Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: Atlantic


What brings warm weather to Ireland?  It’s the same thing that brings dry winds to Africa— The Atlantic Ocean, of course!  Atlantic, written and illustrated by G. Brian Karas, provides a wonderful introduction of world geography to children.  The story, narrated by the Atlantic Ocean, poetically explains:

I stretch from the icy poles,
North and South
I rub shoulders with North America
and bump into Africa
I slosh around South America and crash into Europe

Karas effectively explains some of Earth’s processes through illustrations and verse,

The moon
so far out in space
pulls at me
and then lets go
so my tides go in and out,
ebb and flood

Atlantic explains how the oceans have been around long before people named them, charted and studied them, and dirtied them.

Curriculum Connections
Atlantic is a great book to use when teaching geography.  This book includes facts about the Atlantic Ocean, including its relationship to other oceans and earth’s land masses.  With an emphasis on human and environment interaction, students are provided with a big-picture overview of the world.

In Virginia,  Atlantic can be used to teach social studies SOLs K.4 and 3.5, which state that students will locate land and water features and develop map skills by positioning and labeling the seven continents and four oceans to create a world map.

Additional Resources

  • This World Atlas is an interactive site which provides maps and information about every continent, ocean, and region.  It can also can be used on a micro level, providing detailed maps and information about every country and each state in the United States.  It is also available in Spanish.
  • This site, powered by Enchanted Learning, provides information about the oceans and processes that involve the oceans, such as the water cycle, tides, and waves.
  • Here is a lesson plan about the states on the east coast of the United States and their relationship to the Atlantic Ocean

Book: Atlantic
Author / Illustrator: G. Brian Karas
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 29
Grades: K-3
ISBN: 0-399-23632-5

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