Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: My Granny Went to Market

granny-went-to-market.jpg

Rather than rely on the “traditional” map book to teach geographical concepts, why not utilize a book where characters venture to different destinations around the world, thus bringing the lesson to life by allowing readers to follow the adventures on a globe or map in the classroom?  In My Granny Went to Market, written by Stella Blackstone and illustrated by Christopher Corr, young readers are granted this opportunity to join Granny as she journeys around the world to collect treasures native to each land.  Not only are children exposed to foreign areas and the signature goods each has to offer, they are also presented with a sense of directionality that is required to get from one land to the next.  For example, readers “spiraled south to Kenya” with Granny where she bought six booming drums.  This is a good introduction to the four common directions used on compasses and maps that children will need to understand as more advanced geographical concepts are presented in higher grades.  With a one-page legend documenting all of Granny’s purchases and an ending map that highlights all of her routes across the world, children are again introduced to additional geographical concepts that they need to know.
Curriculum Connections:
As an instructional tool, this book presents the idea of travel and geography realistically, yet at the same time, very simplistically for  children to understand.  The vividly colored illustrations give off the feeling of Mexican folk art.  It is a wonderful introduction to geographical concepts such as legends, directions, and maps (SOL 1.5).  For the very youngest children, the book serves the purpose of relating foreign places to where they are in the world by use of positional terminology (SOL K.3) and also describing these lands that are often referenced in stories and real life situations (SOL K.4 b).  For older children, the end-map could be a guide for them to create their own map of Granny’s journeys (SOL 2.6).

Additional Resources:

With this interactive site, children can navigate through a neighborhood using directionality, thus further teaching and enforcing the purpose of a compass rose.

Children can travel around the world to various locations that were discussed in the book to learn more about the people, the culture, the climate, the location, and so much more!

This site, great for both teachers and/ or parents to use, guides children as they can concoct their own map using their own personal landmarks, terms, and routes.

Book: My Granny Went to Market: A Round-the-World Counting Rhyme
Author: Stella Blackstone
Illustrator: Christoper Corr
Publisher: Barefoot Books
Publication Date: March 2006
Pages: 12
Grade Range: Recommended K-2
ISBN: 9781841487922