Great Geography Reads

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021

Jo Coles

edu student reading

I think we would all agree that good literacy skills are essential to empower students to become better geographers, but we can sometimes face a battle for how to engage students to build a love of reading.

The following lists of books are a compilation of fictional texts that have been recommended by various teachers for students to read, either as a means to add breadth to their knowledge and provide context, or simply to develop curiosity about our world and discover new places. Whilst immersing the reader in something different you will be building literacy and oracy skills.

While most texts are reasonably contemporary, others are classics but can be used to give students a sense of changes over time for culture, politics, landscape, environmental value, etc. You could ask older students to critique these texts in the light of modern social attitudes and ‘spot the difference’ with the past, or ask them to update it for their age, and they can provide pointers for challenging social attitudes.

Primary level age 4-7
Where the Forest Meets the Sea / Mirror / Belonging / etc – Jeannie Baker
The Bear in the Cave – Michael Rosen
One World – Michael Foreman
The Everywhere Bear – Julia Donaldson
Saving Tally: An Adventure into the Great Pacific Plastic Patch – Serena Lane Ferrari
School Days Around the World – Margriet Ruurs
A Little Engine that could Road Trip series – Watty Piper
A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India – Meera Sriram
Yasmin the Explorer – Saadia Faruqi
Magic Tree House – Mary Pope Osborne
Ana & Andrew series – Christine Platt
The Adventures of Reggie Mouse and his Forest Friends – Jonnie Tash
Junior level 8+
This is how we do it: One day in the life of seven kids from around the world – Matt Lamothe
The boy who harnessed the Wind – William Kamkwamba
One Plastic Bag – Miranda Paul
Here we are: Notes for living on Planet Earth – Oliver Jeffers
The Street Beneath my Feet / The World Around Me – Charlotte Guillain
The Lost Book of Adventure – the Unknown Adventurer
Explorer Academy – National Geographic Kids
The Adventure Series – Willard Price
The Lost Words / Underland / The Wild Places – Robert MacFarlane
A Year Full of Stories – Angela McAllister
A World of Cookies for Santa – M.E. Furman
Grand Canyon – Jason Chin
Girl on a Motorcycle – Amy Novesky
Same Sun Here – Silas House
Secondary level age 11+
Survival Handbook: Polar - Miles Kelly
Factfulness – Hans Rosling
The Ice Man – Alan Parkinson
Great Adventurers / Microadventures – Alastair Humphreys
The Kindness of Strangers / The Water Diaries – Fearghal O’Nuallain
Ghosts of the Tsunami – Richard Lloyd Parry
After the Quake – Haruki Murakami
The Borribles – Michael de Larrabeiti
Through the Water Curtain and other Tales around the World – Cornelia Funke
Around the World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne
Lost City of Z – David Grann
I’m with the Bears – Mark Martin, et al.
The Carbon Diaries – Saci Lloyd
Trash – Andy Mulligan
Ascent of Rum Doodle – W.E. Bowman
The Explorer – Katherine Rundell
Journey to the Sea – Sarah Brown
This Other Eden – Ben Elton
Lost Tales – Adam Murphy
Maui & other Mauri Legends – Peter Gossage The Wanderer – Sharon Creech
Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Krakatoa / Atlantic / The Map that Changed the World – Simon Winchester
East of Eden – John Steinbeck
Breathe – Sarah Crossan
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Mortal Engines – Philip Reeve
Sahara, etc. – Clive Cussler
Running Wild / Boxing Day / Shado / Kensuke’s Kingdom – Michael Morpurgo
Ice & Fire series – Michael Ridpath
Swallows & Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Jingo – Terry Pratchett
Poverty Safari – Darren McGarvey
Walking the Amazon – Ed Stafford
I am Malala – Malala Yousafzai
Prisoners of Geography / Divided – Tim Marshall
Cold – Ranulph Fiennes
The Silk Roads – Peter Frankopan
How to Read Water – Tristan Gooley
Out of the Wreckage / How did we get into this mess, etc - George Monbiot
The World without Us – Alan Weismann
Explorers: Amazing Tales of the World’s Greatest Adventurers – Nellie Huang

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