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Children's Nonfiction Adventure & Adventurers

Are We There Yet?

How Humans Find Their Way

by (author) Maria Birmingham

illustrated by Drew Shannon

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Aug 2023
Adventure & Adventurers, General, General, Travel
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


Why do some people have a bad sense of direction? How can you avoid getting lost? Why did early mapmakers put fake towns on their maps and why does every traffic controller in the world speak English?

From finding food, water and shelter to traveling for commerce, trade and eventually exploring the world, humans have always had to find their way from one place to another. Are We There Yet? examines the evolution of how we navigate the world. Our earliest ancestors relied on built-in navigation systems in our brains and followed clues like star patterns and animal behavior. Then came the invention of maps, faster transportation and eventually technology, like satellites and GPS. And from the depths of the ocean to faraway planets, there's still plenty of exploring to do. Where will we go next?

About the authors

MARIA BIRMINGHAM is a longstanding contributor to OWL and Chickadee magazines, and the award-winning author of several books for young people, including Acting Wild, Biometrics, and A Beginner's Guide to Immortality: From Alchemy to Avatars. Maria lives in Brampton, Ontario.


Maria Birmingham's profile page

Drew Shannon is an illustrator who lives in Toronto. Drew earned a bachelor of arts at Sheridan College and has worked with many different clients, including CBC, VICE Media, UNICEF, The Washington Post and NPR. He is the illustrator of Extreme Battlefields: When War Meets the Forces of Nature and Out of the Ice: How Climate Change is Revealing the Past.


Drew Shannon's profile page


  • Long-listed, Science Writers and Communicators of Canada (SWCC) Book Awards - Youth Category
  • Commended, Junior Library Guild (JLG) Gold Standard Selection

Editorial Reviews

“With its conversational tone, Are We There Yet? draws readers into a fascinating look at the ways in which humans have travelled throughout history and provides a glimpse into the future of travel…[The author] does a very good job of selecting the highlights in all aspects of travel and provides interesting facts in the text boxes. She also encourages readers to hone their map-reading skills...and to weigh the pros and cons of some modes of transportation in terms of their environmental impact. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“What elevates this beyond encyclopedia fare are references to current events and instances where readers are invited to imagine themselves in problem-solving, relatable scenarios. The bright, colorful graphics that bounce off pages are also helpful and complement accessible, manageable chunks of information...A great resource for report writers that offers a perfect segue from the picture books treasured by the vehicle obsessed.”


“Fascinating…Readers will enjoy learning about humanity’s desire to travel and ability to do so, as well as past and current marvels of transport…This book is an easily accessible historical journey for middle-grade readers.”

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

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