Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: Maps and Mapping

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Jinny Johnson’s Maps and Mapping explores the world of maps through exciting pages filled with pop-ups and fold-outs.  Throughout the book, the reader is taken on a journey of exploring the job of a cartographer.  The cartographer, Suki West, is a fictional character in the book who loves making all types of maps.  In the process, the reader learns about different types of maps and its importance.  The book explains that maps are needed in order to understand flat surfaces and proportions.  Maps and Mapping explores the first maps, such as, the Roman maps from the A.D. 300s.  The Romans started the tradition of showing roads, distances, and information on maps.  Maps and Mapping introduces sextants and compasses to explain how explorers used these forms of maps to navigate their vessels in the ocean.  The book also discusses the major differences between flat and round maps.  It shows that maps can be used to document any type of area, such as, the sea, mountains, and space.   The book concludes by discussing ways that maps are used today.  Instead of cartographers drawing the maps, satellites are now used to take photographs and produce 3-D maps.  Suki states, “The latest 3-D maps, made by putting together millions of satellite images, can show places in amazing detail-even showing individual houses!” (Johnson 28)  Maps and Mapping is a wonderful introduction to geography in a way that children can relate to and understand.       

Curriculum Connections

Maps and Mapping connects geography and social studies to the world of direction and mapping.  It may be used to introduce a lesson on map making.  Maps and Mapping helps students to develop map skills and construct simple maps (2.5, 2.6, 3.6).  In the book, students are also able to note the changes between ancient maps and the maps that we use today (2.3).  The illustrations include many types of maps that are informative and include examples of maps from all over the world.  The book would make a useful supplement to a lesson on maps.

Additional Resources

  • Geography for Kids- Includes additional online activities and information on the geographical features of earth.
  • Maps and Mapping-Access to the inside of Maps and Mapping and other children’s books that relate to geography.
  • About the Author-Need examples of other books that relate to geography for children? This website contains information on Jinny Johnson and her other jacket flap books.

Book: Maps and Mapping

Author and Illustrator: Jinny Johnson

Publisher: Kingfisher

Publication Date: October 15, 2007

Pages: 29 pages

Grade Range: 2-4

ISBN: 0823417948