Chapter 7 “Reckoning” Review~ Isabella El-Hage

Greetings! I’m Isabella El-Hage and I’m in the 9th grade. I was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and I have lived here my whole life. But I love traveling in and out of the country to visit family or just to sight see! I’ve been to 30+ states in the US, and have traveled out of the country a couple times including countries like Dubai and Lebanon. My dad was born and raised in Lebanon, so I have a dual citizenship, Lebanese and American. Most of his family still lives over there and we travel there a lot. Arabic is his first language but I never caught on and can only understand a few things. My mom was born in the Philippines but almost all of her family lives in the US, but I’d still love to travel to the Philippines one day just to visit.

I’m reviewing over Chapter 7, “Reckoning”, in Maphead. The beginning of the chapter starts off with Jennings talking about a little girl named Lily Gaskin, a Youtube sensation, and geography maphead. She’s only 2 years old but she’s able to identify numerous countries on all different types of maps. Jennings expresses his opinion on “mapheads” after meeting Lilly. “Lily’s remarkable knack is a powerful argument that geography geeks are born, not made-that some of us come into the world with, in effect, a gratitude of latitude and longitude predrawn on the otherwise blank slates in our minds.” -Page 123. Jennings remarks, “As useful and rewarding as map geekery can be, its rarely honored, or even noticed, by the world. But there’s one glittering exception that provided a national stage for America’s young geography buffs, with millions participating every year: the National Geographic Bee.” -Page 124. Jennings makes a visit to Washington to watch the National Geographic Bee, learning how each of the kids participating go through rigorous training to prepare for the mind boggling questions. He notes that most of the kids are extremely small, and a little socially awkward, but totally prepared and ready for all the questions that come their way. Jennings talks to the coordinators and parents of some of the children not being able to see himself putting his own children through this intense competition. The kids who participate put numerous hours of studying and preparation to get this far into the competition, and Jennings expresses his respect for these young geography buffs.

I personally really enjoyed reading this book, Jennings makes it insightful but humorous, with his side commentary and little stories. I never thought much of maps but after reading this book I’m encouraged to be more aware of my surroundings and of what’s going on in the world. I also liked how he included pictures of different types of maps, and talked about countries that I didn’t even know existed until now.


4 thoughts on “Chapter 7 “Reckoning” Review~ Isabella El-Hage

  1. I like your description of the chapter and how you tied in Jennings’ own quotes into your review of his writing. I also enjoyed the picture at the end of the review. If I had one question about your post it would be that besides your mom being born in the Philippines, what makes you want to travel there?


    • Thanks Evan! The Philippines is so tropical and I’ve heard a ton of great stories about the food, people, and the culture from my grandparents. It’d be a great experience visiting and seeing the Filipino culture.


  2. Izabella, you did a really great job! My mom was also born in a different country. She was born in Vietnam, and I would also love to travel to where my mom was born and see where she grew up. I never realized the the hardwork and dedication it takes to be a participant in the National Geographic Bee. Also, the pressure from the parents and the contest must be really hard. It made me realize how important this contest is to many people, and all the opportunities in winning. It gave me a new respect for people in the contest.


  3. I loved your blog and thought it was very well written. Your blog was definitely one of my favorites because you really explained the chapter while also making it interesting. I myself competed in the Geography-Bee when I was in elementary school, so I know first-hand how difficult those questions are. Though I did not make it very far in the competition, I did enjoy competing even though the preparation was a bit much. I can imagine the hard work those children at the national level are putting in and it is very impressive. You said you have been to over 30 states and I was wondering which was your favorite?


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