• Erica Pollock

Yorkshire Literature for Travelers: A Shortlist

Updated: 3 days ago


So you’ve booked a family trip to England, and the anticipation is killing you! The kids can hardly wait, and ask you over and over, “How many more weeks?” What do you and the family do with all that excitement?


Our family loves to read books or listen to music from our destination. It gives us something to pour all our excitement into as we wait, but it also helps us establish our relationship with destinations we visit, thereby deepening the experience. For example, when we visited California years ago, we read books about the Spanish missions and the gold rush. Or before heading to the Alps, we read Heidi, and became familiar with Wagner’s musical compositions.


This month, We 5 Thrive is turning our eyes to the rolling hills and dramatic moors of Yorkshire, England. Our family spent two months in the UK last year, with Yorkshire as our home base. We spent months reading and exploring beforehand. We hope the resources listed below will help your own family develop a relationship with Yorkshire -- and perhaps one day you, too, will have a chance to visit this stunning region of England!


Treasury for Children

James Herriot


Lovely farmyard stories from Yorkshire's most famous veterinarian. Herriot also authored All Creatures Great & Small -- you can watch episodes of the TV series. I grew up on Herriot's heartwarming stories!


The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett


Beware, the book opens with the deaths of a little girl’s parents. Our young children took it in stride, and it opened a space to discuss such a difficult topic together as a family.


The Iron Man

Ted Hughes


The 1999 animated movie “The Iron Giant” is based on this 1960’s sci-fi. Consider watching it after reading!


Take an overnight ferry to Amsterdam from Hull, Yorkshire, aboard a P&O Ferry!

Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Dufoe


What family doesn’t love adventure? Based loosely on a true story of an 18th century castaway, this book follows the adventures of Hull-born fictional hero Robinson Crusoe. (Traveler's Tip: Hull is still a bustling port city today, and you can take overnight trips to destinations such as Brugges and Amsterdam from here on P&O Ferries!)


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll


Enjoy Alice’s antics in the zany world of Wonderland!


The Bronte Parsonage Museum

Agnes Gray

Anne Bronte


This one is my favorite novels from the Bronte sisters, followed closely by Jane Eyre. My copy of this book is dog-eared and well-loved. It is largely autobiographical. (Traveler's Tip: Plan a visit to the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth during your next trip. The village and museum are charming!)



Nicolas Nickleby

Charles Dickens


Dickens’ fictitious school Dotheboys Hall, where Nicolas becomes an apprentice, is based in Yorkshire. Expect, as in all Dickens novels, children to be exposed to some harsh realities of life during his time. But again, our family welcomes these kinds of conversations, so that we can help the kids navigate it all.


The textile industry is weaved into the history of Yorkshire

North & South

Elizabeth Gaskell


I adore Elizabeth Gaskell, a contemporary and friend of Dickens. In this romance, you will encounter the prejudices between the South of England and the North, as well as the challenges of labor and social structure during the Industrial Revolution. Yorkshire history is steeped in the cotton and wool textile industry. The fictional city of Milton, where the contemptuous, nouveau riche John Thornton's cotton mill is located, is based on the city of Manchester.


Dracula

Bram Stoker


This iconic novel was inspired by the ruins of Whitby Abbey. Perched atop a seaside cliff, on gloomy days it is easy to see how these brooding ruins brought such a chilling horror story to life! (Traveler's Tip: If you're able, climb the 199 steps from Whitby's town to the ruins -- you will encounter breathtaking views of the coastline and town!)



Richard III

William Shakespeare


Learn about the War of Roses through England’s most beloved playwright!


The Journals of James Cook

James Cook


Cook was a naval officer, explorer, and cartographer famous for mapping throughout the Pacific Ocean. He learned his naval skills in Whitby, Yorkshire, where today his statue stands overlooking the sea. (Traveler's Tip: From the clifftop park where you find Cook's statue, begin heading down the cliffside staircase and see if you can find the little walking tunnel that runs through the cliffside. You'll encounter the most stunning view of Whitby Abbey and the East Cliff from here.)



The above is just a short list. We encourage you to discover the many more books that have emerged from this dramatic region of England. Happy travels, from our family to yours!


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