Thursday, August 17, 2006

Next Year: Geography

For geography we have a world tour to finish. Three years ago we studied Europe, two years ago North America and last year South America, Australasia, Japan and China. This year we will visit the Indian sub-continent, Africa and the Middle East. We are also going to take a side-trip into mountains and volcanos (on the pretext of reaching the Himalayas).

The lack of good books with a geographical theme is a bugbear of mine. Compare the amount of good historical literature for children, both fact and fiction, with books about the world as it is now ... glut and famine! Yes, there are many books about specific countries, but very few are what I would call "living" books. They convey information, but rarely bring a country or a culture alive. Travel books form a whole genre of adult literature, yet there are hardly any written for children. I am gradually compiling a list of living books for geography studies, but there are still gaps - the biggest being the lack of any up-to-date narrative survey that would provide a good geographical spine (I'm thinking of a geography equivalent to history books like Story of the World or From Sea to Shining Sea.)

Angel and Star will be covering the same topics - more or less - but with books pitched at their own level. I will be browsing through a number of country specific books with Star, but Angel will be doing her own research on specific topics using reference books and the internet. These are some of the books I have in mind (picture books for Star are largely dependant on what is available through our library):

GENERAL RESOURCES
Kingfisher Encyclopedia of Lands and People
Ultimate Atlas of the World
Children Just Like Me (DK)
Country specific books from library

INDIA
Angel:

Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
Mother Teresa by Elaine Murray Stone (part of her religion studies, but ties in with the Indian theme)
Star:
I is for India by Prodeepta Das
Geeta's Day by Prodeepta Das
Prita Goes to India by Prodeepta Das
Stories from India by Anna Milbourn
Premlata and the Festival of Lights by Rumer Godden
What's Their Story?: Gandhi by Pratima Mitchell
Mother Teresa by Demi

MOUNTAINS
Both:
The Mountain Book by Brian Knapp
Volcano: the Eruption and Healing of Mount St.Helens by Patricia Lauber

AFRICA
Both:
Hippos in the Night by Christina Allen
Angel:
Journey to Jo'burg by Beverley Naidoo
Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope by Beverley Naidoo
The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo
African Journey by John Chiasson
Kizito, Boy Saint of Uganda by Elaine Murray Stone (if I can find a reasonably priced copy)
Star:
A is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu
Bongani's Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a South African City by Gisele Wulfsohn
Nii Kwei's Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a Ghanaian City by Francis Provencal
52 Days by Camel: My Sahara Adventure by Lawrie Raskin
Star of Light by Patricia St.John
A Saint and His Lion: The Story of Tekla of Ethiopia by Elaine Murray Stone

MIDDLE EAST
Both:
Ali and the Golden Eagle by Wayne Grover
A Kid's Catalog of Israel by Chaya Burstein
Aladdin and Other Tales from the Arabian Nights trans. N.J.Dawood
Angel:
One More River by Lynne Reid Banks
? Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye
Star:
Boushra's Day: From Dawn to Dusk in an Egyptian City by Khaled Eldash
The Librarian from Basra: a True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter


2 comments:

LH said...

Great book list -- and I'm thunking myself on the head a la "I'm supposed to be teaching ge-og-raphy too....?....!..." :)
Do you find most of those books in your public library?

Karen E. said...

How is it that with an ocean between us we keep thinking of the same things? First the WWII fiction, now a geography focus (we'll be involved in a geo. co-op this year.)

Thanks for the ideas!