Teaching Geography with Children's Literature: Me On the Map

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What a wonderful book to help explain a child’s place in the world! Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney is a great introduction to maps for young students. A little girl begins the book by stating, “This is me. This is me in my room. This is a map of my room.”  She continues expanding from her room’s place in her house, to her street, to her town, all the way to the world. 

I really like how Sweeney explains that the Earth can look round but also be represented in a flat map. “It looks like a giant ball. If you could unroll the world and make it flat…it would look something like this map of the world.”

The pictures and maps in this book really help children visualize their place on Earth. Once the Earth is shown, the book then works back from the Earth, to the United States, to Kansas, to her town, and finally returning to the girls room.

My daughter’s favorite page is one that shows about 15 children doing different activities on the world map. She likes to talk about what country they might be from and why they are doing what they are shown doing. This page opens up a dialogue that can lead to discussions on diversity and differences among cultures.

Me on the Map teaches children many things about geography. It really introduces every Kindergarten Geography SOL in Virginia(K.3, K.4 a,b,c and K.5 a,b,c) This book helps students realize that maps show a view from above, show things in smaller sizes, and the position of objects.  It also helps students use simple maps to develop an awareness that a map is a drawing of a place to show where things are located.

Additional Resources:

  • Scholastic.com  has a song about maps and directions that I think is really great to reinforce the ideas in this book.
  • This is an activity sheet which asks students (with their parents help) to answer questions about where they live. Then, they are to draw a map of where they live. These maps should be shared with the class. Some students will draw a map of their room, some of their house, some of their state, etc.
  • Here is a lesson plan that I really like that goes along with Me on the Map

 Book: Me on the Map
 Author: Joan Sweeney

Illustrator: Annette Cable
Publisher: Dragonfly Books
Publication Date: 1998
Pages: 32
Grade Range: K-3
ISBN: 0517885574