National Geographic Kids Almanac: Read This!

Lillie Forteau's picture

I've got the coolest book to share with you. It's the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016, and it's full of awesomeness.

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016

There is everything in here, from cool events in 2016 to animals, history, dinosaurs, adventures, pizza, a sky calendar, and animal rescues. I love it because there are so many things in it, it would take days to read the whole thing. I like to randomly go to one page, read it, and then randomly go to another. It's so interesting, and I am learning so many cool things. Plus, each page has amazing photos.

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016

I am impressed by how many topics there are - and even how so many topics can fit onto one page! I am also impressed by how much research went into this book - it's a treasure trove of everything you need to know.

I highly recommend this for all ages - parents or siblings can read it to their littles, and teens will be interested, too. It's perfect for a road trip or long flight - you'll never get bored! 


We were lucky enough to catch up with Shelby Alinsky, Editor, National Geographic Kids Books (and the almanac specifically!), and ask her about the book, research, and more. Here's what she had to say:


Please tell us about your National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016...

The 2016 National Geographic Kids Almanac is the newest installment of our annual publication. Just like in past years, it's chockfull of fun, facts, photos, games, and more! The NGK Almanac covers everything -- from crazy current events, to roundups of the cutest animals, to all the info you need to know. Readers can learn about the water cycle and about daring explorers. And, of course animal heroes, animal rescues, and funny animal antics! 

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016


How do you decide what goes into this book?

There's the whole world out there to choose from, so it's really hard! To narrow it down, our first stop is to take a look at the most popular features of National Geographic Kids Magazine from the year. We look at what kids liked most, what really resonated with them, what they were most excited about. We try to fold some of those magazine departments into the Almanac. 

We also take a look a what's new and exciting in the news, specifically in science. We're always looking to see what new animals have been discovered or what new inventions are being worked on. We also tap into our really amazing set of National Geographic Explorers --- their projects are always so interesting and inspiring. They're really on the forefront of their industries, so any time we can highlight their work, we do! The Almanac team also keeps a running list of ideas throughout the year. Any time we see something cool in the news, it goes on the "possible story" list.

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016


What's the research process like? There are so many fascinating things!

We have a great team working on the Almanac. Most of the research is done by our researcher. She's responsible for updating all of the reference facts (populations, world leaders, world languages, etc.). We use the same sources year after year so that we can make sure that our figures are consistent. 

We also work really closely with our cartographic department to update all the maps and flags that appear each year. There are lots of little things that change here and there that most of us wouldn't even notice. So it's really fascinating to talk with our colleagues in the cartographic group about what updates they need to make. 

For the feature stories, those come from a variety of sources. Some we pick up from NGK books or NGK Magazine, which have all been written and researched by their original teams. For brand new stories, we assign those to a writer who researches the story. Then the researcher checks the facts to make sure everything is correct. 

Sometimes during our research phase, we find that things change. That happens sometimes with movies. When we start the Your World chapter, we'll list movies that are supposed to be coming out. Sometimes those release dates change and we have to replace one or two at the last minute. That's also an issue with facts like world leaders, which we include in our international edition. Sometimes elections are happening around the world while we're working on the Almanac. In those cases, we make a note to double check (and sometimes triple check!) the election results just before the book ships off to the printer. 

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016


What's your favorite topic in this book?

There are so many! It's really hard to choose my favorite. If I had to, though, I'd say my favorite feature in the 2016 Almanac is the "16 Things in an Explorer's Backpack" in the Adventure chapter. We have "16 Things" lists in each chapter (for 2016!), and for Adventure, we decided to show 16 items one of our National Geographic Explorers carries in her backpack. The fun part was that we really had no idea what those things would be! First, I went through our list of National Geographic Explorers and picked one who does a lot of fieldwork. Jill Pruetz does a lot of research about chimpanzees out in the field in Senegal. So, she seemed like a really good candidate, and she was excited to be involved. It was really fun to see the list of items she sent in! I was most surprised to learn that she always carries a mirror to help with removing beestings. 

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016


What might surprise readers about this book?

Everything that goes in it! There are so many features and stories in the Almanac, about all kinds of different topics. So it's really fun to have one page all about awesome frogs, then another page all about history's mysteries, and then another page with a Funny Fill-In game! You can literally open the book anywhere and find incredible stories and fascinating facts. It's a lot of fun to read in groups -- everyone can open up to a random page and read aloud one item. By the end, you'll know so much!

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016


What do you hope kids get out of reading this book?

Curiosity! There's so much to explore in the world, and the National Geographic Kids Almanac is a great place to start. We hope kids will read the book, find topics they want to know more about and go learn more. There are crafts and recipes and ideas for getting outside. There are stories of newly discovered animals and stories about survival. So much to do and learn!

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016


Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

This year we're launching an Almanac Newsmaker Challenge which will have a different focus every year. For 2016, it's the Step Up to the Plate Challenge. We're challenging kids to learn about food waste and make a pledge to reduce food waste in their lives. We'll report the results in the 2017 Almanac.

You can find out more about the Almanac - and the challenge - here:


National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016




Lillie Forteau is the teen travel editor for Wandering Educators

Note: We received a review copy of this almanac - thank you so much!

All photos courtesy and copyright National Geographic, except cover shot and 16 Things list page, courtesy Wandering Educators