Through the years I’ve given away numerous books of my kids, but one collection I will always keep is their “This is” series by M. Sasek.


Today, November 16 is the 100th birthday of Miroslav Sasek. Miroslav who? I know right. M. Sasek as he likes to sign his name was a Czech writer and artist who wrote and illustrated the “This is….” series. A collection of books that are meant to introduce children to the different cities, landmarks, facts and figures in a most engaging and entertaining way. He was born 1916 in Prague and died in 1980 in Switzerland. He wrote and illustrated a total of 18 “This is…” books in his lifetime.

Czech Writer & Illustrator Miroslav Sasek

I feel personally connected to M. Sasek because my children grew up with his books and I’d like to think  that M. Sasek is in no small way responsible for their interest, curiosity and love for new places and experiences.


My kids may no longer ask me to read these books to them but I still read M. Sasek books from time to time and it always puts a smile on my face as memories present themselves through the pages of his books.

This peephole which was written about in this blog, we first read about in M. Sasek’s This is Rome.


This is why we climbed Aventine hill to find it and find it we did. Read about it here.

We first got curious about the old Roman neighbourhood of Trastevere when we read about it in This is Rome.

Although written decades ago not too many things have changed including the many priests one would see in Rome wearing different clerical clothing.


And then there’s This is Paris. This is probably the most dog-earned book in our collection.


This is where I first read about a concierge or a lady caretaker of apartment buildings in Paris. Many years later, I would encounter Renee, a concierge in the book The Elegance of a Hedgehog.

Flea markets, cats, artists and cafes – all part of the Parisian experience that M. Sasek so playfully portrays in the pages of his books.

Place des Vosges, which has become one of our favourite squares is in M. Sasek’s This is Paris as well. Here he tells us that Victor Hugo lived at Number 6.

It was Place des Vosges that brought us to the Marais neighbourhood. We liked it so much that we always choose to stay in this neighbourhood when in Paris. Read about it here.

Saint-Chapelle built 600 years ago for King Louis who later became Saint Louis was also a monument we included in our list because of the book.

The lines are always long, but the interiors with its 1,113 stained glass windows is resplendent and an experience not to be missed.

On the last page of This is Paris, M. Sasek invites us to see Paris with our own eyes and nothing could be more delightful!


So Happy Birthday M. Sasek! May your books continue to be read and enjoyed for another hundred years!

I put this under the category Travel Tips because collecting M.Sasek books is a tip I would give Moms with toddlers.

M. Sasek’s  “This is” series may be ordered from Amazon. Click here.