Sunday Salon – Review of “How I Learned Geography” by Uri Shulevitz

The Sunday

Here is a book that might make an especially meaningful gift for children who are watching their families “tighten their belts” in this economy.

This lovely true story from the author’s childhood is a slightly-modified Jewish Holocaust children’s version of the Emily Dickinson poem:

“There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,

Nor any coursers like a page

Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of toll;

How frugal is the chariot

That bears a human soul!”

As the story recounts, the author and his family, fleeing from Nazi Germany in 1939, escaped from Warsaw and made their way to Kazakhstan in the Soviet Union.

One day on a search for bread, his father came home instead with a map of the world. Angry at first, the little boy soon came to spend “enchanted hours far, far from our hunger and misery.”

The story can be understood either from the words or from the imaginative watercolor illustrations. A world of ideas is presented in this short book, which can be enjoyed by any age group, from preschoolers on up. Highly recommended!


Caldecott Honor (2009)
Charlotte Zolotow Award Honor (2009)

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008


About rhapsodyinbooks

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2 Responses to Sunday Salon – Review of “How I Learned Geography” by Uri Shulevitz

  1. Debbie Nance says:

    This sounds like a good book for my primary school library!

  2. I should’ve read this one with The Girl for the WWII challenge! I hope it’s okay that I linked to your review on War Through the Generations.


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