Geography Introduction: Here's Why
Drawing a map, like reading, or algebra, is a difficult skill to learn and if one sets an 8-year-old down with a map of the US and says "draw this," the child will be as overwhelmed as if he were confronted with reading Shakespeare before he could read The Cat in the Hat, and will quickly abandon it. Sure, a child could understand and appreciate the story of Hamlet as well as read a map at the age of 8, but if you ask her to READ Hamlet or DRAW a map, that is another story. The intellect of a child far outpaces her skills and if you ask too much too soon from her skills you can forever extinguish a desire for more.
In this series of books I simply want to introduce children to geography by giving them a primer in the borders and locations of states, provinces and countries. By doing so I hope to invite them further into the beautifully complicated world of geography.
Are these drawings cartoons? Absolutely they are, and in the best sense of that word. The word "cartoon" originated in the Middle ages and meant what we would today call a "sketch," something that the artist drew as he thought out, or prepared to draw his masterpiece. By engaging students in drawing "cartoon" maps I hope to give them enough self-confidence to someday give the real thing a try.
From the back cover…
Any time we discuss a person, place or thing, there is a “where” about it. Where were they born? Where do they live? Where did it happen? Where was it made? Geography is a necessary, if unvoiced, lynchpin in these discussions. A child who knows where Ohio, or China, or Togo is, gets more out of such discussions than a child who doesn’t. All books about history, literature and science will become broader and deeper for children who are familiar with the world around them, who know the lay of the land.
Education seeks to broaden a child’s mind, to entice him to explore. Through books, and videos a child can virtually travel to faraway places; studying geography will augment those travels and his journey will be that much richer because he knows where he is going.