School holidays special: Holiday reading

Alex Stewart from Stanfords, the travel bookshop, picks some top stories for adults and kids to pack

Let your holiday reading transport you to, or immerse you in, a destination this summer by swapping those blockbusters for some travel literature.

City-breakers will enjoy Peter Ackroyd's encyclopedic Venice (Vintage, paperback, £8.99), an intelligent look at all the aspects of this fabled city. Similarly, Graham Robb's Parisians (Picador, hardback, £18.99) is an unconventional biography and superior historical guide to the French capital.

If you're staying in the UK, pick up a copy of Robert Macfarlane's The Wild Places (Granta, pbk, £8.99) to seek out unspoilt corners of Britain in the company of a supremely lyrical writer.

The Secret Life of France (Faber, pbk, £7.99) is an insightful look at our closest neighbours by ardent Francophile Lucy Wadham. Further afield, William Dalrymple's Nine Lives (Bloomsbury, pbk, £8.99) is a riveting series of vignettes that explores India. Ian Thomson's award-winning The Dead Yard (Faber, pbk, £8.99) is a bitter-sweet look at modern Jamaica behind the brochure image. For a chilly alternative, pick up Sara Wheeler's The Magnetic North (Vintage, pbk, £8.99), a poetic ode to the Arctic that celebrates the extremes of this complex and ambiguous land. Alternatively, make space for Michael Jacobs's mammoth tome Andes (Granta, hbk, £25), in which he crosses seven countries in search of the human history behind the world's longest continuous mountain chain.

For children, Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories (various editions) are imagined answers to questions such as "how did the camel get his hump?" and they draw on folktales from around the world.

Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World (Penguin, pbk, £7.99) is a fast-paced adventure based around the discovery of a strange plateau in a South American country.

And The Arrival by Australian illustrator Shaun Tan (Hodder, Hbk, £14.99) is a haunting, imaginative story of a lonely emigrant arriving in a bewildering city. Entirely wordless, this graphic novel brilliantly captures the experience of being a new arrival in an unfamiliar place.