Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to welcome author Fiona Ingram as a guest contributor with us today. Ms. Ingram is here to discuss the benefits of including maps in middle grade books.
Everyone loves maps. It sounds like a sweeping statement, but in fact, most people are fascinated with maps because they place us in relation to another location. We might be reading about it; we might be planning a visit there; we might just enjoy looking at the location and where it is in the world. I use maps for all my middle grade adventures, and for good reason.
The books of the Chronicles of the Stone series all take place in locations that a child who doesn’t live there might not be able to picture. Maps are fantastic tools to help a young reader imagine where the heroes of the story are, as well as track their progress, and also encourage the reader to want to learn more about the location.
Book One: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab takes place in Egypt, in fact, following the course of the Nile. Up and down can be confusing when one talks about Egypt. In ancient times the term Upper Egypt actually meant heading downwards into Africa, while Lower Egypt meant heading upwards on the map, to the Nile Delta. In addition, the characters stop off at various temples and important historic sites on their trip (where lots of exciting things happen) and part of the fun in reading the story is to turn to the front of the book and see how far the young heroes have come.
Book Two: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is set in Britain. The map includes places young heroes Adam, Justin and their new pal Kim visit on their trip, but also includes the semi legendary places associated with King Arthur: Glastonbury, Tintagel, the supposed location of Avalon where King Arthur lies asleep, and even where Arthur’s court, Camelot, could have been located. I also included a map of Strathairn Castle in Scotland to enable young readers to see exactly where everything in the castle grounds is to make the exciting action and events clearer.
Book Three: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper has possibly my favourite map of all. Set in Mexico, the story follows the kids’ quest for the Third Stone of Power, taking them deep into an impenetrable jungle. I’d love to visit every single ancient site, once covered with thick jungle, but now excavated and open for visitors.
Maps are not limited to the real world; authors of fantasy tales can create their own maps of the world within the story, giving young readers a real treat for the imagination. Maps are an integral part of my book series so young readers can look forward to doing their own exploration as they read each adventure and follow Adam, Justin and Kim’s progress in each location. After all, where would we be without those original explorers of land and sea who took the trouble to map out their journeys, leaving a legacy for those who came after…?
About the Guest Contributor: Fiona Ingram
Fiona Ingram is the author of the middle grade adventure series The Chronicles of the Stone, which includes the multi award winning The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and soon to be published The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.