Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks. ~ Dr. Seuss







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National Geographic Kids

National Geographic Kids

SIX Nat Geo Kids to gift this year!

Do you have a National Geographic Kids books on your Christmas gift list? If not, here are six National Geographic Kids books that will entertain, delight and educate everyone around you!

BOOK #1: SCIENCE ENCYCLOPEDIA: 

National Geographic Kids Science Encyclopedia divides its content into two main parts:

  • Part 1: Physical Science (Matter, Forces & Machines, Energy and Electronics)
  • Part 2: Life Science (Universe, Life on Earth, Planet Earth and Human Body)

The book opens with a brief introduction page “What is Science?” defining what science means, who the first “scientists” were  and how they work and concluding with “What is a scientific theory?“.

Science Encylcopedia Inside 1-horz

Each sub-section that follows has a introduction to the section followed by call out boxes of information with pictures. The trademark Nat Geo colored photography, style or presentation, thick glossy paper and the sheer amount of topics covered, make this book a 10 /10 for gift giving this season!

BOOK #2: WHY’D THEY WEAR THAT?

Have you watched a movie set in a time period few hundred years ago and wondered “Why’d they wear that?” Then this book is for you! National Geographic Kids Why’d they wear that asks you to step back in time and look at the choices people made in their attire.

Why'd they wear that inside 1-tile

This book is divided into 9 chapters primarily following a timeline from 10,000 BC to the 20th century. Tim Gunn, the renowned Project Runway host, says this in the Foreword

Clothing is a reflection of a time and a place, but it is also self expression. The clothes we wear send a message, and those who see us out in the world respond accordingly.”

Each chapter focuses on a specific time period, providing context, conditions and imagery showing the type of clothing people wore. Remarkably interesting, fascinating for history buffs, do not judge THIS book by its cover! National Geographic Kids “Why’d they wear that?” will absorb you in and make you take a look in what is in your wardrobe!

BOOK #3: RISE OF THE LIONESS: 

In the western African country of Zambia, poaching and war have taken a toll on population on lions in the area. As a matter of fact, the damage is so severe, that there is only one lioness left, named “Lady”!

Author Bradley Hague chronicles Lady’s fight to survive and the struggle to restore the balance in the land and to bring back the lioness.

Rise of the Lioness Lady-horz

National Geographic Kids “Rise of the Lioness” is a true introduction to Life Sciences. The author begins by introducing to us to a complete ecosystem and the various interconnections between animals and plants. The author documents how the ecosystem felt into ruin and how scientists are striving to revive it. Introducing various scientific methods, the author highlights human kinds responsibility and role in nurturing our environment and protecting those beings around us. An amazing documentary and absolutely gorgeous illustrations. This book is not to miss!

BOOK #4: WELCOME TO MARS: 

Nothing fascinates the young reader that space exploration. Mars has always been that fascinating final frontier for us and still remains a primary source of planetary investigation. Author and popular astronaut Buzz Aldrin challenges the young reader to think about what it would take to make the planet Mars your next home!

Welcome to Mars inside1-vert

A brief introduction page titles “Why Mars? ” highlights how earth-like the planet is and how it offers the best livable conditions for human kind. What would it take to make Mars your next home? What will you wear? How will you get there? Once you get there, how will you live? What will you eat for breakfast? These are just a few of the questions that Buzz quizzes you on.

This book is well laid out and has various activities including directions to work through them. For example:”Where is the Red Planet?” asks you to look out into the sky and find Mars using the ecliptic. Another favorite part was the timeline of Mars exploration followed by a map of Mars. “Welcome to Mars” is a book that will blast you into space!

BOOK #5: HOW THINGS WORK: 

If you have curious kids around you, National Geographic Kids “How Things Work” is THE book to gift.

How things work inside 1-tile

How Things Work is divided into six mega section.. yes this sure is a mega book sizing 9 by 12 inches with a whooping 200 plus pages of content. Topics covered range from hover-boards, refrigerators, post it notes to roller coaster inventions, rockets and hybrid cars. Each sections calls out “Just the facts”, “Fun Facts” and “Myth v/s Facts” sections to break up layout in an interesting manner. We love the way the book is organized and laid out in easy digestible section. This book will keep you wanting to explore more!

BOOK #6: BRAIN GAMES: 

National Geographic Kids “Brain Games” is all about “mind-blowing science for your amazing brain“! With a title like that, this one is a easy choice for ANY house hold or library.

Brain Games inside 1-tile

Brain Games is a companion book to the hit TV show “Brain Games”. Inside the book are fun challenges, illusions and puzzles from the show followed by snippets of highlights on how to solve for the challenges. Borrowed from the tv show format, Brain Games book explores different parts of your brain and how it works.

This book is eye catching with various fonts, colorful illustrations and photographs and fun info pop ups that make it easy for kids to read. There is no specific order and one can jump right into the book and start reading. This is a fun book to take along for short trips, to gift to readers 8+ and for anyone interested in learning more about our brain. Kudos to the authors in making this an easy read, yet packed with information and fascinating for adults and kids alike. Brain games is a MUST NOT MISS!

So which one(s) will you pick this Christmas??

Find it here: Amazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Be the Change

Be the Change

by Arun Gandhi, Bethany Hegedus (Author), Evan Turk (Illustrator) 

A Grandfather Gandhi Story

Arun is spending time on Grandfather Gandhi’s aashram to learn and complete the 11 vows of aashram living. Among the 11, the one Arun found the hardest to follow was the vow “Not to Waste”.

Be the Change eleven vows

Grandfather Gandhi preached a non-violent life. But Arun struggled to understand how “not wasting” had anything to contribute towards living a non-violent life! So Grandfather asks Arun to accompany him on one of his trips where thousands of people would come to listen to Gandhi speak. Arun would listen but not fully understand his lectures.

Be the Change Grandfather speaks

One afternoon, as Arun walked back after Grandfather’s lectures, his thoughts grew clouded and muddy.  In frustration, he tosses a nubby pencil, tired of his vow of not wasting anything and tired of not understanding and getting the point.

When bapuji finds out, he asks Arun to go back and look for it. When Arun returns, bapuji  explains the significance of wasting. He introduces to him how “waste” is a violent action. He asks Arun to draw a tree of waste. As days pass, Arun works hard at adding to the tree and is shocked at the results.

“Be the Change” is the second book in the Grandfather Gandhi series of picture books for kids. This one particularly was exciting and interesting to read. What bapuji teaches to little Arun is fully relevant and completely relatable to today’s world. In fact, “waste” as a form of violence seems more relevant today than before.  Indeed, the concepts introduced in this series can be particularly heavy. However, author Bethany Hegedus writes in simple language and the dramatic collage style art by Evan Turk cleverly simplifies the “tree of waste” for children. Shifting perspectives, double spread illustrations, collage work portraying Gandhiji’s form of life all work excellently in this power packed, heavy yet necessary read for children.

Needless to say this one is a book i will read , re-read, read to my little one, read to others, gift to friends and family for a long time to come! More importantly, the book has encouraged active dialogue to me personally as well as a household conversation. Can’t wait to read the third in this series.

Highly recommended!

Find it here: Library, Amazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Dining With Dinosaurs

Dining With Dinosaurs

by Hannah Bonner (Author)

A Tasty guide to Mesozoic munching

We have read so many books on dinosaurs. From a toddler books to middle graders, there are a ton of books featuring dinosaurs. Nothing fascinates us more than this specific extinct species. National Geographic’s publication, called “Dining with Dinosaurs” takes a look at the different food groups that the various dinosaur species dined on.

Dining with Dinosaurs inside

The book is sectioned into the many “vores” from the mesozoic food web. For example the “Dinovores” were meat eaters and ate other dinosaurs for food. The double spread lists the largest dino in this category ( 2 crocodiles: Deinosuchus, Sarcosuchus) , the strangest (snake called Sanajeh), the smallest (fossil fleas and a microscopic parasite) and the furriest (mammal called Repenomamus)!

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Other sections have interesting snippets called “Ask a Scientist“. This comic strip presentation gives us an opportunity to find out a scientist’s answer to interesting questions or discover some fun facts.

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Each section of “Dining with Dinosaur” is unique in the facts presented about the dining habits of that category of dinosaurs. What we enjoyed most was the easy flow from section to section and the sketch diagram illustration style that is very eye catching.  The author / illustrator Hannah Bonner keeps things interesting and breaks the monotony by scattering comic book style call outs and dialogues.

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Extra Helpings” glossary items educate us on further readings and background information such as a chart of the food web for dinosaurs and what photosynthesis means.

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I would recommend “Dining with Dinosaurs” for advanced elementary readers, middle graders and above.

Find out how the dino’s dined and what was on their plate a long long time ago

Find it here: Library, Amazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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What a Beautiful Morning!

What a Beautiful Morning!
by Arthur A Levine (Author), Katie Kath (Illustrator)

Beautiful inside and out!

L ittle Noah loves those days when his grandparents come to visit. Every morning is a wonderful, beautiful morning. Grandpa and Noah are first to get up while grandma sleeps in. They sing to a lovely tune while they cook up some breakfast and coffee for grandma.

What a Beautiful morning together

Grandpa and Noah look up their “docket of ideas”.. they always have so very many. And so many lovely mornings pass, until one day Noah finds that his grandpa forgets how to cut his french toast!

What a Beautiful morning forgetting

 A few days later, grandpa gets up startled from his nap and has forgotten who Noah was!!! Noah dashes outside, broken-hearted and not sure what has become of his beloved grandpa.

What a Beautiful morning forgetting things

Arthur Levine’s “What a Beautiful Morning” is a poignant, touching tale of aging and memory loss. The author’s simple to follow text highlights the joys of togetherness and the sorrow and hurt that comes with finding out something is wrong with your loved ones. Katie Kath’s brilliant watercolor artwork adds a superb dimension to the tale. The gentle yellow and brown hues draw you in enveloping the reader in the warmth of the relationship between grandchild and grandparent. The contrasting grays subtly draw out the feelings of sadness and loneliness.

With the help of his grandma, Noah learns to cope with his grandpa’s sudden forgetfulness. He learns to celebrate the times when grandpa is around and then be patient and wait until the next moment comes.

“What a Beautiful Morning” is a beautiful picture book, a tale of love and empathy, about finding your way back through compassion and patience. Highly recommended!!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Journey trilogy

Journey trilogy
by Aaron Becker (Author/Illustrator)

The finale!

Wordless Books are not a new phenomenon in children’s picture books. But Aaron Becker has mastered the art of visual storytelling through absolutely stunning artwork.

In his first book, Journey (winner of many awards!), Aaron Beckers tells us a story about a girl who is extremely bored! Mom’s cooking, dad’s on the computer and her sister is glued to an electronic device. So when girl spots a red crayon, she starts painting a bright red door.. which magically opens to a wondrous  imaginary world. Girl goes on an adventure of a daring rescue in this fantastic world.

Aaron Becker Journey inside

What is more magical, the visual story that the author draws us into page after page, or the amazingly detailed world that you discover as you read through the book? Hard to tell! We were hooked!

So when the author’s second book “Quest” came out, we made a beeline to the bookstore to take a look. This time, girl has a friend with whom he goes on an adventure.. a mystery they must solve by collecting a few crayons and rescuing a very important person! “Quest” is equally beautifully, equally engaging and just as fantastic as “Journey”.

Aaron Becker Quest inside

Wordless picture books takes not just artistic skill but the vision to create a compelling storyline. I can imagine that it would be easy to lose the reader or to have too much on a page and distract the reader. So the skill lies in having the right balance of art and leading the reader in the right direction. Aaron Becker has done so magnificently! So ready for the last one in this series? We just had the cover reveal:

Aaron Becker Return cover

 Meant for young and old, seasoned readers and reluctant readers alike, there is really no age bar for the Journey trilogy. And when you have read the Journey trilogy, I am sure you will agree that this set is truly stunningly beautiful!

And thanks to Candlewick Press, here is how you can win a prize pack of 1 copy of Journey and 1 copy of Quest! (Open to US/CA only!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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Elephant Man

Elephant Man
by Mariangela Di Fiore (Author), Hilde Hodnefjeld (Illustrator)

A story of courage and compassion

“Gather around—prepare to be amazed!” At a tiny little theater in London, every evening, the Elephant Man steps out from behind a curtain. One look at “The Elephant Man” makes one gasp with dismay. They scream in horror and call him “hideous” and a “monster”. But the Elephant Man , whose real name was Joseph Merrick, would rather make people laugh and laugh with them.

Joseph was not born this way. He looked like any other baby. His mother held him just as any other mother would hold her baby. But when Joseph was just a few years old, something unusual started happening to him. He started emitting an unpleasant smell. He developed unusual crumpled lumps all over his body. His mouth became heavy and he lost his ability to speak, smile and make different facial expressions. In short, his body completely transformed and became disfigured.

Elephant Man inside1

What follows is a tragic tale of heart ache and sorrow. Joseph loses his mother very early on. He is treated miserably by everyone around him on account of his disfigurement. Bullied, shunned, rejected and ridiculed, Joseph leads a life of an outcast. Finally Joseph ends up in London and on stage, which seems the only way he can earn money and live on his own.

Elephant Man inside2

Finally after a series of misfortunes, he finally meets a kind doctor who offers to host him in London hospital. Dr Fredrick makes sure Joseph lives in comfortable and has all the books that he can read. Finally Joseph has a place he can call home, a place he feels safe and most importantly a friend who he scientific study. And although Joseph never dared to leave his room, many people from London came to visit him, look at his models and listen to his stories. Joseph makes many good friends.

“Elephant Man” is an interesting biography, a story that highlights the worse and the best side of human nature. While Joseph underfoes horrendous trials at a very early age, he is also fortunate to find kindly souls who offer him comfort, friendship and solace. The author gives Joseph’s story a compassionate voice and highlights the important message to measure a person “by his soul” and not by appearances.

Engaging and highly affecting, this book is an excellent addition to your biography collection.

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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Greater Estimations

Greater Estimations
by Bruce Goldstone (Author)

How many rubber duckies are on the cover?

Every day we see objects around us. We find clumps of rocks in the backyard, a line of trees or maybe a group of birds flying in the sky. Have you ever wondered how we can use simple tricks to estimate small Estimations?

Greater Estimations opens with an army of rubber duckies marching towards you! It’s literally a quack attack J Can you count how many are there in this army? Counting one by one, the author claims, is bound to give you a headache!

Eye training” is a simple and effective way to train oneself to recognize groups of say 10 rubber duckies. Now if you can eye train 10, then let’s try looking at a 100. Goldstone shows you that by seeing a small and then large and then larger groups, you can train your eyes to estimate how many objects you can see.

Or how about this batch of skydivers?

Greater Estimations how many

 “Clumping” is a way to divide and estimate. Identify a group of 50 and then mutlitply!

Can you try to estimate how many candies fill this picture?

Greater Estimations how many2

A large part of the book focuses on different estimation techniques like eye training, clump counting and box counting and estimating items in containers. The progression is from simple techniques to some more complex ideas such as how tall things could be or how heavy.

Greater Estimations how tall

What’s not to love about “Greater Estimations”? From growing math vocabulary to having fun counting real life objects, this book is for the whole family!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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A Rock Can Be

A Rock Can Be
by Laura Purdie Salas (Author), Violeta Dabija (Illustrator)

Rocks are everywhere!

Laura and Violeta have done it again! The third in a series of non-fiction picture books (“Water Can Be” and “ A Leaf Can Be”), “A Rock Can Be..” is a stunningly beautiful, easy to read and fantastic non fiction reading for kids of all ages.

In “A Rock Can be”, Laura and Violeta asks the reader to imagine how and where you can find different types of rocks. A rock is not just a simple static stone lying in the backyard. It can be a Tall Mountain..

A Rock can be Tall mountain

Or a “lake skimmer

 A Rock can be cover Rock skimmer

Or even a “moon rock

 A Rock can be cover Moon Rock

This little picture book packs so much information. What is fascinating that with just a series of short rhyming couplets, the author and illustrator duo highlight that a rock can be found in so many places and can be used in so many ways. From fossilized bones and earth’s crust to a volcanic rock and cliff side home for birds, A rock can be so many many things!

The book ends with a double spread providing more detailed explanation of each of the rock presentations in the book. An absolute gem of a book, a conversation starter for classroom and home libraries!

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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Mad About Monkeys

Mad About Monkeys
by Owen Davey (Author, Illustrator)

So many Monkeys!

Making a non-fiction subject kid friendly is always a challenge. But when it comes to a topic as broad and generic as “Monkeys”, the task becomes even harder. Owen Davey tackles this very uniquely.

“Mad About Monkeys” is not just a basic introduction to the “monkey” family. The book begins with an introduction to primates and how and when this species evolved. The first double spread page covers what these monkeys eat and where you can find them.

Mad About Monkeys uncle

Having covered the basics, the author jumps into more specifics. Did you know we have “Old world monkeys” (down facing noses) and “New world monkeys”(flat noses)? Follow the page to a quick quiz on identifying which monkey belongs to the new world and which ones is an old world monkey.

Mad About Monkeys types

Owen Davey goes on to describe the social life and hierarchy. Other spreads talk about the “weird and wonderful” monkey species found in different parts of the world. Fast facts makes it fun for the reader to keep reading. Turn the page to find out about the monkey with the longest tail (the Spider monkey), or how about the “hairiest” monkey (Bearded Emperor Tamarin)?

Mad About Monkeys Featured creatures

What makes this book special is Owen Davey’s visually striking geometric patterned art work and intriguing layout of textual information and illustrations. This book was hard to put down and we loved pouring over it from front cover to the back! Highly recommend it!

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!

Find it here : Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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