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Sonderbooks Book Review of

How I Learned Geography

by Uri Shulevitz


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How I Learned Geography

by Uri Shulevitz

Review posted October 13, 2008.
Farrar Straus Giroux, New York, 2008. 32 pages.
Starred review.
2009 Caldecott Honor Book.

When Uri Shulevitz was a boy, he and his family were refugees from Poland. This vibrant picture book tells a simple story. One night, when they were hungry but had little money, Uri's father went to the market. Instead of buying bread, he came home with a large map of the world that brightened up one wall of their little room.

Although Uri was angry, and hungry, at first, eventually he pored over the map and was caught under its spell.

I found strange-sounding names on the map and savored their exotic sounds, making a little rhyme out of them:

"Fukuoka Takaoka Omsk,

Fukuyama Nagayama Tomsk,

Okazaki Miyazaki Pinsk,

Pennsylvania Transylvania Minsk!

I repeated this rhyme like a magic incantation and was transported far away without ever leaving our room.

This lovely book presents a simple idea in a beautiful way.