Visit Philadelphia Through Children’s Books! {Family Armchair Travel}

Check out these children's books all about Philadelphia, the city of "Brotherly Love"

Philadelphia, nicknamed the “City of Brotherly Love” is the largest city in Pennsylvania.  This city should be on every family’s must-visit list!  Filled with historical sites as well as many museums and lots of great food, there is something for everyone in Philadelphia!  Whether you read some of these books before a trip or just armchair travel, visit Philadelphia through children’s books!

 Picture Books:


Journey Around Philadelphia from A to Z by Martha Day Zschock
Published:  2006, Commonwealth Editions
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

Learn all about the city of Philadelphia in this A to Z book.  This book is targeted towards older elementary students and is chock full of information and facts.  Each letter page includes a short, alliterative sentence and three different illustrations. This was our first time reading one of Zschock’s Journey books.  However, she has several other books in the Journey series including New York, Cape Cod and Washington D.C.


Larry Gets Lots in Philadelphia by Michael Mullin and John Skewes
Illustrated by:  John Skewes
Published:  2013, Sasquatch Books
Price:  $16.99
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

Pete and his family take a trip to Philadelphia and bring along their dog, Larry.  Larry gets separated from Pete and the book follows the two as they go searching for each other.  On their search they visit many of Philadelphia’s famous landmarks, including the Liberty Bell, Independence Square, the Besty Ross House, Pat and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  The book is told in rhyme, but provides a small informational description for each landmark.  This book is a nice introduction to Philadelphia for young readers.


Mrs. Millie Goes to Philly! by Judy Cox
Published:  2008 by Two Lions
Price:  $9.99 (paperback)
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

Mrs. Millie is a very silly teacher!  She takes her kindergarten class to Philadelphia and uses animal words in place of other words, which her students have to decipher.  They wear name badgers (badges), ride the platypus (bus) and see the Liberty Bull (bell).  Each page is accompanied by a humorous illustration illustrating the silly sentence.  Readers will have fun trying to figure out Mrs. Millie’s “mistakes” and they will also learn about some of the sights of Philadelphia including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Betsy Ross House.

Chapter Books:


Philadelphia! (Recipe for Adventure #8) by Giada De Laurentiis
Published: 2016 by Grosset & Dunlap (imprint of Penguin Random House)
Price: $16.99 (hardcover)
Pages:  160
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Source: borrowed from the library

This is the eighth book in the Recipe for Adventure series.  The series is targeted towards readers ages 7-9 (2nd-4th grade).  In the series, siblings Emilia and Alfie are transported to different cities around the world.  They get to taste all kinds of new foods as they help someone in the city solve a problem.  In Philadelphia! the whole Bertolizzi family is transported to the city.  They sample all kinds of Philadelphia food staples like cheesesteaks, pretzels, Italian hoagies and more and visit historic sites like the Betsy Ross House, the Liberty Bell, the Italian Market, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and more.  They also work together to try to help their tour guide Emma and her family save their hotel.  Two recipe cards are included in each book of this series.  This book’s recipes are for Zia’s Steak Sandwiches and Emma’s Italian Pizzelles.  While we didn’t make these recipes, knowing that they are from Giada, I’m sure they are delicious!


The Philly Fake (Ballpark Mysteries #9) by David A. Kelly
Published:  2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Price:  $4.99 (paperback)
Pages:  112
Rating:   3 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

This is the ninth book in the Ballpark mysteries series, a baseball-themed mystery series targeted towards readers on a 2.6 reading level (approximately 1st through 4th grade, depending on reading ability).  In this book Mike and Kate are spending the Fourth of July in Philadelphia.  Kate’s mom is a sportswriter and her friend had gotten them tickets to the three game Phillies v. Mets series.  During the first game the players’ bats keep breaking and the team loses.  The team mascot the Phillie Phanatic is blamed and could possibly lose his job.  Mike and Kate try to help find out who’s really at fault and save the Phanatic’s job. The end of the book includes some fun and interesting notes about the Phillie’s ballpark.   This book was interesting and gave the reader information about some of the other famous sites in Philadelphia, not just the stadium.  This was the first book in the Ballpark Mysteries series that we read but won’t be the last. We are interested in reading #2, The Pinstripe Ghost since we are familiar with and have been to Yankee Stadium!

Books set in Philadelphia that don’t really tell much about the city:

Chapter Books:


Independence Hall (I, Q #1) by Roland Smith
Published: 2008 by Sleeping Bear
Price: $8.95
Pages: 312
Rating:  3 out 5 stars
Source: borrowed from the library

This is the first book in the I,Q series.  Quest, (Q for short) and his new stepsister Angela are traveling around the country in a luxury motor coach, while their newly married musician parents go on tour.  The book is told over a series of 6 days as the family travels to Philadelphia for the first stop.  While there, they discover that they are in a real-life spy adventure.  This spy/adventure series is aimed toward middle grade readers.


When Freedom Comes (Hope’s Revolutionary War Diary #3) by Kristiana Gregory
Published:  2004 by Scholastic
Price: $12.95
Pages: 112
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

This is book number 3 in the Revolutionary War Diary series.  Told in diary format, the book details Hope’s experience with the Revolutionary War in full swing.  British soldiers are living in her house, she is cut off from her best friend, whose family are Loyalists and her family learns that her father is weak and sick in Valley Forge, fighting in the war.  Hope’s family lives in Philadelphia, however not much reference is made to the actual city.


Eating In Philadelphia – Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market

We recently visited Philadelphia over Spring Break.  Of course we saw the sights but as food lovers, we also ate our way through Philadelphia.  As self-declared foodies, there is no way that we’d take a vacation without scoping out the food scene.  We knew we had to have at least one cheese steak, because, c’mon, it’s Philly!  We also made sure we made a visit to Reading Terminal Market.

Reading Terminal Market, located between 12th & Arch Streets, is one of the oldest and largest public markets in the country.  The market is several blocks away from the historic district, but definitely walkable, which we did.  Unfortunately, we visited on a Sunday when the Pennsylvania Dutch merchants are not open.  So, no donut from Beiler’s, hot pretzels or Dutch pancakes for us.  However, we ate our fill from other stands.  Every stand that we ate at accepted credit cards, most with no minimums.  We visited the market around 12:30 PM on a Sunday and it was super packed.  My husband ended up taking our son and finding a table for us while I waited on line at our first stop, Dinic’s with my daughter.  There is a decent sized seating area down the middle and back area of the market, but empty seats are hard to come by.  I recommend grabbing a map of the market at the desk when you first enter, which we failed to do until our way out!  Please note, the four of us shared all of the food below.


Dinic's Roast Pork Sandwich

Dinic’s: Roast Pork Sandwich with Provolone and Broccoli Rabe– The line for Dinic’s was crazy long but moves really quick.  For those lucky enough to find an empty seat, there is counter seating.  While you can choose from roast beef, roast pork or Italian sausage sandwiches, we ordered a roast pork sandwich with provolone cheese and broccoli rabe.  From what I’ve read, this is THE sandwich to have as noted by television food celebrity Adam Richman, who named it best sandwich in the country in 2012, and was also recommended by our hotel shuttle driver (but we had already eaten it prior to his recommendation!).  The sandwich and a large soda cost us $13.00.

Fresh Mozzarella

Valley Shepherd Creamery: Fresh Mozzarella – The kids and I stayed at the table while my husband took a turn to find something good to eat.  He came back a few minutes later with this tub of fresh mozzarella from the Valley Shepherd Creamery.  According to my husband, you can watch them making the homemade mozzarella that they sell.  The cheese sells for $9.99 a pound and he bought a little less than a half pound.  This was a perfectly salted and creamy piece of mozzarella.  It would have been even better with some bread or fresh slices of tomato and basil……next time!

Beck's Cajun Cafe Fried Mac & Cheese

Beck’s Cajun Cafe:  Fried Mac and Cheese – This food stand serves all your New Orleans food cravings including jambalaya, po’boys, red beans and rice and muffalettas.  I opted for just a side of their fried mac & cheese, which I had read was good.  It included two fried balls of yumminess with a hot pepper like dipping sauce for $4.50.

Wursthaus Schmitz

The Lyoner

Wursthaus Schmitz – The Lyoner:  This stand was located at the end of the seating area where we were sitting and eating.  We stopped on our way out and decided we had to share a sandwich.  We went with The Lyoner, which is a fried bologna sandwich with muenster cheese, pickle, onion and horseradish sauce.  As you can tell from the pic above, these were thick slices of bologna.  This was a tasty sandwich for $8.

The Famous 4th Street Coookie

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie

Black and White Cookie

Famous 4th St. Cookie Company:  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookie and Black and White Cookie – We were getting pretty full from all the food that we ate but we had to have a little something sweet.  On the way out we picked up a Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookie and a Black and White Cookie.  The line here was also pretty long, but moved quickly.  The cookies were both really good.  However, we were disappointed that the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie was a regular chocolate chip cookie with peanut butter chips.  They sell the cookies for $12.99 a pound and the two cookies cost us $5.85.

What is your favorite food at Reading Terminal Market?