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How I Learned Geography (2008)

di Uri Shulevitz

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5477332,579 (4.07)9
As he spends hours studying his father's world map, a young boy escapes the hunger and misery of refugee life. Based on the author's childhood in Kazakhstan, where he lived as a Polish refugee during World War II.

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This story is about a young boy whose family was very poor and could barely afford to eat. One day the boys father brought home a map instead of food went he went into town in search of food for his family. The boy initially was very angry at his father for causing them to go to bed hungry, but eventually came to love the map because looking at it allowed him to travel to places in his mind. This book could be used for a lesson by asking children to dig deeper into the meaning behind the book and have them provide feedback more in depth to answers than can just be found by reading the book. ( )
  sep067 | Sep 24, 2020 |
This story would make a good addition to a history lesson. It is a story about a boy and his family having to flee from war. ( )
  SkylerStanley | Apr 29, 2020 |
A young boy and his family had to evacuate to another town. He learned geography with the map his father bought at the market rather than buying bread for the family. His father knew the map would help them. He had nothing else better to do but study the map. He acted like he was traveling to the places on the map in his imagination. The map was an escape from his desperate situation. The map gave him courage and a way out of his sadness. Sometimes something so little can change someones world or mind. ( )
  CameronYoung | Apr 27, 2020 |
I can objectively tell this is a good book. The story is also a bittersweet one and honest. I am just not a big fan of Uri Shulevitz's art style. ( )
  EMiMIB | Jul 13, 2019 |
A story that seems simple yet holds great meaning, especially when considering the author's note about growing up during and after WWII. He includes a photograph of him as a child and two drawings he made at 12 and 13. These details bring life to the story. I'm not sure I would have this as a read-aloud for any specific topic, but it is a wonderful example of creative nonfiction and a window into both the inner world of imagination and the outer world of geography.
  Stewart24 | May 22, 2018 |
[Starred Review] ... Driven from home by a war that devastated the land, a family flees to a remote city.... One day, the father returns from the market not with bread for supper but with a wall-filling map of the world. ... Although hungry, the boy finds sustenance of a different sort in the multicolored map, which provides... a catalyst for soaring, pretend visits to exotic lands. Shulevitz's rhythmic, first-person narrative reads like a fable for young children. Its autobiographical dimension, however, will open up the audience to older grade-schoolers, who will be fascinated by the endnote describing Shulevitz's life as a refugee in Turkestan after the Warsaw blitz, including his childhood sketch of the real map. ...
aggiunto da CourtyardSchool | modificaBook Links, Jennifer Mattson (Jul 1, 2008)
 
... Shulevitz now gives us his first explicitly autobiographical story. It is a masterpiece. ... In 1939, 4-year-old Shulevitz flees his smoking home in Warsaw.... One night the father returns from the bazaar without food — lacking money enough to feed the three of them, he has instead purchased a map. ... For the narrator ...the wall-size map begins to show him a world he can claim. ... the boy visits beaches, snowy expanses, dazzling cities, and in escaping his misery without walking one step, he at last comes to realize his father’s wisdom. ... In framing his own story, replacing autobiographical fact with archetypal forms, Shulevitz keeps the focus on the inner world that he has so consistently illuminated. Once again, he reminds us that folly is not the opposite of wisdom, but so close a relative that the two are often mistaken.
 
[Starred Review] Gr 2-5 Shulevitz provides a note and early drawings to source this story based on his own childhood experience. A small boy and his parents flee Poland in 1939. ... When the narrator's father returns from the bazaar with a huge map instead of bread to feed his starving family, his wife and son are furious. But... the youngster becomes fascinated by its every detail. ... The folk-style illustrations... combined with the brief text, create a perfectly paced story. ... Scenes framed in white depict the family boxed in by their desperate circumstances.... The frames disappear as the boy imagines himself released from his confinement to travel his newly discovered world. This poignant story can spark discussion about the power of the imagination to provide comfort in times of dire need.
aggiunto da CourtyardSchool | modificaSchool Library Journal, Marianne Saccardi (May 1, 2008)
 
A refugee boy learns more than geography from his father in this autobiographical memoir. A small boy and his parents flee war’s devastation.... One day the boy’s father comes home from the bazaar with a map instead of bread and the boy is furious. But... the boy spends hours studying and drawing the map and making rhymes out of exotic place names. He forgets he has no toys or books. ... In the spare text, Shulevitz pays tribute to his father as he recounts his family’s flight from Warsaw to Turkestan in 1939. Signature watercolor illustrations contrast the stark misery of refugee life with the boundless joys of the imagination.
aggiunto da CourtyardSchool | modificaKirkus Reviews (Jan 15, 2008)
 
[Starred Review] In a work more personal than Caldecott Medalist Shulevitz... has ever before offered, he summons boyhood memories of WWII and shows how he learned to defeat despair. Fleeing Warsaw shortly after the Germans invaded in 1939, the child Uri and his parents eke out a miserable existence in Kazakhstan. One day, Father comes home from the bazaar with a huge map of the world... [and] the boy is swept away by exotic place-names... picturing them remote from his hunger and suffering. As Uri taps into his artistic imagination and draws maps of his own, Shulevitz's illustrations shed their bleak, neorealist feel, and his beaten-down younger self becomes a Sendakian figure—sturdily compact, balletic, capable of ecstatic, audacious adventures. ...
 
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As he spends hours studying his father's world map, a young boy escapes the hunger and misery of refugee life. Based on the author's childhood in Kazakhstan, where he lived as a Polish refugee during World War II.

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