Years ago, not during my childhood but when I was first teaching, a guy would come by every so often and set up children’s books in the teachers’ lounge. We teachers would look over the books and we could buy them — at good prices.
I bought several books this way (not needing a lot of pushing, as I’ve always loved books anyway).
One day, I saw the Big World Atlas. I remember being a little reluctant since it was more expensive, but there was ‘floor model’ with a bit of wear. It seemed to be calling my name. I bought it, and it became one of the most popular books in my classroom.
Over the years, many kids spent hours poring over the big (the book is about 3 feet high) maps of the world, and of each continent. Of course, the colorful maps and illustrations within them made things much inviting than in the boring maps in typical textbooks.
They learned so many things about various countries, just by looking at the pictures. Being me, I had to highlight Germany. Can you spot Neuschwanstein? No, it doesn’t have things labeled, but that can be an incentive for the kids to do a little research …
When I had my own kids, the Big Big World Atlas came home with me. My girls carried on the tradition of loving this book. I’m sure quite a bit of their knowledge of the world came from it. When I asked daughter #3 about it, she immediately mentioned “that awesome flag with 2 triangles, and the neat picture of cotton, and the seal, and” … what can I say, it’s one of those childhood items that burrows into one’s memory.
Big Big World Atlas is showing its age. It’s been taped and repaired many times, but the girls have finally stopped looking at it, and it’s time for it to move along (Marie Kondo would be so proud).
But not before a moment of recognition.
Did you have an atlas as a child? Do you remember enjoying looking at maps or flags of countries?