National Geographic's Almanac 2020
National Geographic magazine is a sentimental staple in my life: I grew up on old issues given to me by neighbors and treasured the subscriptions I got for Christmas. I've given up my paper magazines in the name of conservation but am still drawn to that familiar yellow border and the images and knowledge within.
Almanac 2020 by National Geographic
National Geographic, 2019
Copy provided by publisher for TLC Book Tours
I hadn't had an opportunity to pour over any of NatGeo's annual almanacs until offered one for review, and it's an ultra dose of everything the magazine does well, broken up into small, easily consumed tidbits. It's perfect for trivia nerds and kids: most of the topics are covered in two pages or less, broken up with NatGeo's trademark stunning photography or infographics and timelines for context.
Between us, I'm not precisely sure what makes this an 'almanac' in the way I understand an almanac (weather or astrological predictions) but the topics presented are timely and relevant: recent scientific discoveries (importance of sleep), anniversaries (10th anniversary of Ada Lovelace Day), concepts (gender as a spectrum), cutting edge thinkers (immersive journalist Paul Salopek, whose quote opens my review), historical figures (Semiramis), and research that reached mainstream media (brain-gut connection). There's also tons of trivia: the biggest things, deepest things, maps of countries and rows of flags, the kind of stuff I loved stumbling over when paging through encyclopedias.
What I appreciate in this book is what I appreciate about NatGeo's work in general: there is a reverence for the planet and an affection for all people that invites the reader to see themselves as a piece of a larger, interconnected story. This book is great for anyone who enjoys the surprise of stumbling across a tidbit new to them, but also strikes me as a great springboard for homeschool or independent study. Unabridged Kid (4.5 years old) and I have been turning to it almost daily to explore a page of nerdiness or pour over the striking pictures. I anticipate this will become an annual arrival in our house now and it makes me more than a little sentimental to pass on my love for NatGeo to him.