Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Two New Picture Books from National Geographic Kids

Natumi Takes the Lead: The True Story of an Orphan Elephant Who Finds Family by Gerry Ellis with Amy Novesky
National Geographic Kids, 2016, 32 pages, age 4+
Available November 8, 2016

Natumi was only 6 weeks old when her mother was killed.  At the sound of guns, the remaining elephants in the herd that they were part of scattered, Natumi found herself all alone.  Luckily, she was found and taken to an elephant orphanage, where other lost and wounded elephants lived.  Soon the eight new elies formed a new family together.  At the orphanage, they were well cared for by their keepers, but soon they would have to be released into a new wilder place, a protected park that would become their home.  But before that could happen, they needed a leader and to everyone's surprise, it turned out to be shy Natumi.

This is a book that will help introduce young readers to the importance of elephants conservation. Although it doesn't focus on elephant poaching beyond Natumi's mother, it does make clear that the elephants population is dwindling and that it is possible for them to soon become extinct.  The beautiful photography of Gerry Ellis captures Natumi's family of elephants playful personalities as they are cared for by their keepers.  There is a map of the places where elephants can be found in Africa, sources for further reading and learning about them, as well as some basic facts.  And be sure to read the note from the photographer at the back for more interesting information about his relationship with Natumi.

Ocean Animals: Who's Who in the Deep Blue by Johnna Rizzo
National Geographic Kids, 2016, 112 pages, age 7+

Did you know that there were different layers to the ocean and that different life-forms live in each layer?  Or that the deepest part of the ocean is 7 miles down form the surface?  Well, neither did I.  Now, kids can learn all about this and more in this book about the sea creatures and plant life that call our oceans home.  They will discover facts about marine life including sharks, mammals, birds, turtles, reptiles, and other creatures and plants as well as the different oceans and habitats where they live and thrive.  There is even a chapter that includes how and why coral reefs are formed, and the importance of conserving them

This an ideal book for young readers who are already familiar with animals of the ocean through their love of Disney's Nemo and Dory. Ocean Animals will provide them with some general information at the beginning of each chapter about what species will be covered in it, followed by a more in-depth look at the differences that can be found within a species. This includes things like where they dwell, what they eat, how they sleep, how dangerous to other sea creature or humans, but there are some fun facts, too.  Readers, both young and older, will also marvel at the exquisite full color photographs throughout the book. At the back of the book is a glossary for words that may be new to young readers.  And of course, it is important to conserve our waterways nowadays, so there are also suggestions for 20 ways young readers can protect the oceans.

Both of these books are designed to introduce curious young readers not only to some of the other creatures we share the earth with, but to also help them understand the importance of conservation before it is too late.  I highly recommend both of these books.

These books were provided to me by the publisher, National Geographic Kids

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge is a weekly celebration of 
nonfiction books hosted by Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy 


  1. The National Geographic kids' series really is awesome, good for younger kids' research, and good to spark their interest in so many topics. The Natumi story sounds very good, and learning about the ocean here so far away from it would be great for students. Thanks, Alex.

  2. National Geographic makes such incredible children's books - the photography alone is just incredible, and really helps bring the different stories to life, and helps children really connect with environments that might be completely new to them. Consistently great stuff!

  3. Natumi is such a great story, isn't it?!?!? I am sharing it next month I think :)
    And I have a student that checked out Ocean Animals and is just savoring and reading every word. When I conferred with him and got to talking about how long he'd been reading it, he shared that he wants to savor everything thus is rereading and researching as he reads. Loved it!

  4. My two nephews would LOVE these. They enjoy anything that has to do with animals or science or the outdoors. They have a couple of National Geographic games. Thanks for the review.

  5. Thanks for including the page count. Sometimes I order books thinking they will be a certain length and then they are different. You would think I'd learn to look up that information...


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