In a previous post, Conversations With Maps, I outline how we do Geography based on Mason’s advice and principles. There are many aspects to Geography study such as humanistic (descriptive) and scientific (involving science and math). Mason wanted BOTH to be part of Geography. So, being drawn to a country by reading something literary and learning to care for the people and land of that country is important, but so is understanding the land formations, natural resources, and longitude and latitude of the land, as well as being able to draw the country from your mind’s eye.
Today I want to share with you a brand new find for me! These books encompass so much of the more humanistic or literary way of going about Geography. My friend Sandy first mentioned them to me and I have since been collecting them as I come across them, but I thought you might want to know about them as they do exactly what we hope a title we have chosen for geography might do! Seriously, these are the sweetest books!
Now, this is a series and aside from the wonderful Geoffrey Trease (who has written many titles in the series), each title is by a different author. Which means that they most likely are not all created equal. They are The Young Traveler Series! The New York Herald Tribune Book Review says:
Excellent in the first four titles. Informational stories seldom turn out as well as these…They would be a godsend to any family really planning to travel; but they are also good armchair reading, and we can imagine many uses for them in supplementary school work. Each takes up many aspects of the country besides the picturesque scenes all travelers love, such as government, crops, industry, festivals; history is woven in as various landmarks are seen. Best of all, the books are up-to-date, with references to the recent war. We enjoyed all the books.
I think most were written in the 1950s, so they aren’t terribly up-to-date. In each book, a young person around 13 travels to the title country and experiences the lay of the land with a citizen of that country. The books begin with a charming map, too. Sketches and black and white photographs abound.
The books originated in Great Britain. All of my copies are the American Editions. Here’s what that means:
These truly remarkable books have already won great popularity in Great Britain and it occurred to us that if they could be brought before American children then would contribute enormously to the interest of our young people in the various countries covered.
To this end we were fortunate enough to obtain the services of Frances Clarke Sayers, formerly head of work with the children a the New York Public Library, to “Americanize” the text, making the “Young Traveler” in each case an American- or a group of young Americans, as the theme required. The vocabulary in each case has been changed to meet the familiar scope of the young American reader, to sharpen his interst, hold his attention.
Which, of course, makes me want to read some of the non-American Editions! What vocabulary did they take out? Why wouldn’t the original hold my attention? Oh, well. The American Editions will not disappoint, anyway. The titles listed in the cover of my book are:
- The Young Traveler in England and Wales
- The Young Traveler in France
- The Young Traveler in Holland
- The Young Traveler in Sweden
- The Young Traveler in Ireland
- The Young Traveler in Switzerland
- The Young Traveler in Scotland
- The Young Traveler in New Zealand
- The Young Traveler in Australia
- The Young Traveler in Germany
- The Young Traveler in Italy
- The Young Traveler in South Africa
- The Young Traveler in the U.S.A.
- The Young Traveler in India and Pakistan
- The Young Traveler in China
- The Young Traveler in the South Seas
- The Young Traveler in Canada
- The Young Traveler in Czechoslovakia
- The Young Traveler in Mexico and Central America
These books would pair well with carefully planned map work and would make the study of any country come alive for your student – and for you!
Teaching from Peace,
I had never seen these! Thanks for posting!
Mother Undercover says
My son and I are currently reading The Young Traveler in Scotland. Thank you so much for the recommendation! My son will be performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August, and this book is proving to be a great way to learn more about Scotland. It will it be interesting for him to see what and how much things have changed (or not) since the book was written. There is also so much information woven into the text, we are presented with no end of interesting people, places, and historical events to research further. What a great find!
This is wonderful! I find that having the reader fall in love with the country is the first step in a life-long interest in the land and the people. Congratulations to your son, too. Have an amazing trip!
As an American historical geographer, I appreciate the fact that the subject “don’t get no respect.” Most of us were exposed to geography briefly and went on to learn more only if we were intellectually curious or liked to look at National Geographic magazine. It’s tempting to teach with such appealing materials as this series.
However, I have to say that you’re just making extra work for yourself by presenting geography to students using texts that are 60 years old. Back in the 50s people were still leery of plate tectonics, and the migrations of people and economic shifts of the past 60 years have changed the entire world. The presentation of 60-year-old material, especially in the books about China, India and Latin America, would be downright misleading to students. Why, Czechoslovakia doesn’t even exist anymore! While using material this old might present some fun ways to talk about history, you’d waste hours explaining the changes, instead of focusing on teaching kids what is happening now in the world. These books could serve as an interesting follow-up to compare and contrast, for example, how the economy of, say, Germany has changed since the 1950s. Kids deserve up-to-date information about the world in which they live.
Relevant and high quality work is being done with maps, now that cartography is pretty much a digital thing. Here’s an example of something my former department at the University of Wyoming put together for students in our state. http://www.uwyo.edu/wga/wyoming-student-atlas-project/wyoming%20student%20atlas%20sample%20pages.pdf
Thank you for stopping by. What do I think of your opinion? I couldn't agree more. The scientific and mathematical aspects are not what these books are about. In a CM paradigm, the students are all about the latest scientific discoveries and map work. Current events are a daily subject with The Economist one of their favorite resources. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear about that. Those are great resources for Wyoming! (Wyoming friends – check those out!) We have some similar resources for Minnesota.
Thank you so much, Jill. Your thoughts are always welcome here!
Jill Ottman says
Amy Marie says
Eeeeek. Lovely!:D Have you used Halliburton at all in Geography, Nancy? 🙂 If yes, how did you like him? 🙂
Yes! His Book of Marvels (student editions) are favorites. In fact, my very first blog post in 2010 was about The Occident! (7 years ago – that's crazy!)