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Six books to inspire the next generation of geographers

Six books to inspire the next generation of geographers
26 Nov
Give the gift of adventure this year with these superb books for the young explorer in your life

With author Tim Marshall releasing a young geographer’s version of his best-selling Prisoners of Geography, there’s never been a better time to encourage the explorers and adventurers of tomorrow to follow their passion for the discovering the world. And what better way to reach them this Christmas than with one or more of the following superb titles? From brain-tingling facts, to adventures in far-flung locales to hand-drawn maps – we’ve rounded up six of the most exciting and inspiring books for young geographers...

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Mountains of Dreams

MOUNTAINS OF DREAMS written by Laura Bingham, illustrated by Laura Wall

£6.99 (softback) • Award Publications

Telling the true story of her cycle across South America, adventurer Laura Bingham’s charming tale encourages any geographer to believe in the power of determination. She explains how she took no money on her travels, instead choosing to rely on the kindness of strangers and her own survival skills as she pedaled across Ecuador. Thirty-two pages of hand-drawn illustrations by Laura Wall depict the Andes and a range of animals that will capture the attention of any child between the ages of four and eight, and if encouraging your child to be passionate isn’t enough, a donation from every book will be made to Operation South America; a British charity that aims to improve the lives of deprived children in Paraguay.

Explorers: Amazing Tales of the World's Greatest Adventurers

EXPLORERS: AMAZING TALES OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST ADVENTURERS written by Nellie Huang, illustrated by Jessamy Hawke

£16.99 (hardback) • Dorling Kindersley

Meet famous explorers and adventurers while learning the history, geography and politics they lived through on their travels. Huang has matched the stories of 50 men and women (only a third are women, so slightly lacking in girl power) with pages of gorgeous and elaborate illustrations, hoping to prove just what humans are capable of. The foreword even offers advice for aspiring explorers from one herself; Barbara Hillary, who reached the North and South poles in her 70s asks readers to think where they’d like their sense of adventure to take them. While hoping to inspire the next generation, the book is also fun for the parents who get to read it to their kids. There’ll be at least one route around the globe that you hadn’t heard of before! Ideally suited to readers in their pre-teens as some of the terminology (‘cartographer, ethnology’) might be a touch challenging for those of a younger age. But nonetheless, a book with plenty to find on every page.

The Incredible Ecosystems of Planet Earth

THE INCREDIBLE ECOSYSTEMS OF PLANET EARTH written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky

£12.99 (hardback) • Wren & Rook

Ignotofsky has taken a different approach to a child’s geography book, focusing on the power of nature rather than the determination of man. Across 120 pages she explains the workings of the world’s ecosystems through infographics and complex terminology. This is one to challenge the brain and is suited to children already reading, perhaps of seven or eight upwards. Another thing setting this one apart: Ignotofsky presents maps and ecosystem webs in an abstract style. A book that will absorb, delight and educate in equal measures.

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Ocean - Secrets of the Deep

OCEAN: SECRETS OF THE DEEP written by Sabrina Weiss, illustrated by Giulia De Amicis

£14.99 (hardback) • What on Earth Books

One for the animal-obsessed child in your life. Weiss and De Amicis have focused solely on the ocean and its residents, offering handy comparisons to aid understanding: a whale is as big as a bus – got it. In terms of age, those as young as three could begin deciphering the cartoon-style pictures. This is also good for those wanting to teach their children the importance of sustainability. The ‘Ocean in Peril’ chapter lays out simply how much is wasted during fishing, as well as the effect of warming water in a manner that is accessible without becoming overwhelming.

Great Adventurers

GREAT ADVENTURERS: THE INCREDIBLE EXPEDITIONS OF 20 EXPLORERS written by Alastair Humphreys, illustrated by Kevin Ward

£16.99 (hardback) • Big Picture Press

A geographer’s take on the graphic novel. While focusing on adventurers, Humphrey’s does this in a different way. He appeals to the hero-obsessed and those who want something more interactive (the final pages of the book providing a space for your child to plan their own great adventure, for instance). In terms of the explorers Humphrey’s shares, he’s saved you from reading the James Cook and Charles Darwin stories again, instead choosing to shine a spotlight on those less well-known. For example, Michael Collins flew the spacecraft that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the Moon from, and it’s his ‘diary’ that makes it into the book. With each explorer having just four pages on the journeys they undertook, the book feels like a series of short stories which definitely makes for good bedtime reading.

Atlas of Ocean Adventures

ATLAS OF OCEAN ADVENTURES written by Emily Hawkins, illustrated by Lucy Letherland

£20 (hardback) • Wide Eyed Editions

The clue is in the title: this is an atlas, for which you’ll be grateful for when it comes to science and geography homework. Less storytelling, more facts and thoroughly detailed images on what’s hiding under the sea. Mini maps give context to where the book has moved to in the globe, while the text scattered among the pictures help parent and child discover the finer details of each page. Different from the books listed above, the mentioned locations are less-well-known, particularly to children of five and above. Such as the South Orkney Islands and the Ross Sea. This makes it the perfect Christmas present for the child that wants to know it all.

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