How I Learned Geography

Uri Shulevitz (Author) Uri Shulevitz (Illustrator)
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Having fled from war in their troubled homeland, a boy and his family are living in poverty in a strange country. Food is scarce, so when the boy's father brings home a map instead of bread for supper, at first the boy is furious. But when the map is hung on the wall, it floods their cheerless room with color. As the boy studies its every detail, he is transported to exotic places without ever leaving the room, and he eventually comes to realize that the map feeds him in a way that bread never could.

The award-winning artist's most personal work to date is based on his childhood memories of World War II and features stunning illustrations that celebrate the power of imagination. An author's note includes a brief description of his family's experience, two of his early drawings, and the only surviving photograph of himself from that time.
How I Learned Geography is a 2009 Caldecott Honor Book and a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Product Details

$19.99  $18.39
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
Publish Date
April 01, 2008
10.05 X 0.33 X 10.43 inches | 0.82 pounds

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About the Author

Uri Shulevitz is a Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator and author. He has written and illustrated many celebrated children's books, including the Caldecott Medal-winner The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, written by Arthur Ransome. He has also earned three Caldecott Honors, for The Treasure, Snow, and How I Learned Geography.


"Fascinating." --The Wall Street Journal

"It is a masterpiece." --New York Times Book Review

"Shulevitz's simply worded text can be read to preschoolers, but it packs an emotional punch that will resonate with older children and even adults. The watercolor and ink illustrations add further depth as Shulevitz switches from a monochrome palette to a chorus of colors spotlighting how the map stirred his imagination." --Washington Post Book World

"Caldecott Medal winner Uri Shulevitz's newest picture book, How I Learned Geography, is really a love story for the world. It belongs to the newly popular genre of memoir as picture book. Shulevitz handles his autobiographical material with grace and humor. . . . Shulevitz always puts character at the forefront of his work. The expressions and gestures of his characters are believable, human-scale, and tender, full of dreaming." --The Boston Globe

"Lyrical watercolors depict . . . the power of imagination." --The San Francisco Chronicle

"The essence of his tale lies in the power of imagination." --The Sacramento Bee

"The story and its triumphant afterword demonstrate that Uri masters much more than geography; he realizes the importance of nurturing the soul." --Starred, Publishers Weekly

"This poignant story can spark discussion about the power of the imagination to provide comfort in times of dire need." --Starred, School Library Journal

"Whether enjoyed as a reflection of readers' own imaginative travels, or used as a creative entree to classroom geography units, this simple, poignant offering will transport children as surely as the map it celebrates." --Starred, Booklist

"Signature watercolor illustrations contrast the stark misery of refugee life with the boundless joys of the imagination." --Kirkus Reviews

"This is a wonderful tale and a timely message of hope." --Ellen Scott, The Bookworm, Omaha, NE

"A tribute to the power of wide imaginative horizons, this gains impact from its basis in Shulevitz's own experiences, which give it reality beyond mere wishful thinking." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"This is a natural pair with Peter Sis's The Wall for its depiction of a gifted young artist finding inspiration and expressing himself despite profoundly daunting circumstances." --The Horn Book

"This simple, poignant offering will transport children as surely as the map it celebrates." --Book Links