Geography Literature


Geography!! One of those subjects that makes you ask yourself “am I getting enough of this in??” Maybe you don’t but sometimes I do!

Granted my children are still young – there’s no need for high school or college level geography here. Still.. a basic understanding of world geography can be gained through a few well chosen literary resources. Yes, reading for geography!

Many of these are collections of stories from around the world, and may not *technically* meet the definition of a living book (because I believe living books are supposed to be written by one author.) But I also think living books are defined that way to rule out textbooks written by a group of people — and these anthologies are still pretty “living” to me. (But what do I know?)

A few of these are “fun” books that are still full of learning — even the coloring book is educational. The rest are reference books that are fun, colorful, and very kid friendly. Enjoy!

world geography
A Child’s Introduction to the World: Geography, Cultures, and People – From the Grand Canyon to the Great Wall of China*

around the world coloring book geography
Around the World Coloring Book

These coloring pages each focus on one country, including some country information, national monuments and that sort of thing. These pages make a good activity after reading a story from a certain country, and would make a nice addition to a geography related notebook.

around the world in 80 tales geography
Around the World in 80 Tales

I use this book for double duty! The older girls take turns reading a story out loud. Not only do we get to listen to a folk tale from some other part of the world, but the girls get to practice their reading aloud skills. It’s a win-win.

geography glossary
Geography from A to Z: A Picture Glossary (Trophy Picture Books)*

map on my lap dr seuss geography
There’s a Map on My Lap!: All About Maps (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library)

Fun in typical Dr. Seuss style,.. this book sheds light on maps and how to read them, the kids all enjoy it (even the 12 year old.) One of the good things about Dr. Seuss books is listening to the rhyme and rhythm of the wording. This book sits on our shelf as more of a reference book, but the kids sometimes pull it out just to read it.

map geography
Me on the Map (Dragonfly Books)*

Children Just Like Me: A Unique Celebration of Children Around the World*

Around the World in Eighty Days (Whole Story)

Yes, this is a fictional novel! However, being set “all around the world,” it provides great opportunity for picking up some geography along the way. We’re currently in the process of reading this aloud as a group and as our cast of characters reaches each new destination, we take the opportunity to look up each city and country on the map and learn a little more about it. The learning opportunity is limited, as the characters don’t travel through *every* country, but for getting a big picture and adding to what we’re learning about geography elsewhere, this book makes a great unit study. It’s a smidge above the 6 year old, though, and is most interesting to my 12 year old. Also, check out my “Around the World in 80 Days ” Pinterest Board, which I add to as we “travel” through our book.

Childrens World Atlas (Usborne Internet Linked)

This is a very colorful and nice atlas! It’s a good source for looking up location and information about the countries we find in our folk tales and other stories. Not only does it contain 60 pages of maps (both political and physical) but you’ll also find information about interesting monuments or animals from each area, as well as pictures of country flags and a map of time zones.

Great Planet Earth Search

This one isn’t specifically about geography but it does partner well with the atlas above. The physical maps in the atlas above indicate the type of terrain throughout the country, from mountains to plains to tundra and more. This book is a beautiful “I spy” type book with information about each climate and colorful pictures of animals and plants found in those types of climates. For a long time, this was one of my son’s favorite books to sit and flip through when he was a non-reading preschooler because of the great visual content.

United States Coloring Book (Dover History Coloring Book)*

The United States of America: A State-by-State Guide*

*Of course, I can’t build a great library all at once! I’ve included descriptions for the books we already do have, and the books marked with asterisks are books that I hope to add to our school library for the 2012-2013 school year.

Do you have any living books or other great resources for geography that you just love (or have you read any of these before?) If so, let me know in the comments! Good recommendations might find themselves added to the list. = )

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March 10, 2011 4:25 pm

I want all of these. Actually, the last two have been in my Amazon cart several different times. Wendy is very interested in maps and globes, and we try to teach her whenever we can. I’d love to get a nice (but sturdy) globe and a couple of BIG laminated wall maps. 🙂

March 10, 2011 4:40 pm

I admit, the Dr. Seuss one has been in my Amazon cart FOR A WHILE. I had a list of additional resources for this year that I’ve been buying here and there and I just haven’t gotten to that one yet. I may get to it before this year is over. 😉 But the boy is SO responsive to books that it’s the BEST way to include him in school with what the girls are doing. We have a Kingfisher First Encyclopedia for the body and he looked through that thing again and again and again learning and memorizing all… Read more »

Muthering Heights
Muthering Heights
March 20, 2011 9:09 pm

Those sound like good resources…Geography is an important, but not often discussed subject!

March 28, 2011 4:27 pm

Amber, we got Me on the Map today, and it’s a good one! We also got Maps and Globes – it’s good, but a little beyond Wendy. It would probably be just about right for your girls.

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