Did you know that the beautifully cascading rice paddies in Bali are the result of an ancient community irrigation system called subak? No, neither did we. But your kids will now they have access to the Leap&Hop series of travel books. And the Bali edition is out now!
Combining leisure and learning, Isabelle Demenge has created a series of beautifully designed and FUN travel volumes for kids that will have your young jetsetters transforming their holidays into dynamic cultural experiences. We had a chat to Isabelle to find out more…
How did the idea for these fab books come about?
I initially wrote the books for my kids to get them interested in a family trip to Cambodia. I had planned the whole trip, which included Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in Cambodia as well as Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. Based on our itinerary I did some research and prepared different activities for each major site. It worked very well, the kids loved the book, the scrapbooking part and the games, of course. After two more family books (Sri Lanka and Rajasthan), I decided to get them illustrated and published.
It must be quite a big job deciding what to include and how to depict it…
That’s actually the fun part for me. It’s a lot of research. I spend months reading materials on the place. I’m interested in history, architecture, art and culture in general so that’s my focus. Then I try to get into a kid’s head and come up with fun things to do in each site. I have three boys, each very different. I try to find games that would work for each of them. They are my toughest critics. After we travel with a draft, we have a big debriefing session with the kids and that generally means a lot of rewriting for me. They want more of this and less of that. It’s a family project.
What age are the Leap&Hop books suitable for and how should they be used?
Every kid is different but my oldest son was 8 when we traveled to Cambodia (he is now 13) and that’s a good age to start. The books are best suited for independent readers, unless the parents want to participate in which case they can start around 6.
What other countries and cities have you created books for and what feedback have you had?
Because the first three books were written over time, they were published together last year – Cambodia, Rajasthan and Sri Lanka. Then we did Hong Kong in June. Bali came out for Christmas and Paris is coming out next week. We are currently finishing Myanmar which will launch spring 2015 then Singapore late summer or early autumn. The feedback has been very good but we’d love to hear more.
Where to next?
The jury is still out, we are thinking of London, Thailand, New York, Beijing. Any ideas?
We’ll ask our readers and let you know! Thanks Isabelle!