Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: Giant Steps


Giant Steps, written by Elizabeth Loredo and illustrated by Barry Root, uses cardinal directions to tell the story of five giants playing hide and go seek.   While the unlucky fifth giant counts, the other four giants take giant steps that lead to the four corners of the globe.  They run north, nouth, east and west until the fifth giant call FREEZE!  When he sees another giant running, he grabs the sun and throws it at the giant.  Unfortunately that fifth giant is unlucky, misses and is it again.  “And that’s a lucky thing for those giants to the north, south, east and west.  On account of he’s the only giant that can COUNT.”

Curriculum Connections:

This book would be a fun resource to use in geography to introduce map skills and cardinal directions (VA SOL 1.4 b).  A map of the United States could be displayed.  The teacher could point out Virginia and explain where it is in relation to others states (VA SOL 1.4 c).  This would be a good time to introduce the compass rose to the class.   Using the map, the students could try to determine where the giants may have ended up by running north, south, east and west.

Additional Resources:

  •  Treasure Hunt is a fun activity for students.  They would be asked to hide an object and then create a treasure map that leads to the object and includes a compass rose and a map key.
  • Mystery State is a worksheet that shows the state of Virginia.  Students are asked to use a map of the USA to determine which state is shown then complete information at the bottom of the sheet pertaining to that state.

General Information:

Book: Giant Steps
Author: Elizabeth Loredo
Barry Root
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: 2004
Grade Range:
K – 3

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