Maps: From Anna to Zane: First Skills

Illustrator: Ya-Ling Huang

Binding: Paperback

Imprint: Walker Books

1 Other Related Editions

Age 4+

People & Places Picture Storybooks

A whimsical story about learning to use maps, perfect for very young children.

One day, Anna's friend Zane sends her an invitation: Come to tea tomorrow! This is the way to my home. Love, Zane. Inside the envelope, there's a MAP. Anna soon decides to make a map of her own, too ... and before long, Dad and even Whiskers the cat are in on the fun. From routes to symbols, point of view and scale, join Anna and her dad as they explore the wonderful world of maps – with words by Vivian French, storyteller extraordinaire, and delightful pictures by rising star Ya-Ling Huang.


Vivian French is a highly-acclaimed children’s author, whose many books include The Steam Whistle Theatre Company and The Dragon’s Breakfast. She is one of the most borrowed children’s authors in UK libraries, and was awarded the MBE for services to literature, literacy, illustration and the arts. Follow her on Twitter under the handle @fivekingdoms or visit her website:

Originally from Taiwan, Ya-Ling Huang completed an MA in illustration at the Cambridge School of Art in 2016 and in the same year her works were selected for 2016 Bologna Book Fair, and highly commended both in the Macmillan prize and in the prestigious book-design competition hosted by the Polish Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice.


Delightful . . Engagingly naïve but legible illustrations of the children’s efforts meld beautifully with Huang’s simple but expert watercolors. . . Throughout, the warm connection between Dad and daughter comes through clearly. This winsomely illustrated exploration of maps is the perfect entry to understanding—and embracing—cartography.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Enthralling. . . . Playfully illustrated by Ya-Ling Huang in vibrant pastels, watercolors, gouache, and colored pencils, this delightful story featuring diverse characters is just right to use as an introduction to maps and map concepts.

School Library Connection (starred review)

Along with the simple story, most of the book’s double-page spreads include a few sentences of map-related information, such as the value of small-scale maps to show large areas, and the space-saving use of symbols instead of words. The mixedmedia illustrations are cheerful, and those representing Anna’s maps and drawings have a childlike look. For children who enjoy a bit of narrative context along with facts, it offers a visually appealing approach to the topic.


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