Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: Monday on the Mississippi


The Mississippi River runs through ten states, do you know which ten? In Monday on the Mississippi, Marilyn Singer takes us down the Mississippi in a week. There are two entries for each day, sometimes on the same state, and sometimes going through multiple states. Each entry has a little something about the surrounding area, mentioning something each place is famous for. Such as the first Friday entry, in Memphis, Tennessee:

At Mud Island, where their brothers admire the perfect miniature model of the Mississippi…two sisters want to sit quietly by the real thing, listening for Martin Luther, B.B., Elvis, and all the others that would’ve been, should’ve been, or never could’ve been.

Each page of the book is also covered in a bright illustration that pertains to the entry for that day. Along with the full-page picture, there is a square in the upper left hand side of each page consisting of a map of the state that entry takes place in. It shows the entire state, its border states, the capital, and the Mississippi River and our current location on it. If you look even closer at these state maps, you’ll notice that in each of the corners of the map’s borders is the state flag, tree, bird, and flower, presenting a great opportunity to start teaching kids about the different states.

Curriculum Connections
Monday on the Mississippi is more than just a great book about the Mississippi River, our country’s most well-known river. It gives teachers the opportunity to teach students about different states and their cultures and histories in those areas. Also, students are exposed to maps, seeing how they work representing different places and things, which completes the Social Studies SOL K.4 and K.5 for Virginia teachers.

Additional Resources

  • Here is a handout with a map of the Mississippi River and all the states it touches, as well as some questions pertaining to the Mississippi.
  • This site is filled with information on each state, and also has a map of the entire country, as well as each state.

Book: Monday on the Mississippi
Marilyn Singer
Illustrator: Frane Lessac
Henry Holt and Company
Publication Date:
32 pages

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