Maps / The 50 States
These books are great gifts - large format, informative, playful and enjoyably educational. Maps, an oversized fully illustrated atlas by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski, will equally engage kids and adults with it’s beautiful design and multitude of details. It opens with a world map showing the continents. Next you see a continent divided into countries, followed by several pages of major countries from each continent. These country maps show the capitol, languages, population, regional animals, foods, famous historical persons, flag, and landmarks of each country. They also include an illustration of a “typical” boy and girl, with common names that feature regional dress. There is so much to linger over, you’ll spend hours with this book dreaming about traveling and learning more about the world.
The 50 States is written by Gaabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sol Linero. 50 States does for the US what Maps does for the countries of the world. It tries to be more informative by providing copy about points of interest, inspiring people and historical moments. Also listed are the the origins of the state name, bird, flower, tree, postal code, region and time zone. We've had fun getting into each map and making discoveries; for example - the name California comes from the fictional warrior Queen Calafia, ruler of a mythical island in a Spanish tale. I now have a hankering to visit Nebraska’s National Museum of Roller Skating, and to attend the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival in Colorado. Especially now when the US is in a moment where many feel disconnection, it seems a good exercise to learn more about all the different parts of the whole.
Maps is more image based, while 50 States is supplemented with a lot of written material. If I was only selecting one book to gift, I would choose Maps due to the universal appeal and unlimited age range. The 50 States is a nice companion, I think if a child enjoyed Maps, they would also enjoy the latter.