Maps: Return to the Map Book


I found Amie’s Map Book. It had gone missing in the move.  The Map Book, or Place Book, is a collection of maps, pasted in or drawn, of where we have been living and traveling (you can see some more scans here), with anecdotes and journal entries addressed to Amie.

Amie became very interested in maps when we went to visit the Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge last week. She was given some trail maps by the officer there. When we got lost trying to find another Refuge, she helped me by reading the big road atlas. “It says North, Mama, we need to go North!”  she piped from the back seat. She fell asleep with the big book on her lap.

When we came home she asked for more maps, so I dug up a whole bunch of them (I’m a sucker for city maps, museum maps, road atlases…). All these she arranged on her table, like at the Refuge. She won’t let anyone touch them.

Then she sat down and drew a map of her own, to take on a Heffalump Hunt.


She understands the basics of what a map is for, that it represents a place, a part of space. She knows the words “North, South, East and West” and can place them on the compass rose. She learned this from the map at the beginning of The Hobbit and from her globe, which she got for Christmas. She has a rudimentary understanding of them as directions.

It’ll be great fun, exploring them with her, and the compass, and dimension and scale, legends and contours…

In the meantime I’m going to steal some of those maps and get the Map Book up to date. There are trips to Singapore to add, to India, to the White Mountains and to New York City, to Washington DC, and into Boston. And I can’t believe our new place isn’t in it yet: our land, our neighborhood, the ponds and the lakes and the houses of her friends and school…

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