Learning about geography and the world around them is an important part of any child’s social studies education. I have always been a big lover of maps and was the designated map reader when my family would travel via motor-home in my youth – my dad was the pro, but it was my job to navigate while he drove. These days, we are incredibly reliant on our GPS systems, but that doesn’t mean that maps are not still highly valued. Maps also show us the larger world around us and are a way to understand that we are just one person in this huge country which is one country amidst many. So when I found the book Me On the Map by Joan Sweeny I knew that we had to read it.
This book works in very simple terms. You start with a nameless girl. She walks into her room, says “This is me in my room” and then you see her drawing of a map of her room with her in it. When reading this, I told my daughter how I used to draw maps of rooms when I was figuring out how to decorate them and lay out the furniture.
She moves on to showing her house and a map of the house, her street, her town and her state. The wonderful map of her town allowed me to show my daughter how they lay out streets on maps and I had her looking for various streets.
She then goes backwards to show how she can find herself on all of these maps. In the end, she makes a fabulous comment that “in rooms, in houses, on streets, in countries all over the world, everybody has their own special place on the map.”
There are so many fabulous concepts in this book –
* how to make a map
* how to read a map
* geography of the United States
* pride in yourself, your town, your country and your world
* that even though we are spread out all over the globe, we all of things in common
I am really glad that we found this book and will probably find myself checking it out again at some point.
There are also a TON of activities that can go along with this book. If you search for images of “Me on the Map” on Google you can find all kinds of stuff. Teach Mama posted this great craft that has been done in different ways on lots of other sites. There are so many variations and it really can be a fun way to think about the bigger picture.
Thank you again to Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy for hosting Non-Fiction Picture Book Wednesdays and for creating such an awesome challenge for us to be a part of. I am in awe of the number of books I have found recently that fit this bill, now it is just the challenge of getting my hands on them and getting my daughter to read them with me. You can see our list of non-fiction picture books that we have read so far this year on Goodreads.