Tag Archives: maps

Cartological Literature

4 Apr

I’ve written before of my love of books with maps. During March, while I was madly writing for the Slice of Life Challenge, I read two books were maps were not only included to support the reader, they played significant roles in each story.

The Golden Specific by S. E. Grove, is the sequel to The Glass Sentence,  which I wrote about in July 2014. 

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Goodreads Summary: It is the summer of 1892, one year since Sophia Tims and her friend Theo embarked upon the dangerous adventure that rewrote the map of the world. Since their return home to Boston, she has continued searching for clues to her parents’ disappearance, combing archives and libraries, grasping at even the most slender leads. Theo has apprenticed himself to an explorer in order to follow those leads across the country—but one after another proves to be a dead end.

Then Sophia discovers that a crucial piece of the puzzle exists in a foreign Age. At the same time, Theo discovers that his old life outside the law threatens to destroy the new one he has built with Sophia and her uncle Shadrack. What he and Sophia do not know is that their separate discoveries are intertwined, and that one remarkable person is part of both.

There is a city that holds all of the answers—but it cannot be found on any map. Surrounded by plague, it can only be reached by a journey through darkness and chaos, which is at the same time the plague’s cure: The Golden Specific.

The third and final book, The Crimson Skew, is due to be published July 12, 2016 and that is not so far off that I will forget what happened in this one.

I also read The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig.

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Goodreads Summary: Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.

This one was interesting and got me thinking again about Captain Janeway of the of the Starfleet starship USS Voyager, who, when faced with time travel, said, “Time travel. Since my first day on the job as a Starfleet captain I swore I’d never let myself get caught in one of these godforsaken paradoxes – the future is the past, the past is the future, it all gives me a headache.”

Captain Janeway  and all other Star Trek characters were subject to the  Temporal Prime Directive. All Starfleet personnel were strictly forbidden from directly interfering with historical events and are required to maintain the timeline and prevent history from being altered. It also restricts people from telling too much about the future, so as not to cause paradoxes or alter the timeline. But Nix’s father is not a Starfleet Captain and answers to no one but himself. Book two is expected sometime in 2017, so, you have a lot of time to read this. Unless you have access to a map that will take youth the future.

Maptastic thoughts on personal geography

25 Aug

I recently finished listening to Andrew Clements’  The Map Trap.

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Alton loves maps and draws his own personal geographies of people and experiences. Some of them are brutally honest, so he doesn’t show them to others. Alas, one day his collection goes missing and he goes on a mission to find them and the person who is holding them hostage. The book is about what you’d expect from Andrew Clements, though shorter than many of this other books. There is a precious kid with a problem to solve. I think, though, that my prediction about the culprit was better than Clements’ actual perpetrator. Even though his teacher is a first year teacher, I can’t imagine she would be so unprofessional as to blackmail a student to confront a principal about saying “um” or make him change the type of t-shirt he wears. I suspected it was Alton’s little sister, and I would expect someone her age to blackmail a  sibling into doing those sorts of activities.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Keith Nobbs who does a marvelous job. Quite frankly, he saved it for me.  Nobbs projects a youthful voice appropriate to the characters in the novel, whom he manages ti differentiate nicely. His narration of the more descriptive elements of the book provides a nice balance with the emotional states of the characters.

The 2 CD Simon & Schuster audiobook, which runs 2 hours & 30 minutes, was provided to me by Audiobook Jukebox.

As I was listening to the book, an idea took hold. In spite of the books faults, it could be a good read aloud during a map unit. Or, it could be a great beginning of the year read aloud that helps turn kids on to ways of representing themselves.

Imagine reading The Map Trap  aloud, but coupling it with non-fiction texts about mapping personal geographies!

For younger readers, or to introduce the idea, you could turn to Sara Fanelli’s My Map Book.

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This is a wonderful book in which she maps everything from a bedroom to a dog.

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For older readers, there is You Are Here: Personal geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination by Katharine Harmon.

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 Some of these have some mature content, so be sure to preview it before sharing it with kids. The book was written with an adult audience in mind, but the ideas contained within are beautiful and though provoking.

The idea of mapping your personal geography flows into the art of info graphics. James Gulliver Hancock has a new book out entitled Artists, Writers, Thinkers, Dreamers: Portraits of 50 famous Folks & All Their Weird Stuff.

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From Abraham Lincoln to the Wright Brothers, Hancock creates mind maps of famous lives.

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Wouldn’t this be a cool beginning of the year activity? You’d learn about your students and you could see what kind of thinking and graphic skills they have.

A Mad Dash to the Finish

30 Jul

I am going out of town today. I’ve spent the last few days finishing up the library books I could not renew, renewing the ones I could, and finishing those that I could. One of these was The Glass Sentence by S. E Grove.

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 S. E. Grove might have written this book with me in mind. It is a tale of exploration and cartography in world in which Time has been Disrupted.  Each of the continents has been flung into a different time period; some are broken onto many time periods. Sophia Tims, our heroine comes from a line of cartologers and explorers. Her parents disappeared on a journey of exploration when she was small and Sophia was raised by her Uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, if not in the entire world.

The book opens with a call from certain elements within society to expel all foreigners and close the border to them. And to keep the citizens of New Occident safe within New Occident. I sort of wondered if the author was reflecting a little on the current immigration situation. In anticipation of this, Shadrack begins to prepare Sophia for a journey they will take together, by beginning her cartological training. This is cut short when Shadrack is abducted and Sophia, naturally,  sets out to find him. As she journeys, she encounters bad guys, new friends and all sorts of adventures.

I love a book with a map in it..and this book has three! And the maps Grove cannot show, but only describe are marvelous.The maps in The Glass Sentence are more than two-dimensional diagrams in the Cartesian coordinate system. Maps can be compilations of memory; and maps made of different materials might be layered one upon the other. In fact, the whole book is really about a race to fin the carta mayor, the map to end all maps which shows the world as it is, as it was and as it could be.

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This is the first book in a series, but ends without a frustrating cliffhanger, which I appreciate. I am all for cliffhangers, but not when one has to wait months or years for the next installment.

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