Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: The Once Upon a Time Map Book


B.G Hennessy is an outstanding author which is truly committed to her books and illustrations. As stated on her website, “I like to start writing a book by asking a question.”  I found this to be an interesting approach to writing children’s books.  The Once Upon a Time Map Book is truly a wonderful and creative resource for children of all ages. The book has a total of six different fairy tail maps. On each page there are clues on how to get to a secret treasure. If you follow the clues correctly, you will find the treasure on each map. This is wonderful because there are also letters and numbers to have the students practice using a coordinate system to locate precise points on a map, compasses and keys. For example on the map of NeverLand the first few clues to finding the treasure are…

  • Moor your boat at Mermain Cove (E1)
  • Take the sandy path east. Where the path splits go south through the jungle.

As you can see the students follow the different clues and use the key and compass as resources to finding the treasure. This allows students to practice using their map skills in a fun, entertaining manner. Overall this book is provides an outstanding  way of learning to read maps that is fun and interactive for all types of learners.

Curriculum Connections
This book can be used for pretty much any geography map lesson. Some VA SOL’s that this book would be perfect for are k.4, 1.4, 1.5, 2.5, 2.6. All these SOLs focus on maps, keys, compasses and the overall understanding of maps.

Additional Resources

  • The web page allows us to read some summaries of this book and different comments. I think its important to read different pros and cons to different books that you may be using in the classroom. I really got a lot from this site and feel that it is definitely a good additional resource.
  • B. G. Hennessy actually has a site of her own with different ideas for integration of her books into the classroom. I found this site to be very helpful and a wonderful tool for teachers which plan on using her books in the classroom.
  • This last site discusses fairy tales in general and how you can use the in the classroom. I felt that this book could be a very good closer for a fairy tale or literature lesson in the classroom.

Book: The Once Upon a Time Map Book
B. G. Hennessy
Peter Joyce
Publisher:  Candlewick
Publication Date: July 15, 2004
Pages: 16
Grades: k-5
ISBN: 0763625213 

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