Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore. But if you happen to be in the Prairie State, you could venture to Dorothy’s pre-Oz hometown in Liberal, KS, or check out the Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie in Independence.
This magnificent map from Atlas Obscura pinpoints your favorite fictional characters’ real-life locations across the United States.
From the East Coast through the deep south (think Maycomb – believed to be based on Harper Lee’s real life home in southern Alabama) this interactive map let’s you see where your favorite Children and Young Adult novels gained their homely inspiration.
There are many scenarios where this literary location locator might come in handy, from discovering which of your favorite characters hail from your home state to figuring out possible pitstops for an upcoming road-trip (or planning a book-fueled one!).
It’s just as much fun for adults to look back (with a more educated geographical sense) on where their childhood favorites called home, as it is for kids to discover these cities while getting to know the characters and the United States for the first time.
As the author of the article written in accompaniment to the map explains,
Finding these connections, between the spaces of childhood fantasy and the cities and streets of adulthood, can make otherwise ordinary places seem special again. In one of the books that follows Betsy-Tacy, Betsy eventually makes it to Milwaukee, and though there are no palm trees or biblically dressed people, it still has a hold on her—it’s never an ordinary city. The places on this map might have once seemed mythical; one of the great pleasures of growing up is being able to explore in real-life the world that you could only imagine as a kid.
We all know how diverse the United States are, but we also know how similar the regions can be. Do your favorite characters from the midwest all boast the same midwestern hospitality? Harriet the Spy and Holden Caulfield both grew up in New York City…can you imagine them being friends?
If you know someone moving to a new state, try using this map to find an appropriate book to buy as a going away present. Or use it as an excuse to reread childhood favorites before an upcoming vacation.
The connection between geography and literature has always been a strong, diverse, and fascinating one, which means the possibilities for maps like this are endless!
Which childhood heroes reign from your state? Represent!
YouTube Channel: Katie Wilson
Featured image via Flickr
h/t Atlas Obscura