Pack Your Passport!
These award-winning products will provide a passport to helping your kids explore and discover the world around them. And don't miss Portable Picks for Traveling with Kids for more geography products perfect for home or travel.
Chronicle Books, $14.95 (Hard Cover)
Each of these books offers self-guided tours of two of the world's most fascinating cities. The pages are actually cards in a deck that guide you through 50 walking adventures, offering detailed maps and insider information.
Also look for City Walks: Paris
Dora the Explorer and her friends travel to countries around the world on this musical adventure. The CD features, "Alouette," "De Colores," "Jambo" and special performances by Ziggy Marley and Aaron Neville.
Whether your goal is to introduce your kids to geography, teach them state facts, track places they've visited or show them where relatives live, this 50" x 32" laminated map of the United States is sure to be a valuable resource. Colorful illustrations piqued the interest of our classroom testers, and a small, soft-covered companion book describes each illustration in more detail.
Rand McNally's Illustrated Map of the World is a large, colorful laminated map with pictures that highlight elements of a country's culture or climate. Attention-grabbing illustrations captured the interest of kids at home and school, sparking numerous conversations among the youngest would-be world travelers who returned to the map again and again. A companion guide provides additional information.
Candlewick Press, $15.99 (Hard Cover)
Melanie Walsh's green-themed new book is subtitled "Fun and easy eco-tips," and that truly sums it up. Her bottom line is that saving the planet isn't just a matter for scientists and Nobel Laureates---it comes down to advice that, quite literally, a child can follow. This book is full of simple, practical, common sense tactics to combat environmental issues such as global warming and wasteful energy policies. Her bold, cheery acrylic illustrations and simple shapes are similarly full of kid eye-appeal.
When assembled, this 96-piece interlocking world map measures approximately three by four-and a-half feet. The foam pieces are half-an-inch thick, making the map a fine surface for playing until children are old enough to appreciate the geography.
Children learn about the states through a series of games in which they match three kinds of cards to the corresponding states. As youngsters search the map, they discover interesting things about the states, as well as whether that state is near enough for them to visit.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.95 (Hard Cover)
Evicted from their homeland and living in an inhospitable country, a young boy's father returns from the local market with a map of the world instead of the expected ration of bread. Unable to forgive this seeming impracticality, the boy goes to bed hungry only to gradually realize over the ensuring days, months, and years, what a gift his father has actually bestowed on him. As he studies the exotic names on the map, he is transported to burning deserts, sandy beaches, snowy mountains, wondrous temples, groves of fruit, and cities full of tall buildings with "zillions of windows." An author's note, complete with reproductions of the author's early drawings of maps (age 10) and a very similar drawing of the bazaar (age 13) with a startling image of what may be Hitler in the foreground, makes it clear that this is a semi-autobiographical tale.
Houghton Mifflin/Walter Lorraine Books, $16.00 (Hard Cover)
This picture book's detailed, meticulous color etchings draw us into the mountain town the author and illustrator have created, inviting readers to explore this unique bit of Americana.
Houghton Mifflin Co., $16.00 (Hard Cover)
Undaunted by heat, insects, or crocodiles climbing into her canoe, Mary Kingsley embraced explorations almost unknown for a female of her day.
This installment of the Scholastic Video Collection has education, humor, music, and adventure that stands as proud as the American spirit it celebrates. For the inventive lead story, The Scrambled States of America, the state-shapes come to life - complete with regional accents - and switch places with other states to learn about the various parts of the country. Added features include: John Henry, as read by Samuel L. Jackson, and Johnny Appleseed.
Penguin Putnam Inc./ Philomel, $16.99 (Hard Cover)
So you want to be an explorer? What does it take, you ask? To find out, take a look at Judith St. George and David Small’s witty collection of some of the best explorers the world has ever known.You know Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus, but what about Mary Kingsley, who studied cannibals in Africa, or cowboy Jim White, who, by mistake, found Carlsbad Caverns?
Read the book, then do the puzzle! This special set contains a paperback version of Laurie Keller's The Scrambled States of America along with a 150 piece jigsaw puzzle featuring brand new art never before seen in the book! As a bonus, find 10 state-shaped pieces secretly hidden in the puzzle.
This fast-paced, matching card game offers a basic way to introduce kids to the geography of the United States and enhance observation skills. Each card is printed with several clever codes representative of various state "features" such as region (Midwest, Southeast etc), land mass, and population. Players roll a die and must be the first to locate and slap a card that matches the feature shown on the die. The player who achieves this keeps the card. The rounds continue until one player collects 10 cards.
Now you and your family can play the only game that asks official GeoBee questions! It's great for learning about countries, landforms, cultures, history, environment, and more.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $17.00 (Hard Cover)
More than a hundred years before Marco Polo's travels, Benjamin of Tudela journeyed from his home in Spain through France, Italy, Egypt, Greece, Constantinople, Syria, Persia, and Babylon to reach his primary destination: Jerusalem. Drawing upon decades of writing and illustrating for children, Uri Shulevitz - through the first-person narration of his protagonist - captures the excitement and sense of wonder that Benjamin of Tudela experienced throughout his 14-year expedition. Sidebars relay factual information about related subjects, such as the Crusades and the ancient city of Baghdad. To add to the experience, a map included in the front of the book helps readers follow the journey.
In the Xeko series of trading card games, each game takes players on a mission to a different part of the world, where help is needed in a conservation effort. The illustrated cards used for play showcase species of plant and animal that are native to each mission's country (in this case Indonesia). Players commented that the game teaches respect for the environment and how important conservation is to the future of our world.
DK Publishing, $24.99 (Hard Cover)
Any child the least bit interested in ecology, the environment, saving the Earth and the future will find this glossy-paged hardback to be a remarkable resource bound by its mission of conservation and protecting the environment. Its pages are packed with colorful graphics, photographs, maps galore, timelines and extensive information-even detailed explanations-about our planet, our climate, and survival.
In the game, snippets of the Planet Earth television series are shown as questions about the planet flash on the TV screen. Answer correctly and advance the game. Incorrect answers only mean you have more wonderful film and planet trivia to ponder. Each correctly-answered special question wins puzzle pieces. The player putting the final piece of Planet Earth in the puzzle - by correctly answering the final question - wins. Cited for ages 8 and up, the entire family will participate. As fun pastimes go, this one's a gem - beautiful, educational, fun and easy to play.
Silver Dolphin Books, $18.95 (Hard Cover)
Geography becomes an exciting, continent-hopping adventure with this amazing kit that pairs an engaging atlas with an attractive 3-D globe for a unique learning experience. Inside the book, detailed maps of all the countries and regions on Earth are paired with full-color photographs of important geographical features and historical sites as well as fun, informative text that adds cultural insight. By locating the different sites on the globe, children develop a better perspective of the true size, location, and relationship of countries, continents, and bodies of water.
Penguin Putnam/Dutton Children's Books, $22.99 (Hard Cover)
Ingenious paper mechanics pique kids' curiosity and give geography lessons 3-D pizzazz.
Have fun learning about the United States in this madcap game of observation and quick reflexes. Players learn the names, capitals, nicknames, shapes and positions of the states through a myriad of visual teasers, language riddles and geography challenges.
Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books, $17.99 (Hard Cover)
He claimed to have seen rocks burn, bandits command sandstorms, lions tamed with a look, and sorcerers charm sharks while divers gathered pearls on the ocean floor. Marco Polo shook Europe with descriptions of the world he´d seen on his epic journey to the court of Kublai Khan. But was Marco Polo the world´s most accomplished explorer? Had he really seen the "Roof of the World" in Central Asia, and the "City of Heaven" in far-off China? Or was he a charlatan who saw nothing more than the conjurings of his inventive mind? Join Russell Freedman as he tackles a centuries-old mystery.
Bookshelves offer starting points for many a journey. If you’ve ever wondered what life is around the country, take a trip through the pages of these Parents’ Choice recommended books.
Family Travel Adventures
While most parents don't have the funds or the time to take the kids around the world -- let alone upstate -- the movies offer travelogues with which to teach children about places they have yet to see.