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review 2017-03-27 03:01
Me on the Map - Joan Sweeney

I did a practice guided reading with this story, and I thought it was fantastic. This story makes it personal, and more fun to learn about geography and what's on a map.


I would use this story to teach Kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade students about streets, cities, states, etc. I would have them do a graphic organizer of their own map. This lesson could also be done at the beginning of the school year as an icebreaker for the students to get to know each other.


Reading Level: 1-2

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review 2017-02-25 08:52
Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Frightful Destinations
Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Frightful Destinations - Olivier Le Carrer

I saw this book in the bookshop and it was the perfect storm of "buy me":  Gorgeous cover, a title with Cursed in it, and content focused on the unusual. 


The cover is still gorgeous.  Cursed didn't mean exactly what I thought it meant, though it was still very interesting.  I flashed on the simplest definition: a hex conjured by really pissed off people.  The author used the word in the broader context: places that seem eternally destined for strife, challenges or difficulties; an area prone to high death rates, but because of geography as opposed to the wrath of an individual or group.  Still great stuff, just not quite as edgy.


The writing is good, but the editing was disappointing; in a book that was obviously so carefully put together, these word-order errors were jarring.  The author, La Carrer is unapologetically sarcastic at times, and not for humorous effect; I got my edginess, but not in the way I was expecting.  There are small touches of humor here and there, and the entry for Point Cook, Australia is hilarious; he makes it sound like the mecca for animals who are only here to kill you.


It's a quick, easy read and I learned a lot; I didn't feel like he chose run of the mill places on the map.  Amityville and Gaza aren't going to be new to anyone but for me at least, most of these were almost or completely new.  Kibera has almost completely squashed my desire to see the Maldives, but I'm now incredibly interested in seeing the Kasanka National Park (spoiler alert: it involves bats).

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review 2017-02-22 07:11
Ancient Geography: The Discovery of the World in Classical Greece and Rome by Duane W. Roller
Ancient Geography: The Discovery of the World in Classical Greece and Rome (Library of Classical Studies) - Duane W. Roller

This book provides a summary and brief analysis of what the Classical Greeks and Romans knew or thought about the world around them in terms of geography and exploratory journeys.  The book basically does what it says on the cover, so there isn't much to comment  on.  This book would make a useful addition for someone researching geography during the Classical Greek & Roman age.  For the non-researcher this book may eventually get a bit tedious, even though it is interesting in parts.





*  The Extraordinary Voyage of Pytheas the Greek by Barry Cunliffe.

*  Europe Before Rome:  A Site-By-Wite Tour of the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages by T. Douglas Price.

*  In Search of the Immortals:  Discovering the World's Mummy Cultures by Howard Reid.

*  The Voyage of the Argo:  The Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes

*  The Vinland Sagas



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review 2017-01-27 04:07
Me on the Map
Me on the Map - Joan Sweeney

Me on the Map, written by Joan Sweeney, is about a young girl who shows readers herself on the map. She show them her street, city, state, her room, and her country. The book uses bright illustrations and colorful pictures to help explain the maps. The young girl the story centers around explains the difference of certain maps and why it is important to know what a map is. This is a great book to read for shared group reading and you can do a picture walk before reading the book aloud to get the students excited and interested. After reading the book aloud you can then incorporate  Geography by providing them with a graphic organizer where they will draw what their state looks like, town/city, room, street, and country. Allowing them do make their own graphic organizer it is a great way to formally assess what they learned from the book and it also keeps them interested and engaged. This lesson can be used from first grade through fifth grade. I believe it can be used in so many different grades because even though it is a basic story it is still a great way to incorporate geography and even art into reading. 

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text 2016-09-12 15:06
Reading progress update: I've read 55 out of 320 pages.
Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics - Tim Marshall

It is interesting.Finished Russia and almost at the end of China.


One of the things I'm coming away with, is just how unstable and always-changing, the world is. However, the new generation has never really known war... or rather, the impact of war. Modern warfare has always seemed like a distant thing that our soldiers go to, and yet life continues on here in metropolis.


There are other things that have made me sit up and think... people will live and die in the blink of an eye, compared with how geography affects politics and warfare. The leaders of countries in our modern world, are still faced with the same restrictions as those faced by leaders hundreds of years before them.


It has not only shaped military strategy, but also culture. It is incredible to look back at the events of just the last hundred years and see all that has happened, and think of how wonderful the last few decades of peace in our own lands, has actually been. Some of the comments demonstrate how readily we judge another country's actions, and judge them, according to our own cultures, which obviously doesn't work.


I'm not even 20% of the way through this book and already it is altering the way I'm seeing things, and understanding the motivations of some of the recent actions, like the anexation of Crimea... and the importance of being self reliant for energy as well as knocking our selfish consumer culture on the head. Also, perhaps China is closer to a civil uprising than I believed.


There is a saying in America, that you're only ever three paycheques away from the street. Looking back at the very, very recent past, is making me aware of how precarious our future actually is.

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