Above: Map of My Heart (page from My Map Book by Sara Fanelli)
I’ll never forget when I came across Sara Fanelli’s My Map Book while I was re-shelving books at the independent bookstore I worked at many years ago. It made me chuckle that the bookstore had decided to shelve it in the non-fiction area under geography. Anyone looking for a map or an atlas would not find what they needed in this book. Though I’m not sure where I would have shelved it. After all, it is non-fiction.It was so unlike anything I had ever seen. Really raw paintings, honest representations of mappable factors in a child’s life. These aren’t the kind of maps you would study in school. But they should be the maps that children be asked to illustrate for themselves. These maps make particular sense to me. I cannot tell you how many times as a kid I tried to imagine how the food I just ate all looked in my tummy at that moment. I often pondered the layout of my bedroom that I shared with my older sister, where my stuff ended and her stuff began. A few of my favorites are pictured here, but there are several more in the book just as engaging.
An added bonus: the book jacket unfolds to become a giant map. On the other side is a large blank area asking the reader to make their own map.
Perhaps I’m a sucker, but I get a lump in my throat when I look at my favorite of these maps: the Map of My Heart.