If you're planning a road trip or vacation, it's a great time to introduce your kids to maps and atlases. Of course, kids' natural curiosity about their place in the world, and the visual appeal of a well-drawn map, makes anytime a good time to explore these kinds of books together too!
I remember one year when I was teaching kindergarten, the most popular book on our class bookshelf was a good, old-fashioned street directory for our state. The children loved pouring over its pages, looking at the patterns of lines and interesting symbols. They would even tote it around as part of their pretend play, heading off on imaginary adventures.
Below is a list of nine great books about maps and atlases that are perfect for introducing your children to the great big world of maps.
Me On the Map by Joan Sweeney provides children with a lovely introduction to maps by following a young girls' journey from her room, to her street, all the way to her country on a map. It's a great introduction to identifying our place in the world.
Follow That Map! A First Book of Mapping Skills by Scot Ritchie introduces children to many common features of maps as they follow the adventures of a group of children to find a missing dog.
A map book unlike any other, My Map Book by Sara Fanelli features a series of maps children can relate to — from a map of "my day" to a map of "my bedroom." There’s even a map of "my tummy!"
The Lift-the-Flap Picture Atlas by Alex Frith engages young children by combining nifty flaps to lift with interesting facts about places all around the world.
A great first atlas for kids that introduces them to fascinating details about the earth, the Children’s Picture Atlas by Ruth Brocklehurst is a wonderful resource for learning more about the world.
For Elementary-Aged Children
Through gorgeous illustrations and child-friendly facts, Maps by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski invites children to adventure through each continent of the world.
Great for kids who love fairy tales, The Once Upon a Time Map Book by B.G. Hennessey takes readers on a journey through the maps of six well-known, magical fairy tale lands.
City Atlas: Travel the World with 30 City Maps by Georgia Cherry combines colorful maps and interesting facts to share insight into what makes each of these 30 cities so fabulously unique.
Combining maps, photos, and interesting facts, the United States Atlas by National Geographic Kids is a great learning tool for children in middle elementary school grades.
With the advent of GPS systems and our modern day use of mechanical voices that tell us which way to turn, I believe it's more important than ever to introduce our children to the wonder of a good, old fashioned printed map or atlas. It's a terrific, tangible way for them to figure out their place in this world (quite literally)!
Also, don't forget to have your kids join the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge to encourage more summer reading, receive books suggestions, and log their reading minutes to earn rewards.
Featured Photo Credit: © miljko /iStockphoto