Anna's Reviews > How I Learned Geography

How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz
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's review
Aug 26, 2012

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bookshelves: 2012, caldecott-honor, children, memoir, photography

This is an autobiographical picture book - young Uri and his family are Jewish refugees during WWII, fleeing from Warsaw to Turkestan. Food and money are scarce, and one night Uri's father brings home a map instead of dinner. Young Uri is angry (and hungry), but eventually the map becomes an escape for him - a way to learn about the world and to imagine a way out of his situation and into far-off lands.
It is a great story about the importance of imagination and education, but I think if I were a kid who read or was told this story, I would get hung up on the question of "but what did they eat?" The point is that the map was more important, and clearly they did eat, because otherwise they wouldn't have survived. But the story transitions directly from hunger to Uri's adventures with the map, and food is never addressed again. Young readers may require extra explanation with this one.

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