This is the second time I have had the good fortune of reviewing kids books on my blog – it is so much fun! Thank you National Geographic Kids and Moms Meet for the opportunity to read and evaluate National Geographic Kids The Book of Heroes and The Book of Heroines.
Testing and reviewing a book is quite a different process from doing the same with a household staple, for example. While testing a toothpaste takes only a couple of minutes a day over the course of a few weeks, “testing” a book means reading it cover to cover with the kids and that is definitely more involved and time consuming of a task. But is is also more rewarding and fun, seeing how the kids enjoy it and learn from it.
National Geographic Kids Books is the leading non-fiction publisher for kids and, in fact, the only publisher that has a scientific, research, and educational organization at its core dedicated to developing over 100 new titles a year. National Geographic Kids also has over 600 existing titles in print worldwide, many of which are award-winners and best-sellers, and include the National Geographic Kids Almanac, a leveled readers series, STEM-titles, and the Weird But True series. The books are also known for offering vivid photography, engaging graphics, and highly informative content, similar to their magazine (which is also great and my daughter loves it).
My 8-year-old started with The Book of Heroines, very eager to learn about strong girls and women who did interesting things and achieved great feats, often when no one expected them to do so. She went through the table of contents quickly to identify a few favorites right away that she wanted to start with. She loves sports, science, and Hermione Granger – the Book of Heroines offers all of that.
She was very impressed by fastest woman in the world Florence Griffith Joyner, whose records on the 100m and 200m remain unbroken after almost 30 years! She also loved reading about Surya Bonaly, the French-American figure skater who is the only skater to have ever landed a jump on one foot. Reading about Emma Watson (whose character Hermione Granger she adores) she noted that Emma uses her fame to promote equality, instead of using it to promote her celebrity persona.
When we got to science, we read together to go over some of the larger concepts that she may not have been that familiar with – making these books wonderful for reading together as a family as well.
We also discussed what a hero means more specifically, whether in fiction or real life, and focused on the seven characteristics they most often share and how those may manifest themselves – Courage, Righteousness, Compassion, Competence, Inspiration, Tenacity, and Action. When I asked her why she admired Hermione Granger, she explained that Hermione studies hard, is smart, is a good friend, does the right thing, helps others, and is good at what she does – clearly, several of a heroine’s attributes.
My 2-year-old did not want to miss out on the fun – she looked through the pictures and attentively listened to my older one reading out loud to her. I read with the girls too, as did my husband, mostly to explain concepts or related subjects that may have been a bit too advanced for them.
The Book of Heroes was a success too. She started by reading about scientist Galileo and Landsteiner, President Abraham Lincoln, President George Washington and the battles they fought, literally and figuratively. She also enjoyed learning about President Lincoln being the tallest President ever and hoped never to have to wear dentures like President Washington.
She moved on to Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter, both of whom she sees as heroes in different ways. She has read about many of the heroes featured but still has more to go – from firefighters to William Wallace. It’s a good thing!
In fact, given the wide range of heroes the book covers, we thought The Book of Heroes would be a great gift for her cousins and we will get it for them as a Christmas gift.
As a parent, I am very impressed by both books – not only do they teach good values and provide examples of such through real-life and fictional heroes, they focus on a wide range of heroes from all walks of life and backgrounds and every kid will be able to relate. Interesting and meaningful discussions can spring from reading them together – do girls have enough role models? Is there one characteristic of a hero that is more important than others? Which hero of the past would you like to meet?
They are a great choice for the holidays too! Both books are available online –
I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.