Backpacks and Baguettes…Coloring the World through Young Eyes

Backpacks and Baguettes..Coloring the World through Young Eyes

This book, written by 13 year old half American and half British Sam Morrison takes the reader on a journey as he travels with his father. Sam and his father, Angus wrote this book together to help journal their adventures and experiences together. The short introduction by Angus describes his views on travel and the importance of experiencing different cultures. He describes how Sam will tell his stories through words and his drawings.

This middle grade book is separated into different chapters, each section describing a different country he visited. Each chapter begins with three facts and then Sam’s experience in that particular place. The chapters are short and fun to read which makes it a wonderful book for a read aloud or an independent middle grade read. Each chapter ends with artwork by illustrator Marco Primo, which gives a very personal touch to the book.

After reading this book, you and your child will not only learn facts about different places, you will also feel like you know Sam and have traveled with him! During a pandemic when traveling is unsafe and we are staying at home, it feels good to take a travel with Sam and Angus through his book.

Backpacks and Baguettes: Coloring the World through Young Eyes

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Interview with Sam and Angus Morrison

Sam Morrison is half British-half American. He lives in Washington, D.C., is just beginning to understand American football, thinks treacle pudding should be served with every meal, and doesn’t understand why old, Italian men pull their pants up so high on their waists. He grew up playing soccer in the parks of Paris and can hold his breath underwater for 25 seconds.
Angus Morrison is Sam’s dad. He has spent half his career in Europe and half of it in the U.S. He likes good coffee, a well-made martini and toast. Angus wishes more people were curious about the world around them and thinks cities should provide advice kiosks manned by out-of-work philosophy students.

After reading this book, I wanted to ask Sam and Angus some questions. Some answers are given by Sam and others by his father.

To learn more about this father-son pair, follow Sam Morrison on Instagram here.

1. Can you tell me how you and Sam decided to write this book together?

 (Sam) So my dad and I drove an older neighbor, John, to the hospital several mornings each week for a year. He had cancer. It was three generations of men in a car talking and laughing and telling stories. The way my father remembers it, one morning I said something (he can’t remember what it was), and he thought “hmm, if I don’t capture what’s in the mind of a 12 year old now we might never be able to capture it”. We lost John this fall. I think he would have liked our book. 

2. How has traveling around the world help with your education?

(Sam) I think it does help because when you travel you learn, constantly. I think exploring is good for everyone, not just kids. 

3. What was your favorite place to travel and why? How about your least favorite?

(Sam) I don’t have a favorite place or a least favorite place. They were all interesting for different reasons. (Angus) For me, I’d have to say Vietnam. We met a chef who took us shopping with him at a local market while we were in Hoi An. And there was the ride on the back of a moped with a guy named Kong through the streets of Saigon, who kindly took me to his neighborhood to eat huge snails dipped in fish sauce (Nuoc Cham), washed down with Vietnamese beer (333)). The mangos were the best we’ve ever eaten. I remember an early morning buying Vietnamese coffee from an old woman in a long boat at a floating market in the Mekong Delta, and the bitter/sweet cell phone call with my father, who was a Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) leader on the Mekong River during the Vietnam War, and who still has a map of the twists and turns of the river tattooed in his brain all these decades later. 

4. How has the pandemic affected your travels?

(Sam) We simply can’t travel now, which is sad, but it’s particularly sad for people who would like to travel but haven’t been as lucky as I have been to do so in their lives yet. (Angus) The pandemic actually affected the publication of our book in a way that we could not anticipate. It was supposed to come out early summer, but the publisher and places like Amazon moved it to October because of COVID. We thought that would hurt us, but it’s actually helped because we are hearing from readers around the globe that the book is actually helping them remember what the world was like before the pandemic hit — the smells, the sounds, the touch of the physical world. We hope the book is helpful during this lockdown for people to imagine something else beyond their four walls. 

5. Any advice for others who want to emulate your adventures?

(Sam) Stay curious. I always sign my books with that. Take notes and photos to help you remember. Don’t be shy about meeting people when you travel. And if you are thinking about writing your own book my suggestion to everyone is to write every day otherwise it will not get done.  

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