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Maps and Mapping

best childrens books about maps and mapping

Best Children’s Books about Maps and Mapping

All aboard for a voyage of discovery! This booklist offers young readers a richly illustrated introduction to the fascinating world of maps and mapping. Alongside beautiful atlases and map books, we also feature recommended stories about maps and the adventures that they may hold.

On our expertly-selected booklist, you’ll find everything from picture book stories about mapmaking adventures to engaging chapter books that weave tales of navigation and exploration. We’ve also curated a selection of the best children’s atlases, perfect for primary school children to learn about different countries, continents and landforms.

From The Atlas of Great Journeys to Martha Maps it Out, grab a compass and explore this list of the best children’s books about maps and mapping.

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Best atlases for children

Simon Holland
 & Jill Calder
Explore the world by looking not only at borders, mountains, rivers, seas and oceans, but by discovering the natural wonders of the world, historical artefacts, amazing animals, fascinating cultures and much much more.With stunning illustrations from the incredible Jill Calder, The Picture Atlas is quite unlike anything you’ve seen before. From the freezing Arctic Circle with its powerful orca whales, to the amazing Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef, learn, explore and be amazed by the wonders of the world.Bursting full of beautiful artwork, informative maps and astounding facts, take a trip around the world like you've never seen it before.
Philip Steele
First Atlas is the perfect introduction to world geography for your 5+ year old. Clearly labelled map on every spread, highlighting key towns, cities and geographical features Fact and activity panels throughout encourage your child to cement what they have learnt Includes a 700 x 900 mm world map poster Young readers will explore and discover the world using the appealing, contemporary artwork. Each page covers a particular region of the world and contains a clearly labelled, colourful map. Engaging text, fun facts and plenty of features to spot help children's confidence to grow in using an atlas.
Emily Bone
 & Daniel Taylor
A stunning atlas with 15 beautifully illustrated maps for children to pore over. Young explorers can discover the countries, continents, oceans, mountains and ice caps of our amazing planet and learn where different animals and people live. There are fascinating facts about each country, plus flags and capital cities and an index of place names.
Aleksandra Mizielinska,Daniel Mizielinski
Explore the world with this lavish book of maps. This collection of 52 highly illustrated maps details not only geographical features and political borders, but also places of interest, iconic personalities, native animals and plants, local peoples, cultural events, and many more fascinating facts associated with each region.This book is a celebration of the world, from its immense mountains to its tiny insects - and everything in between!

Continent and country map books for children

 & Mouni Feddag
This non-fiction book is British-Nigerian storyteller Atinuke's personal love letter to the African continent, and its 55 countries in all their variety. It divides Africa into five sections: South, East, West, Central and North, each with its own introduction. This is followed by a page per country, containing a delightful mix of friendly, informative text and colourful illustrations.
Gabrielle Balkan
 & Sol Linero
In 51 charmingly illustrated infographic maps, explore every state of the USA from Alabama to Wyoming and the nation's capital to discover more than 2,000 facts that celebrate the people, cities, nature and historic events that have helped make America what it is today. You'll also get an expansive guide to the state flags and US presidents.
Imogen Russell Williams
 & Louise Lockhart
Introduce children to the wonders, history, culture and customs of the United Kingdom with The Big Book of the UK. Learn about the sport of "dwile flonking", find out where black diamonds come from, ,eet the supernatural animal that haunts the Scottish Highlands and discover the British sweets that helped Hillary and Tenzing scale Everest. Filled with facts about wildlife, food, sports, geography, language and some very silly place names, this book will help you uncover national secrets and unearth local legends from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Rachel Dixon & Ms. Livi Gosling
Take a tour of the United Kingdom as you've never seen it before in this fully illustrated set of colourful and fact-filled county maps. Travel through England , Northern Ireland , Scotland and Wales and meet the incredible people born there, learn about the UK's proud history and discover ancient castles, modern feats of engineering and natural highlights. Maps of the UK is also a beautiful atlas of the UK's history and culture , showing how Britons from all over the world have shaped the country for thousands of years. A fabulous introduction to the UK's geography, history and culture, for readers young and old.

Themed map books

Emily Hawkins
 & Lucy Letherland

Atlas of Ocean Adventures is an oversized hardback with immersive illustrations that showcase the natural wonders and marine marvels from different oceans of the world.

Each impressive double-page spread features a different sea creature in its natural habitat, including a range of fish, marine birds and larger mammals. Maps, illustrations, captions and text boxes work together to build a picture of the incredible diversity of ocean life around the world. There are plenty of intriguing details to capture readers’ imagination and there are also nods towards the need for sustainability in the way human behaviours affect the natural ocean habitats.

This delight of a book is the 5th title in the best-selling Atlas of Adventures series, perfect for children aged 7-11 to dip in and out of time and time again at school or home.

Maggie Li

Close your eyes and you can probably imagine the cities of London, Paris and New York -but what about Buenos Aires or Singapore or Mumbai?
With a globetrotting penguin as our guide, in The Big City Atlas we embark on a world tour to 28 different cities. With each city offering something completely new, whether it be showing the local cuisine, traditions or landmarks, readers are given a taste of what life might be like there. As a geography-enthusiast and fan of maps in general, this book appealed to me from the outset. The wealth of information included on each page paired with the bold and colourful designs make for such an enjoyable read. I was also drawn in as this book focuses solely on cities within countries rather than the countries as a whole…

Philip Steele
 & Christian Gralingen

This is a unique book deserving of a space on every bookshelf and is especially recommended for those who enjoy learning about exploring the world. It is a large, hardback book, with a beautifully illustrated cover and comes with an optional free app to download, which enhances the content by revealing the many explorers’ journeys in 3D. This is a very exciting element for the children and adults to use as it shows the journeys interactively.

The journeys covered stop at important points for your chosen explorer and interesting text pops up for the reader. There are many explorers, both well-known and less well-known from all around the world and across history. Each page is a double spread of beautifully illustrated maps with three explorers and more about their adventures. Timelines are included to support understanding and the glossary includes ambitious vocabulary.

This book was a gem of a surprise and we particularly enjoyed sharing the 3D element, to the delight and amazement of those who have seen it.

Lara Albanese
 & Tommaso Vidus Rosin

Space Maps is a super-sized visual treat. It will appeal to those already interested in the topic of space and will attract those who are new to the subject. The reader is invited to take a tour of all things space in the company of a diverse crew of space guides. During our space tour, a wealth of facts are covered -each double page focuses on a different aspect and so information is given in speedy, bite-sized fact boxes making this an ideal book for dipping into.

There is a good balance of facts and exciting nuggets from history, science and folklore. The legends behind the science add charm and warmth. Large and detailed illustrations guide the reader through their journey, each page devoted to a thorough, labelled map or diagram. For readers who struggle to visualise the images behind the arrangements of the constellations, this book certainly helps! I was able to ‘see’ Orion in the night sky having studied the beautiful constellation map.

This full-sized feast for the eyes would happily sit amongst a collection of Space books and interesting non-fiction books for readers who love to dive into the detail of a topic.

Sam Sedgman
 & Sam Brewster
From Adventures on Trains author and British Book Award 2021 winner, Sam Sedgman, comes a beautiful and informative book encapsulating the excitement and wonder of adventure and travel - all seen through the world's most wondrous train journeys. Climb onboard and travel across six continents, 34 countries and numerous cities via twelve of the world's most amazing train journeys. Bestselling author Sam Sedgman will delight with his descriptive and illuminative text about train journeys including the Eurostar (London to Amsterdam), Orient Express (Paris to Istanbul), the first Transcontinental Railroad (Chicago to San Francisco) and the Rejuvenation Express (Beijing to Hong Kong). Each locomotive adventure reveals some of the rich history, culture, landscape and wildlife of the countries travelled. Take in the safari sights of Southern Africa, wrap up warm in the Arctic Circle, celebrate Chinese New Year and taste some tea in India whilst on a toy train - there's a whole world to discover when travelling by train! Detailed, colourful illustrations by Sam Brewster brings the facts and journeys to life. Epic Adventures will appeal to culture-, travel-, locomotive-fans of all ages.

Picturebooks stories about maps and mapping

Leigh Hodgkinson

Martha loves making maps and readers will love exploring them!

Starting in space, zooming down to street level and then inside a home, Martha Maps it Out is a great introduction to finding your way around. In standard picture book story format, it’s also fact-filled and informative. The book certainly suits curious minds who will enjoy exploring the detail to find facts on each double page. We particularly liked the clear labelling and use of colour throughout. The presentation is fun with an illustration style reminiscent of Lauren Child’s collages. There are even interactive mazes in the end-papers!

This book would be a great addition to any school library or reading corner and is ideal for children to explore alone, or in small groups as a discussion starter. It could be used to support KS1 topics in geography and maths, such as local area mapping, towns and cities, geographical scale and as a general introduction to map work. A really fun book for young readers.

Mariajo Ilustrajo

Lost is a charming book about friendship and kindness.

Bear finds himself lost in a concrete city and despite asking for help from everyone he meets, he is constantly ignored as they are all too busy to help. Finally a little girl notices and decides to try and help. She takes him home and feeds him, bathes him and they read stories, without her mum seeming to notice, which adds an interesting layer to the tale. When he gazes at a poster about the North Pole, she finally realises that he is homesick and despite wanting him to stay, she resolves to help him get home, in a creative way!

Beautifully illustrated and with bursts of humour throughout such as the bear wearing a tutu and finding how hot a pizza is, this is a positive story for parents, classrooms and libraries to share with early years and KS1 about exploring how we can all feel lost occasionally, the power of friendship and the importance of helping others.

Viviane Schwarz
From the award-winning picture book creator of There Are Cats in This Book comes a story of imaginative play and of two friends, Anna and Crocodile, who are on the hunt for gold. But finding gold isn’t easy. Oh no! It’s dangerous and difficult... Just what will the two friends discover? Teeming with adventurous spirit and boasting wonderfully funny dialogue, this story introduces two unforgettable characters in a gorgeous, classic new art style from Viviane Schwarz, one of the most innovative and creatively inspired picture book makers of today.
Teresa Heapy
 & David Litchfield
What would you need to get you all the way to the moon? Mouse thinks that his moon map is everything he needs and he sets off on a big adventure to get all the way to the moon. But as he travels through the woods and things begin to get a bit dark and scary, Mouse soon realises that he may need more than just a map to find his way.
Shinsuke Yoshitake
The latest book in Shinsuke Yoshitake's bestselling 'Imagination' series takes a whimsical and wildly inventive look at maps.If you get lost, it's simple - you just look at a map, and hey presto! You can find out where you are. But might there be other things a map can show? How about treasure maps, maps of your feelings, maps of how things work...? When you think about it, a map can have a million uses.This charming new picture book by Shinsuke Yoshitake is an ingenious exploration of the wonderful world of maps and how they help to guide us.

Vivian French
 & Ya-Ling Huang
A whimsical story about learning to use maps, perfect for very young children.One day, Anna's friend Zane sends her an invitation: Come to tea tomorrow! This is the way to my home. Love, Zane. Inside the envelope, there's a MAP. Anna soon decides to make a map of her own, too ... and before long, Dad and even Whiskers the cat are in on the fun. From routes to symbols, point of view and scale, join Anna and her dad as they explore the wonderful world of maps – with words by Vivian French, storyteller extraordinaire, and delightful pictures by rising star Ya-Ling Huang.

Chapter books about maps and mapping

Frank Cottrell Boyce
 & Steven Lenton
Chapter book

I absolutely loved this book! The narrative is cleverly formed through a series of witty one-sided letters from Noah to his family as we are taken along on his surprising adventure.

Noah’s journey begins with him sneaking aboard the bus for his sister’s geography field trip. Little did he know, satnavs don’t always get it right and the group end up on the remote and uninhabited island of AranOr without their teacher or any means of getting home.

The children soon realise that their phones don’t work, the internet is broken (for which Noah gets the blame) and they are going to have to survive by looking after each other and eating whatever they can find. When Noah finds a treasure map, the gang searches for gold and the solution to all their problems – fixing the internet so that they can return home. The characters all learn a lot about themselves and each other along the way as the story unfolds.

Noah, as the smallest and youngest – and also the person who seems to be responsible for everything going wrong – is a humorous and likeable character who I really rooted for throughout the story. He is the proof that ‘being the smallest doesn’t stop you having big ideas.’ Brimming with the author’s trademark humour and heart and coupled with Steven Lenton’s engaging back-and-white illustrations, this is a hugely entertaining story that readers that will appeal widely to readers across Key Stage 2.

Vashti Hardy
Chapter book

Brightstorm is a cracking adventure story with flying ships, intrepid explorers, identity quests, sapient animals and the most wonderful cast of characters.

This thrilling steampunk adventure follows siblings Arthur and Maudie Brightstorm as they try to find out what happened to their explorer father. Arthur, who has a prosthetic iron right arm, is a great problem solver and book lover, while his sister is good at fixing things. When they learn about a race to South Polaris, where their father was lost, they win a place onboard the Aurora, a fantastic sky-ship. Maudie’s talent with tools see her appointed as second engineer. Arthur is hired as cook’s assistant.

On board Arthur adapts to draining tasks, although his iron arm is heavy and can cause him pain, while also learning new skills – making marsh cakes and communicating with thought wolves!

Stories about explorers and expeditions are always popular in primary classrooms and this one, with its fresh take on the adventure quest and its convincing world-building, is sure to fire up imaginations and become a firm favourite with budding adventurers across KS2.

Eirlys Hunter
 & Kirsten Slade
Chapter book

There is always something appealing about books with maps. There is also a great appeal to books with a race-against-time quest to complete. The Mapmakers’ Race by Eirlys Hunter hits the mark on both of these levels, as a thrilling adventure story with a pacy quest narrative, an unfaltering sense of jeopardy and illustrated maps for every chapter of the journey

The four siblings in the Santander family find themselves in a tricky situation. After their explorer father disappears, the family decides to enter the Great Race. This competition challenges explorers to map a new railway route through uncharted wilderness, with a sizeable monetary prize of 3500 golden guineas that will help the family to survive without their father. None of the other contenders take the children seriously, but the siblings pool their varied skills and resources and embark upon their quest along with their parrot (called Carrot) and their new friend Beckett. The four siblings are each very different and I particularly enjoyed the character of Francie, who does not speak but is immensely talented in charting maps.

Naturally, there are perils at every turn, from the dangerous landscape to the treacherous weather to the sabotage attempts by unscrupulous rival teams of adults. This is an exciting adventure narrative with a real against-the-clock feel to it and a steam-age fantasy setting that fans of Vashti Hardy’s Brightstorm are likely to enjoy.

See also our guest blog post by author Eirlys Hunter about how her childhood experiences inspired the story.


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