In order to start at the very beginning, we have to teach children how to use a map with starter books that tell about latitude and longitude, using a compass, and reading a legend like these:
Once your child learns how to use a map, there are many directions (See what I did there?) that you can go! There’s the National Geographic Kids “Beginner’s United States Atlas” that tells all about the different regions of the country, separating into the different states. This book gives information about each state including the year it became a state, the state flag, and the population.
As a kid, I always used to flip directly to where I was from to see what the book would say about my state, wondering just how much of it I already knew. Books about maps can help children realize where they are, where their family members may be, and whatever else might be out there. Maps can help children (and adults!) learn about other people around the globe without spending any money or ever leaving their favorite reading chair. When we all learn about other people around the world, we have a better understanding of how people live, which can help us build our empathy.
Maps can also encourage our imagination of the worlds we read about and watch on television. Within the pages of a library book, readers can explore Snow White’s Enchanted Forest, Neverland, the planets Alderaan or Yavin 4 (Star Wars Galactic Map), or even go along with the Angry Birds to learn about different countries.
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Older readers can leave the walls of Redwall Abbey with Matthis, all the while following each move with the maps at the front of each book. In some of The Chronicles of Narnia books, readers can go along with Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy on their adventures.
Maps can help us go a million places, whether it is to learn about the people, the culture, or even the animals, no matter the reader’s age. They can inspire future travel and adventure, all the while teaching us a thing or two.
Just in case you were on the edge of your seat, my husband’s favorite projection is the Robinson, and, after much research, I hate to say, that it has to be my favorite too.