Not-For-Parents: How to Be a World Explorer: Your All-Terrain Training Manual

Inspire a Child to Explore Their World With This Book

I know this book says “Not For Parents!” on the cover, but I couldn’t help but page through it immediately after getting it.  Sitting in the carpool line at my son’s preschool, I suddenly felt way cooler than the average suburban mom (that I am) as I learned how to wrestle alligators and survive an avalanche.  

Glancing at the page on bugs, I was brought back to my backpacking days in Nepal as the professionals at Lonely Planet reminded me of how to get a leech off of me.  And my Peace Corps days in Thailand jumped into mind when I was reminded of how to ride an elephant.

This is Lonely Planet at its best!  They’ve combined their unparalleled expertise on international travel with way-cool information gleaned from decades of travel and research.  They are here to teach us how to do stuff most of us will never, ever do.  But we’ll be ready.  Just in case!  

Oh, and thanks to this book, if there’s an alligator in carpool tomorrow, I’ve got it covered.  Consider your child safe.

On a more serious note, this is a downright great book.  As the holidays approach and you are going down your list, looking for gifts for middle-schoolers, I highly recommend it.  

This book is significantly more verbose than the Lonely Planet’s other recent book, Not For Parents: Extreme Planet!, which makes this book better for more advanced readers.  I don’t want to scare you from buying this book, but it’s likely that it might really get under the skin of some kids, inspiring big dreams of travel and exploration.  They might want to turn those dreams into reality when they are old enough, just like my parents’ old National Geographics provided images during childhood that I just had to check out for myself in adulthood.

This book is jam-packed with tons of interesting facts.  Here are some of my favorites:

•    The rule of threes: You can survive for three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three days without water, and three weeks without food.

•    If the smoke from your campfire goes straight up, expect good weather.

•    Planes fly because of “lift”—the upward force on the curved wings of an airplane.

•    You can track stars—and thus navigate by them—by pushing two sticks stuck into the ground and noting in what direction the stars move.

This is a fun and informative book–and not just for moms like me who happen to have way too many backpacking stories when books like this one jar her memory.  The perfect addition to this book, though, is not the other Lonely Planet book or a compass.  Nope.  The perfect complement is someone special in that child’s life—parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle, caregiver—who will encourage and work with the budding explorer to try out these things at home, to sit and gaze at stars, to help them start fires, to learn nature’s clues about when a storm is coming.  My fingers are crossed that for every ten times this book is purchased, an encouraging grown-up is part of the gift at least once.

Not-For-Parents: How to Be a World Explorer: Your All-Terrain Training Manual

By Lonely Planet

Random House:   

Price: Available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books a Million! for approximately $9

Easy to Read  5
Quality of Illustrations
Appealed to Both Boys and Girls  5
 I Would Purchase This For My Family 
 I would Purchase This As A Gift 
 I Found Information in The Book Helpful  5
 Overall Rating

All ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being highest.

Meet the Reviewer!

Kate Schwarz is a full-time mom

and wife living in Great Falls, VA. 

In addition to reading to her three

small hildren, Kate runs marathons,

Crossfits, and blogs about raising

kids with books at


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