuscany

Kara and Allie with Journals in Tuscany

Kids Journaling in Roman Forum

Journaling in the Roman Forum

Italy Guide for Kids

Andy, Evan and Vanessa in Colle di Val d'Elsa. 

Italy Guide for Kids

Richie in front of St. Mark's in Venice proudly showing his Italy Discovery Journal.

Ella and Julia in the Accademia with Italy Guide for Kids

Ella and Julia in the Accademia in Florence.

The Williams Kids in Naples Traffic with Italy Guide for Kids

Sarah and Emily in Naples traffic, happily spotting different license plates.

Alana on a vaporetto in Venice with the Italy Discovery Journal.

Posing like the Neptune statue in Piazza della Signoria, Florence.

Family Travel in Italy

Michael in front of the Coliseum with his well-used Italy "kit."

Italy Guide for Kids

Kelsey in Venice on the Rialto bridge.

Luke at Internet Train in Florence.

Sarah in front of Santa Croce in Florence.

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