Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: Shall I Knit You a Hat?

Aspects of geography affect our lives every day.  It is likely that each day we get up and use the weather report to decide what to wear.  We may also base our decisions on what to eat and what kind of transportation we rely on due to our location and its climate.  For example, if it’s snowy, many people prefer hot chocolate to ice cold soda for refreshments. When vacationing in Alaska, most would rather stay in a warm lodge than a bamboo hut.  Kate Klise presents a similar theme in her story Shall I Knit You a Hat?

Klise’s Shall I Knit You a Hat? is a story that describes the importance of making decisions based on the way people live in their environment.  This story follows Mother Rabbit and Little Rabbit as they prepare for a blizzard that is coming on Christmas Eve.

 “It will start snowing on Christmas Eve and won’t stop until the snow reaches the tallest tips of your ears.”
“My ears?” asked Little Rabbit. “But that will be very cold.”
“You’re right, ” said Mother Rabbit. “Shall I knit you a hat to keep your ears warm?”

To ensure Little Rabbit will be secure in the storm, Mother Rabbit knits a hat that will perfectly fit Little Rabbit’s tall ears. Because Little Rabbit enjoys his hat so much, he suggests that he and his mother make more hats to help keep his friends warm too.  They visit the horse, the goose with the long neck, the stylish cat, the dog, and the deer with antlers to make measurements for their hat.  Little Rabbit and his mother stay up all night knitting and sewing each individual hat.  The next day, they decide to use a sled to deliver their presents in the market due to snow on the ground.  Just as they hand out the hats, snowflakes begin to fall from the sky!  Luckily, all the friends have their new hats for the weather!

 Just look how this clever hat keeps my head warm and dry,” said the horse.

Curriculum Connections
Shall I Knit You a Hat?
is a great book to introduce how location, climate, and physical surroundings affect the way people live (Virginia SOL 1.6).  The illustrations, by M. Sarah Klise, also serve as a great tool for teaching about geography. The scenery describes the location, displaying tall hills, full of snow with many snowflakes falling down. Due to the climate and the presence of snow, the main characters are shown dressed in warm hats.  Little Rabbit and Mother Rabbit also choose to use a sled as their form of transportation in the story.  Through these examples, it is clear their daily lives are affected by their location and climate.  It may be interesting to read another story that compares this winter setting to a warmer one and discuss how the clothing, forms of transportation, and weather are different in the stories

Additional Resources

  • For more books written by Kate Klise and illustrated by M. Sarah Klise, check out their website!
  • The Crayola website offers a great sewing craft that emphasizes the use of sewing in Shall I Knit You a Hat?  This activity, Love You ‘Sew’ Much Cards, also stresses the significance of gift giving.
  • Use this geography lesson plan to teach about Africa and how the weather affects the people who live there.  This lesson encourages students to question how geography affects their lives as well.

Book: Shall I Knit You a Hat? 
Kate Klise
Illustrator: M. Sarah Klise
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. 
Publication Date:
Pages: 32 pages

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