Sunday, April 08, 2007

Reading Maps

I have been trying to find the "official" date for National Reading a Road Map day. Did you know there was such a day? Some sources suggest the date is April 4, while others cite April 9. Since I can't find a definitive answer, I'm going with a day that's sort of in-between.

So, being in a map mood, I found this funky little site where you can map the states and countries you have visited. Here's the map of U.S. states I have visited:

Can you tell I grew up in the Northeast? There's a whole section there in the middle that I've missed, as well as some places out west, that fabulous place that nearly links us with Russia, and that ever-growing mass of volcanic remnants.

While I'm thinking about maps and places, this is a great time to share some of the titles I use when teaching map skills to my students.
  • The Once Upon a Time Map Book by B.G. Hennessy - This is one of my favorite map books. Each double-page spread presents a map of a famous storybook location, such as Neverland, Wonderland, Oz, Aladdin's kingdom, Snow White's forest, and the realm of the Giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. For each map there are special points of interest and hidden objects to find. This is a beautiful book that children will spend a great deal of time looking over.
  • Mapping Penny's World by Loreen Leedy - In this follow-up to Measuring Penny, Lisa learns about maps in school, and decides to map all the places she shares with her dog Penny, such as her room, the yard, neighborhood and local park.
  • As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps by Gail Hartman - This is a terrific book that looks at the perspective maps can provide. The geographical areas in the book are looked at from the perspectives of an eagle, rabbit, crow, horse, and gull.
  • Maps: Getting From Here to There by Harvey Weiss - This well-organized book for older readers introduces maps, how they are made, and their many different types and uses. Essential elements such as compass direction, scale, latitude and longitude, altitude, and symbols are nicely explained. The book even includes topographic maps, marine charts and aircraft maps. The final chapter provides directions for mapping your own backyard.
  • There's a Map on My Lap! by Tish Rabe - This fun title from the Cat in the Hat Learning Library presents different kinds of maps (city, state, world, topographic, etc.), map formats, and the tools we use to read them, such as symbols, scales, grids and compasses.
  • Are We There Yet, Daddy? by Virginia Walters - When a father, son and dog set out on a 100 mile trip to Grandma's, the son asks, "Are we there yet, Daddy?" A large foldout map precedes the title page, and a smaller version is reproduced on each two-page spread so that readers can see the progress the travellers are making at each 10-mile interval. This is also a terrific book for counting back by 10.
  • Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney - A young girl introduces maps by sharing crayon drawings the floor plans of her room and house. These maps expand from home to street, to town, to state, to country, and finally to the world. This sales is then reversed as the girl finds the U.S. on a world map and works back down to the map of her room.
  • Which Way to the Revolution?: A Book About Maps by Bob Barner - This interesting take on maps uses Paul Revere's ride to teach map skills. At the end of the book, the terms compass rose, map key, and scale are defined and a note provides background information on Paul Revere.
In addition to these "traditional" map books, I like to use books where the characters travel to different destinations, so that we can follow their adventures on a globe or map. Other good books focus on the the animals in different parts of the world, or the interesting things you'll find there. Here are a few of my favorites.
  • How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman - When you want to make an apple pie and the market is closed, there is nothing else to do but travel the world to get your supplies. Using different modes of transportation, readers set off to gather seminola wheat in Italy, a chicken (for its egg) in France, bark from the kurundu (cinnamon) tree in Sri Lanka, a cow (for butter) in England, salt water and sugar cane in Jamaica, and apples in Vermont. Once the pie is baked, the friends invited to share are the children from all of the countries in which the foods have been found. A recipe for apple pie can be found on the last page.
  • My Granny Went to Market: A Round-the-World Counting Rhyme by Stella Blackstone - Granny travels around the world to buy a few items. She begins in Istanbul where she buys the magic carpet that takes her on her trip. A one-page legend at the end of the book shows Granny's purchases, from one carpet to 10 llamas, while the endpaper maps out her trip.
  • This is the Way We Go to School by Edith Baer - This lovely book looks at the different modes of transportation children take to get to school. At the end one page lists the children's names from the story and tells where they live, which is then followed by a world map with that shows the children's countries.
  • The Armadillo from Amarillo by Lynne Cherry - In this book, an armadillo explore his native state of Texas and travels from San Antonio to Amarillo. When he is still not sure where in the world he is, he catches a ride on the back of a golden eagle and eventually boards the space shuttle. As the story moves forward, his perspective on his place in the world changes.
  • All in a Day collected by Mitsumasa Anno - collected by Mitsumasa Anno - Ten artists, including Raymond Briggs, Eric Carle, Leo and Diane Dillon, and Mitsumasa Anno, illustrate the similarities and differences in children and their activities in eight different parts of the world throughout one 24-hour day.
  • Curious Creatures in Peculiar Places by Amy Goldman Koss - "Toads with fire-engine red tummies, goggly-eyed tarsiers with sticky fingers and sloths who hang upside down from their toes are among the many creatures you'll find in this look at some of the nature's most bizarre animals and where they live. Lively rhymes provide oodles of facts to fascinate all readers (from the book)." A map is provided so readers can identify where each animal comes from. This book was a selection of the 1989 John Burroughs List of Outstanding Nature Books for Children.
  • Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest by Steve Jenkins - In this wonderful book of comparisons, the author takes readers to some of the most extreme and amazing places on Earth. It begins, "If you could visit any spot on Earth, where would you go? What if you wanted to see some of the most amazing natural wonders in the world?" Each wonder is depicted in cut paper collage, and is accompanied by a map that shows that shows its location.
As a child, I loved Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, though I'm not sure how it will play with kids today. There is a version in the Classic Starts series that was released early this year. I'll be interested to see what kind of reviews it gets. Let me know your thoughts on this, and while your at it, please share your favorite books for encouraging kids to turn to maps and globes for more information.

1 comment:

  1. So many great ideas here, Tricia!
    Thanks for this,