In 1888, the first issue of National Geographic magazine was published. Since then, the organization has been a mainstay, bringing science, geography, history and world culture right into our living rooms.
In 1975, National Geographic created a division specifically for children. Three recent additions to their lineup — Beginner’s U.S. Atlas 2020, Kids U.S. Atlas 2020 and Kids Almanac 2021 — focus on maps and place in the United States and fun factoids ranging from amazing animals to cool technology.
BEGINNER’S U.S. ATLAS 2020, 3RD EDITION, by National Geographic Kids, Sept. 8, 2020, Large Paperback, $13.99 (ages 7-10)
This atlas serves as an introduction to using maps, including scale, finding places, geological elements, states and cities. It’s divided into regions — Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, West and U.S. Territories. Each state is a two-page spread that features a map and highlights land and water, population, statehood and interesting facts. The format is consistent throughout, making it easy to bounce around. Full-color photographs and bold text draw readers in.
The Beginner’s U.S. Atlas 2020 is recommended for ages 7-10, but my 6-year-old was immediately drawn to it. She’s been quoting facts and talking about it for a week now. She’s using it to plan out next trip.
This would be an excellent aid for homeschool, supplement to in-person or hybrid learning, or just for fun for inquisitive minds.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS U.S. ATLAS 2020, 6TH EDITION, by National Geographic Kids, Sept. 8, 2020, Large Paperback, $12.99 (ages 8-12)
This is a more in-depth atlas than the beginner one above. Smaller, denser text and more detailed maps makes this a better choice for ages 8 and older.
While intended for an older audience, this atlas still includes a “How to Use This Atlas” section that’s worth reading. It’s once again divided into regions, but also includes physical and political maps. A section at the beginning also includes spreads on population, people on the move, energy and the nation’s capital.
National Geographic Kids U.S. Atlas 2020 is much more data heavy. Maps include cities, major roads, trails, mountains, bodies of water and Indian reservations.
Like the atlas above, this would be an excellent aid for homeschool, supplement to in-person or hybrid learning, or just for fun for inquisitive minds.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS ALMANAC 2021, U.S. EDITION (NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ALMANACS), by National Geographic Kids, May 5, 2020, Paperback, $14.99 (ages 8-12)
I remember as a kid, doing scavenger hunts through my elementary school’s almanac during library time. We were using fat books with no illustrations, dense with all sorts of boring data points.
National Geographic Kids Almanac 2021, U.S. Edition is the complete opposite. Bold photographs and illustrations fill every page, making it a visual feast. Each section is divided into smaller easily-digestible nuggets of information that are both interesting and educational. The text is on the smaller side, making it suitable for stronger readers. That said, I will still happily hand it off to my 6-year-old who will be enamored by the artwork and factoids.
This almanac would be a great gift option for almost any child, including kids who are curious about everything or readers who prefer to jump around instead of reading cover to cover.