Amy's Travels: Teaching Geography through a Picture Book

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Apr 24, 2012 / 0 comments

If you're a global education sort of parent (which I assume all of our readers who are parents are), then I know what happens. You search and search for books about the world, to share with your kids. You read, cook, learn, and explore the world together as a family.


One such book that teaches about geography is Amy's Travels, written by Kathryn Starke. Kathryn is a reading specialist in Virginia (we love educators!). The child-friendly illustrations are by Jennifer Carter, Laura Starke, and first-grade teacher Charity Wells. Amy's Travels is a story about a young girl who travels the world. Every few years, her dad's job takes them to a new location. Amy teaches, through her travels, about all seven continents. It's a sweet look at the world and how exciting it is to live - and travel - in it. The book also contains lesson plans at the end, for K-5 teachers.  It's an easy way to introduce the world and its joys to kids - and encourage them to be global citizens!


Amy's Travels, written by Kathryn Starke


We caught up with Kathryn and asked her about her book, writing inspiration, travel tips, and more. Here's what she had to say...


WE: Please tell us about Amy's Travels...   

KS: Amy's Travels is the first children's picture book to teach all seven continents. Based on the true story of my friend Amy's childhood memories, this multicultural book teaches the culture, diversity, and geography of our world through the eyes of a young Latina girl.


WE: What inspires your writing?

KS: As simple as it sounds, I write when I believe something needs to be said or shared. I wrote Amy's Travels to share the story of my friend's amazing journey around the world. I write articles, essays, and blog posts that share my passion and expertise in teaching elementary school literacy lessons.


WE: What led you to write this book?

KS: I was teaching second grade and looking for a resource to teach the seven continents, which I could not find. I had to check out seven different nonfiction books for the topic, so I decided to create one story to engage, entertain, and educate young children about global awareness.


WE: How can travelers truly get inside a place and experience life like locals?

KS: If you're traveling to a destination where English is not the native language, you should definitely take the time to learn at least some basic greetings or phrases, which shows that you want to learn about the culture. I always ask locals the best places to eat and hang out; people love to share fun facts.


WE: What travel tips do you have for families, before they head off on a journey (or move abroad)?

KS: Do your research beforehand including the language, culture, lifestyle, maps, transportation, customs, dress, etc. Make a plan, but be open and flexible to all of the possibilities and opportunities that will arise on the journey. 6. Is there anything else you'd like to share with us? I'm delighted to share that Amy's Travels is now released in its second edition and is used in schools on six continents. Please visit to learn more!