The term “Geography” originates from two Greek words: “Geo”, meaning “the earth”, and “Graph”, – meaning “to write”. Geography is a multi-disciplinary science that studies spatial patterns and phenomena of the planet Earth. From natural landscapes to habitats and human cultivation, it covers everything! Several geography books cover each section individually; they are great for introducing kids to the Earth’s diversity, complexity, and beauty and inspire future travellers and explorers. Herein we have compiled a must-read list of top geography books for students (not in order).
The Geography of Genius
Authored by Eric Weiner, the New York Times bestselling author – of “The Geography of Bliss“, shares his journeys from Athens to Silicon Valley across history to show how creative genius blossoms in specific places at specific moments in his book “The Geography of Genius”.
Travel writer Weiner’s “The Geography of Genius” explores the connection between our environment and our most innovative ideas. He explores the history of places such as Vienna in 1900, Florence during the Renaissance, Song Dynasty Hangzhou, Ancient Athens, and Silicon Valley to show how some urban environments are conducive to ingenuity. With a shrewd sense of humour, he follows the same paths as the geniuses who thrived in these environments did, to see whether the spirit of what inspired figures like Michelangelo, Socrates and Leonard remains.
The book has a 4.5 rating on both amazon.com and amazon.in.
Here’s a quick look at its contents:
- Introduction: Adventures with the Galton Box
- Genius Is Simple: Athens
- Genius Is Nothing New: Hangzhou
- Genius Is Expensive: Florence
- Genius Is Practical: Edinburgh
- Genius Is Chaotic: Calcutta
- Genius Is Unintentional: Vienna Pitch-Perfect
- Genius Is Contagious: Vienna on the Couch
- Genius Is Weak: Silicon Valley
- Epilogue: Baking Bread and Hanging Ten
About the Author: Eric Weiner
Eric Weiner is a bestselling author, lecturer, and award-winning journalist. “The Geography of Bliss”, “The Geography of Genius”, the spiritual autobiography “Man Seeks God”, and his most recent book, “The Socrates Express”, are among his top works. His novels can be found in more than 20 languages. Formerly an international journalist for NPR and a New York Times writer, Eric frequently contributes to The Washington Post, BBC Travel, and AFAR.
Atlas of Design – 3rd Edition
In 2016, the Atlas of Design’s third edition was published and quickly went out of print. The Atlas of Design (2016), Volume III, offers a selection of 32 maps showcasing some of the world’s best cartography. It is a map museum gallery that combines educational and inspirational elements. This book lets you gain a greater knowledge of how great things are created by reading the scholarly commentary that goes along with each map’s stunning visuals. The North American Cartographic Information Society has produced this 96-page, full-colour, a library-quality publication for over a year and a half (NACIS).
Here’s a quick look at its contents:
- Yellowstone Elk Migrations: The Pulse of the Park
- Caricature Map of Europe 1914
- Alternative Strategic Spatial Vision of Natural Disaster Prevention in Future Shanghai
- Bonaventure Cemetery Illustrated Map
- Megan’s Woods
- Here there be robots (We’re already fans of this one! —Ed.)
- Jenny Lake Hiking Trails
- An Unfurling of Lake Michigan
- Fisher Ridge KN Canyon
- Chart of the Saint-Elias Isles
- Yellow River Basin
- The Analytical Tourism Map of Piedmont
- Venice Public Transport Map
- The Historical Ecology of Upper San Francisquito Creek
- The United States: Her Natural and Industrial Resources
Available on Atlasofdesign
About the Publisher: North American Cartographic Information Society
The North American Cartographic Information Society, a non-profit association for mapmakers, is the publisher of the Atlas. It is run by a small but dedicated group of volunteers.
Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World
“Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World”, by seasoned journalist Tim Marshall, examines China, Russia, the USA, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Korea, Japan, Greenland and the Arctic; their weather, mountains, seas, rivers, borders and deserts, to provide a context that is often absent in our political reporting, i.e., how the physical features of these countries influence their strengths and vulnerabilities & the decisions made by their leaders.
Marshall outlines the intricate geo-political strategies of these regions with 10 current maps for each. What does it mean that Russia must have a navy but also the fact that it has frozen ports six months a year? What impact does this have on Putin’s approach to Ukraine? How is geography a constraint on China’s future? Why won’t Europe ever become one? Why won’t anyone ever conquer America? He addresses such topics in his book.
The book has a rating of 4.6 with over 3K reviews on amazon.in and amazon.com.
Here’s a quick look at some of its contents:
- United States
- Western Europe
- The Middle East
- India and Pakistan
- Korea and Japan
- Latin America
- The Arctic
About the Author: Tim Marshall
The Power of Geography: Ten Maps That Reveal the Future of Our World (4) (Politics of Place)
A fascinating, “refreshing”, and “extremely useful” follow-up book from the author of the New York Times bestseller “Prisoners of Geography” Tim Marshall, this book uses ten maps to describe the problems facing today’s superpowers and how they portend an unstable future.
Through this book, Marshall takes us inside ten regions predicted to impact world politics. Also, it lets you learn why the US will lose interest in the Middle East, why Australia is now starting an epic battle with China, how Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the UK are deftly putting themselves in positions of power, why Ethiopia can control Egypt, and why the next refugee crisis in Europe and a cutting-edge arms race for space control are coming sooner than we think.
This is “an absorbing blend of history, economics, and political analysis that puts geography at the core of human events” (Publishers Weekly).
The book has a 4.6 rating with over 3K reviews on amazon.com and amazon.in.
Here’s a quick look at its contents:
- Saudi Arabia
- The United Kingdom
- The Sahel
About: Tim Marshall
Tim Marshall worked for Sky News as a foreign journalist and diplomatic editor. He left full-time news journalism after thirty years of reporting and delivering the news to focus on writing and commentary.
Tim, originally from Leeds, chose an unconventional route to the radio. After an unsuccessful career as a painter and decorator, he worked his way through newsroom nightshifts and unpaid stints as a researcher and runner before finally securing himself a foothold on the first rung of the broadcasting career ladder. He has contributed to numerous national publications, such as the Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, and Sunday Times.
Great Maps: The World’s Masterpieces Explored and Explained
It is a superb quick-start guide to 64 maps from all around the world!
“Great Maps: The world’s masterpieces explored and explained” has the world’s best maps, surveyed and thoroughly explained. From the map of Ptolemy to Hereford’s Mappa Mundi, across the world map of Mercator to the last maps of the Moon and Google Earth, the book provides a fascinating insight into mapping throughout the ages. It reveals the geographical close-up of stories behind 64 historical maps.
The book also features mappers and explorers who examine why each map was commissioned, for whom, and how they influenced navigation, propaganda, power, art, and politics.
The book has a rating of 4.8 with nearly 900 reviews on amazon.in and amazon.com.
Here’s a look at its contents:
- Map of Northumbria
- Vatican Gallery of Maps
- The Mottuts Islands
- Map of the Ten Thousand Countries of the Earth
- The Science Map
- New Directions and Beliefs 1570-1750
- Nautical Thin
- Map of the “Inhabited Quarter”
- New Map of the World
- Britannia Atlas Road Map
About the Author: Jerry Brotton
Jerry Brotton is a professor of Renaissance Studies at the Queen Mary University of London. Trading Territories: Mapping the Early Modern World (1997), Global Interests: Renaissance Art between East and West (co-authored with Lisa Jardine, 2000), The Renaissance Bazaar: from the Silk Road to Michelangelo (2002), The Renaissance: A Very Short Introduction (2006), and The Sale of the Late King’s Goods: Charles I and his Art Collection (2006) are some of his works. These publications earned him nominations for the Samuel Johnson Prize and the Hessell-Tilt (2007).
His best-selling book A History of the World in Twelve Maps (2012) gained extensive media attention, positive reviews, and eleven language translations.
Atlas of Improbable Places: A journey to the world’s most unusual corners
Despite modern mapping and satellite photography, we all know our planet continues to surprise us. There are several hidden layers beneath the Earth’s top surface, forgotten cities rising out of deserted lands, and even some of humanity’s feats of engineering eccentricity lie that in the most unusual destinations.
Travis Elborough, the author of the “Atlas of Improbable Places”, looks for the dark and the bizarre, the beautiful and the distant. Taking from the provocative relics of ancient towns such as Ani, once a flourishing metropolis, lost with conquered lands and the tower of the church of San Juan Parangaricuto, which miraculously stands as the only survivor of a town sunk by lava. The book comprises beautiful maps and stunning photography illustrating each destination. The “Atlas of Improbable Places” is a thrilling journey to the unique destinations in the world.
The book has a 4.2 rating on both amazon.com and amazon.in.
Here’s a quick look at its contents:
- Dream Creations
- Free Christiania
- Slab City
About the Author: Travis Elborough
The Guardian called the author and social commentator Travis Elborough one of Britain’s finest pop cultural historians. His works include “A Walk in the Park”, a passionate exploration of public parks and green space, which William Boyd (writer) praised as “a fascinating, informative, revelatory book,” and “The Bus We Loved”, a history of London’s bus route master. He is also the author of “Wish You Were Here: a survey of the British beside the sea” and “The Vinyl Countdown”.
Monocle magazine praised his work as a cartographer, especially for “Alan Horsfield, Atlas of Improbable Places”, for making the world feel greater.
Additionally, he has put together anthologies like “Letters to Change the World: From Pankhurst to Orwell” and “Our History of the 20th Century: As Told in Diaries”.
He has written pieces on travel and culture, from pirates in the Caribbean to donkeys at a British beach. He is a frequent contributor to international print and broadcast media, too.
American Geography: A Reckoning with a Dream
The American Geography by award-winning photographer Matt Black is about his trip of over 100,000 miles, which tells the reality of today’s unseen and forgotten America. When he began exploring his hometown in California’s rural Central Valley – dubbed “The Other California”, where one-third of the population lives in poverty – he knew this had to be his next project. Black was inspired to create a vivid portrait of an unfamiliar America, photographing some of the poorest communities throughout the United States.
Travelling across 46 states and Puerto Rico, he visited designated “poverty zones”, places where the poverty rate is higher than 20%, and found that the poor areas are so numerous that they are never more than two hours away by car woven through the fabric of the country but cut out of the “land of opportunity”. The book “American Geography” is a visual record of this five-year, 100,000-mile road trip, which chronicles the vulnerable conditions faced by America’s poor.
Black’s personal travelogue, a collection of observations, overheard conversations in cafes and on public transportation, diner menus, bus schedules, historical information, and tidbits from daily news reports, is included with this captivating collection of black and white photos. This monograph, which goes down in photographic history and is accompanied by an international tour, is a must-have for anybody who wants to see the truth of an America that has been left out of the American Dream.
A future photography classic, this monograph is supported by an international touring exhibition.
It has a rating of 4.7 on amazon.com and amazon.in.
Here’s a quick look at its contents:
- South and West
- South and East
- North and East
- North and West
About the Author: Matt Black
American documentary photographer Matt Black captures topics related to the environment, migration, and poverty. He is an official Magnum Photos member. Black’s debut book, American Geography, was released in 2021 and displayed at Hamburg, Germany’s Deichtorhallen.
Where on Earth? Geography as You’ve Never Seen It Before
With “Where on Earth”, you can go on an action-packed tour around the world. This book takes you on an adventure where you’ll travel back in time to see how the continents have evolved, marvels at incredible geographical scales, see the world’s cities and landmarks, and admire astonishing wildlife.
This unique children’s atlas brings the Earth into your living room:
- Each map brings an instant understanding of the subject and its spatial distribution.
- Every spread features a key that supports the main map to understand the topic better.
- Extra panels develop the map’s subject, offering new angles on the topic or providing background information.
Over 60 specially commissioned 3D maps delve into various topics, from the animal kingdom to earthquakes, making the world atlas perfect for fact-hungry children ages 8-12. This fully updated Edition includes new content on topics like pandemics, climate change, the internet, world populations, poverty and television to reflect upon the world we live in today.
“The Where on Earth?” Series of D.K. is more than just books filled with excellent cards, stats and fun facts for kids; it is also a vital source of learning, ideal for children who want to participate in educational projects!
The book has a rating of 4.7 on amazon.com and amazon.in.
Here’s a quick look at some of its content:
Land, sea, and air:
- Earth’s Crust
- Ocean Floor
- Ocean in Motion
- Rivers, Craters and Meteorites
- Hot and Cold Rain and Snow
- Time zones
About the Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing
D.K., Dorling Kindersley Publishing Pvt Ltd, which believes in the power of discovery, create books for everyone that explore ideas and nurture curiosity about the world.
From first words to the Big Bang, from the wonders of nature to city adventures, you will find expert knowledge, hours of fun and endless inspiration in the pages of their books.
Resilient Communities across Geographies
Resilience – the unique ability to adapt positively to changing physical and social environments – is essential for populations of all sizes and locales in today’s world of unexpected changes and increasing instances of environmental change.
The book, “Resilient Communities across Geographies” by Dr Sheila Lakshmi Steinberg, Dr Steven J. Steinberg, and Este Geraghty is a collection of case studies examining the application of geographic information systems (GIS) to environmental and socioeconomic challenges for analysis, planning, and ultimately building more resilient communities. Each chapter discusses a spatially driven approach to difficulties in geography, social sciences, landscape architecture, urban planning, environmental studies, sociology, economics, migration, community development, meteorology, oceanography, and other fields. Examples given in the book explore climate adaptation’s natural and cultural contexts in built environments and cultural impacts in diverse communities. The book has a lot more to offer.
The book has a 4.7 rating both on amazon.com and amazon.in.
Here’s a look at its content:
- Conceptualizing spatial resilience
- Resilience in coastal regions: The case of Georgia, USA
- Building resilient regions: Spatial analysis as a tool for ecosystem-based climate adaptation
- The mouth of the Columbia River: USACE, GIS, and resilience in a dynamic coastal system
- Urban Resilience: Neighbourhood spatial complexity and the importance of social connectivity
- Community Resilience, contested spaces, and Indigenous geographies
- Indigenous Martu knowledge: Mapping place through song and story
- Developing Resiliency through place-based activities in Canada
About the Authors: Dr Sheila Lakshmi Steinberg, Dr Steven J. Steinberg and Este Geraghty
Dr Sheila Lakshmi Steinberg is a full professor of social sciences at Brandman University. Dr Steinberg received her undergraduate education from the University of California, Santa Barbara; her master’s in science from the University of California, Berkeley; and her doctorate from the Pennsylvania State University. She enjoys assisting students with their research and educating them on research’s critical role in developing sound public policy. Interdisciplinary research methodologies, environmental sociology, applied sociology, community, geospatial analysis, culture, and policy are some of Sheila’s areas of interest. Dr Steinberg has fieldwork in California, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Nepal, and Guatemala.
Dr Steven J. Steinberg, a Certified GIS Professional (GISP), serves as the Los Angeles County Geographic Information Officer (GIO) and collaborates with highly qualified GIS specialists to develop and implement the geospatial strategy. He previously worked for the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority as the department head for information management and analysis and as the principal scientist (2011-2018). He taught geospatial science full-time at Humboldt State University in California from 1998 to 2011, exposing hundreds of students to the potential of geospatial technologies. He received the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in airborne remote sensing during his time at the Simon Fraser University, Canada (2004) and a Fulbright Senior Scholar in geospatial analysis at the University of Helsinki, Finland (2008).
Este Geraghty, MD, MS, MPH, CPH, GISP is the Chief Medical Officer at Esri – developer of the world’s most powerful mapping and analytics platform. She oversees Esri’s global health and human services practice and aims to transform health through the strategic implementation of a GIS platform that improves decision-making, increases efficiencies, and facilitates collaboration at local and global scales. Este previously held the position of deputy director of the California Department of Public Health’s Center for Health Statistics and Informatics. She researched regional strategies for influencing health policy and improving community development programmes while working as an associate professor of clinical internal medicine at the University of California, Davis. Geraghty has written multiple peer-reviewed studies in the fields of health and GIS.
I hope these Geography Books for Students help you get the kids interested in geography, and it affects not just domestic but global politics. Do read these fantastic books.
Check out our other posts, where we have curated books on different topics.