How I Learned Geography

  • Review
By – January 16, 2012

Uri Shule­vitz has cap­tured in this emo­tion­al­ly mov­ing tale, what the sci­ence of geog­ra­phy is meant to sprout in young minds— free­dom, dis­cov­ery and imag­i­na­tion. This slim book is flood­ed with feel­ing as Shulevitz’s mar­velous text recalls his child­hood flight from Poland; reveal­ing the dev­as­ta­tion of war, a forced migra­tion and the strains of mak­ing a home in an unknown land. Uri’s father’s trip to the mar­ket yields a map instead of bread, cre­at­ing dis­may for the young boy and his moth­er. Yet, it is this action that pro­vides the child with an escape from the chaos that has shat­tered his young life. The map feeds his imag­i­na­tion. Uri learns to love the col­ors and shapes, the names and the places that speak of dif­fer­ent lives across the globe. It frees his mind and trans­ports him beyond the walls of his present home to explore what can be pos­si­ble and instills in him, the need­ed hope for his future. Shulevitz’s illus­tra­tions are mas­ter­ful. Pen, ink and water­col­or, at first por­tray the lim­it­ed envi­ron­ment and dis­play the sad­ness of this odd col­lec­tion of peo­ple. The hang­ing of the map enlivens the artist’s brush and the col­ors pour forth describ­ing the loca­tions and adven­tures of an imag­i­na­tive young man. Uri vis­its deserts and beach­es, exot­ic tem­ples, dreams of tempt­ing foods, relax­es near flow­ing waters and soars through cities. The author includes a brief his­to­ry of his per­son­al jour­ney, which adds depth to the text. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed for ages 4 – 12.

Chris­tine Maas­dam holds a Mas­ters in Human­i­ties, cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in Muse­um Stud­ies and Cul­tur­al Prop­er­ty Pro­tec­tion. She is cur­rent­ly com­plet­ing her M.L.I.S. Her inter­ests are phi­los­o­phy and the impact of art and tech­nol­o­gy on culture.

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