Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

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Children love going on scavenger hunts in the quest for specific objects. In her book How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, Marjorie Priceman takes children on an exploration around the world in gathering all of the necessary baking ingredients needed to make an apple pie.

Starting off with character’s problem of not being able to buy the ingredients at the market, Priceman takes students through the process of finding a solution. Traveling with her audience around the world, students will be introduced to the location of specific countries as well as principle commodities associated with the country as they track their travels across the world.

“You can’t miss it. Sri Lanka is a pear-shaped island in the Indian Ocean. The best cinnamon in the world is made there, from the bark of the native kurundu tree. So go directly to the rain forest. Find a kurundu tree and peel off some bark. If a leopard is napping beneath the tree, be very quiet.”

Priceman’s illustrations aid in the explanation of the countries with the incorporation of architecture, animals, transportation and monuments that are found in each geographical destination. Additionally, Priceman includes pictures of travel time and a travel track on maps to help put in perspective the distance between continents, countries and the extensive time it take for travel from one place to another. These travels will cement geographical knowledge of continent, country, and ocean locations.

Curriculum Connections
Priceman’s book uses the task of gathering baking materials to introduce students to the location and characteristics of other countries. Broadening students’ awareness of other continents, this book can help students develop map skills of locating the continents and specific countries (correlating to components of Virginia Standards 2.5 and 3.5). This book is a fun way for students to ”visit” new places and learn how to track their travels on a map.

Additional Resources

  • Students can explore these geography games which provide multiple games and activities for each continent.
  • To extend students’ understanding of the countries traveled in gathering the materials for the apple pie, this website provides activity extensions for the traveled locations of the book including Italy, England, France, and Vermont.
  • This sites provides additional ideas for student exploration after the reading of the book as well as a list of related books.

Book: How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
Author: Marjorie Priceman
Publisher: Dragonfly Books
Publication Date: 1996
Pages: 40
Grades: 1-3
ISBN: 0679880836