I'm so happy my daughter didn't inherit my lousy sense of direction. In fact, she adores maps and globes. We have a few books that she will sit and study and red for large chunks of time. I wanted to share them with anyone who also has a map loving, or learning kid in their home.
Besides these books, our globe gets a lot of use. I've seen fancy ones, and plain ones, ones with cute little pictures on them, and ones that just show the land with almost no markings, my child loves them all. I don't know if it matters how fancy your globe is, ours is fairly dull, but it shows the oceans, the continents, and it spins, and that seems to be enough for us so far.
Also, if you know of a great book for kids to learn about the world, or about maps, please share it in the comment section. I have a feeling we will always love maps in this household.
Usborne Children's Picture Atlas by Ruth Brocklehurst, and Doriana Berkovic, Illustrated by Linda Edwards
The Usborne Children's Picture Atlas is a great book for map lovers. It begins with some general information about the different regions and climates around the world. Then there is a map of the world, and individual maps of each continent.
The continent maps have little pictures depicting some of the wildlife that's native to an area, and noteworthy landmarks. There is also a small picture in the corner to show where each continent is on the globe, to put it all into perspective.
This is a book for younger children, and is probably too simple for high school kids. Usborne advertises it for ages 9 to 12, but it is a favorite book of my 4 year old too. Granted, she can't read it, so I have to do that for her, but she loves to see where the animals live, and study the other pictures.
Maps and Globes by Jack Knowlton and Illustrated by Harriett Barton
This is a nice introduction to how maps and globes work. It starts with a little history of the use of maps, and then goes into the different types of maps and the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Again, the publisher puts this in the 9 to 12 year old age range, but I think it could be used earlier. My daughter doesn't really understand all of it, so 4 is probably too young if you want a full understanding, but I know she'll be ready well before 9.
Rand McNally Kid's U.S. Road Atlas
This is a state-by-state road map of the United States. There is one state per page, so it isn't going to be useful for day to day driving around your city, it just doesn't get to that level of detail, but the major state highways are there, as well as rivers, and other big landmarks.
It is fun to use to talk about where out of state family lives, or if you take a big road trip, or know people in another city.