Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: Maps and Mapping

Maps and Mapping

"I can’t imagine life without maps.
How would we find our way around the world?”

Introduction and Summary
Maps and Mapping, by Jinny Johnson, is an inside look at how we make and use different kinds of maps.  The book follows a fictional cartographer named Suki West, who wants to share her love of maps and globe with the readers.

The book takes us through the history of maps, why we need maps today, and teaches us how to use different types of maps.  Readers learn about the first maps, mapping the world, the difference between flat maps and globes, the difference between political, physical, and informational maps, mapping mountains, oceans, and even space!  Spread throughout the book are flaps and fold-outs that are very information and the kids will absolutely love.  (Careful here, some of the flaps are a little tricky, so it might be smart to show the kids how to fold and unfold them first).

Curriculum Connections
This book is a good way for students to learn about reading and using maps.  The students will develop map skills and learn to recognize basic map symbols, including references to land, water, cities, and roads. (VA SOL 1.4)

Followup Activity:  Have the students build both a physical and political map of their street, or the school playground, with cardinal directions included.  You can also show the children how to determine cardinal directions using the Sun and/or a compass.

Additional Resources

  • Kids can play this USA Map game.  They will place each state in its correct location as quickly as possible.
  • The students can also use Google Maps to help them locate places and use as a reference for building their own maps.  Make sure to show them how to go back and forth between political and physical maps.
  • This National Geographic for Kids game is a fun way to use and build their Geography knowledge.

Book: Maps and Mapping
Author/Illustrator: Jinny Johnson
Publisher: Kingfisher
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 32 pages
Grade Range: 1st through 3rd

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