Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Bite: Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Travel Guides

It's time for another Book Bite! This one showcases some of my favorite travel guides - the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness series. If you haven't explored this series yet, you're missing out!

As a child growing up in England, I fell in love with Dorling Kindersley books. I loved their interactive and informative formats - the lively descriptions, full-color pages, breathtaking photographs and extraordinarily detailed watercolors - and the wide range of topics covered (everything from cooking to cars). DK books seemed to be everywhere and I read them with childish enthusiasm. I was disappointed when we moved back to the States and I could no longer find them so easily.

You can imagine my delight, then, when I discovered the DK Eyewitness Travel Guides a few years ago.  Our first was borrowed from the library and took us on a trip through the Czech Republic. Since then, we've amassed a small collection and they really are fantastic. DK call themselves the 'illustrated reference publisher,' but their books are so much more than a reference guide - they're an experience.

Each book gives detailed historical information about the specific destination, as well as practical travel tips (on transportation, money issues or social customs) and a quick-reference language glossary that's come in handy more than a few times! They're richly illustrated and chock full of photographs and the DK signature watercolor drawings that feature floor plans and cutaways of famous buildings, as well as 3-D aerial maps of popular locales.

One of our favorite features are the area maps, color-coded and divided into manageable sections which make exploring even the most unfamiliar cities or regions a breeze. We've done several DK-based tours, dividing our time between the sections and relying on their detailed street maps to get around. My favorite thing to do is to dive in, cover-to-cover, on the way to our destination so that I arrive with a sense of the cultural and historical context of the place (it also helps to give me a sense of direction, so I don't get us lost!)

I could go on and on about these guidebooks, but I discovered this little gem of an interview on YouTube, so I'll let their Publishing Director, Claire Currie, give you some more information and a sneak peak at the process behind the publication!

P.S. This isn't a sponsored post - I just really like DK books!


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