Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: How I Learned Geography


Students learn best through lived or shared experiences. In How I learned Geography, Uri Shulevitz shares his first time learning about geography.

The story begins with the Uri having to leave his home and belongs because of a devastating war.  He and his family are forced to leave and travel very far to a land where the houses are made of clay, straw, and camel dung. Uri lived in house with another couple he did not know.  Food was extremely scarce. One day Uri father went to the bazaar to buy bread.  When his father returned he announced,

“I bought a map!”

Uri was very frustrated that he would have to go to sleep hungry.  The next day his father hung the map on the entire wall.  His fascination grew for the detailed drawings and the exotic names.  He would draw and make rhymes.  As repeated the names he was transported to the burning deserts, sanding beaches, and snowy mountains.  He saw temples with stone carvings animals of different colors.  Uri explored all types of lands and ate papayas and mangoes as he pleased.

He was learning so much about the world, things he would have never known about if it was not for the map. This map preoccupied him from his hungry and misery.  He eventually forgave his father because he saw he was right.

Curriculum Connections
How I learned Geography would serve as a great closer to a lesson about maps. This is a great tool for teacher to use when they want students to have an awareness that maps and globes show a view from above and in a smaller size this correlates to Virginia sol k.5 a,b .

Additional Information

  • Story Maps is an activity from National Geographic which allows students create a map from a favorite class book.
  • Map Skills is a lesson provides students with the opportunity to make a map of their school. Students then compare and contrast their perception of the school to their classmates perception.
  • Memorable Maps is a great lesson in which students draw a world map from memory. Nine months later they are then told to draw the world map and see how the picture has improved.

Book: How I Learned Geography
Uri Shulevitz
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date:
32 pages

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