Bookworms.

I’ve always called myself a bookworm.

But why? Why do we call book lovers bookworms? Maybe it has to do with teachers and an apple and a worm? Or maybe book lovers bury themselves in a book like a worm buries itself in the earth?

Wrong.

I searched the depths of google.

“The bookworm expression stems from years ago when books were destroyed by moths, beetles, silverfish, and other insects. Books today do not have this problem. The type of glue has changed to deter an insect’s destruction. Books are also kept in better conditions, such as air-conditioned and heated homes.”

Gross.

And welcome to Bug Bytes.

I’m not here to talk about what we can learn from google. I’m here to talk about what kids can learn from books – National Geographic Kids books.

I got the opportunity to speak with Jennifer Emmett, VP of Kids Content and Erica Green, VP and Editorial Director of Kids Books at National Geographic Kids.

Jennifer and Erica are bookworms too. They gave my fellow National Geographic Kids Insiders and me an overview of their favorite books for our future generations of book lovers. *

* I say future generations of book lovers but I totally mean me. I steal these books from my kids’ backpacks. Come on, it’s National Geographic. A place where nature becomes a story. King of photography. King of videography. King of the Jungle.

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Tales from the Arabian Nights by Donna Jo Napoli Ages 8-12. Hardcover. This book helps kids understand a culture rich with history – the Middle East. Tales of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Sinbad the Sailor, and Aladdin show kids there’s more to the world than a Disney movie. Pretend-riding a magic carpet is still acceptable.

Ultimate Oceanpedia by Christina Wilson Ages 7-10. Hardcover. National Geographic has access to parts of the world you and I will never see. The oceans cover 70% of earth yet there’s a lot that hasn’t been explored. National Geographic Kids dives deep with the best underwater photographers in the world. This “oceanpedia” focuses on preserving the health of the ocean “land” and what kids can do to help. Even if those kids live in Kansas.

2017 Almanac Ages 8-12 Hardcover and softcover. This book is one of National Geographic’s best-selling books. It covers everything – games, wonders of the world, history, culture, discoveries, and explorers. Kids can read about scientists dressing up as polar bears to study them. Or learn about the real species of spiders named sparkle muffin.

Weird But True 8 Ages 8-12 Softcover. Ah, Weird But True. “Mom, did you know..” Spoiler: you’ll most likely not know, question the fact, and go to google to confirm. It’s always confirmed. This is the 8th installment of the series. Kids forget they are learning when they read that death metal music attracts sharks or Kansas produces enough wheat every year to make 35 billions loaves of bread. Kansas smells like home, kids.

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If your kids love these books, make sure they watch the new Weird But True television show every Saturday morning.

Famous Fails! by Crispin Boyer Ages 8-12 Softcover. This book is my personal favorite because I fail a lot. Failing is a learning process and this book shows kids failing is ok. Michael Jordan was cut from the basketball team. The Leaning Tower of Piza was not supposed to lean. Einstein was told he wasn’t smart. The book itself is printed with mistakes. Emma Burton even fails.

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The Ultimate Dinopedia by “Dino” Don Lessem Ages 7-10. Hardcover. If you have a kid that loves dinosaurs, this is the only kids book that lists every dinosaur ever discovered. And 125 species are explained in detail. Fun tidbit: the illustrations had to be carefully considered because the editors didn’t want them to be too gory. Dining with a dino is not served on a plate.

Little Kids First Big Book of Animals Ages 4-8. Hardcover. Ok, littles! Here’s a book for you! Big, small, slimy, furry, rough, cold-blooded, warm-blooded, brown, blue, polka dots, all the animals are here! This book can be read by an adult to a small child. It answers questions little kids want to know- how do they eat? What do they eat? Are they fast? What do the babies look like? Let’s find out, kids!

Edible Science by Jodi Wheeler Ages 8-12. Softcover. My question to Jennifer and Erica: My kids love to cook. They also love making up their own recipes and a giant mess in the kitchen they leave me to clean. Is there a book out for Emma and Kate that mixes recipes with the science behind cooking? This book was the first book to pop in their mind. Cooking is chemistry and this book turns the kitchen into a science experiment you can eat. I still have to clean the mess though.

National Geographic Kids Cookbook by Barton Seaver Ages 8-12. Softcover. This cookbook is for kids to bake from year-round. It’s not a normal cookbook because Nat Geo is never normal – there are crafts, activities and challenges within the pages. Host a dinner party, pack a school lunch, bake a holiday dessert, family cooking competitions, snow day recipes, and the kids get permission to play with their food. I give permission to clean up your own mess.

Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet by Buzz Aldrin Ages 8-12. Hardcover. Yeah, that Buzz Aldrin. The Buzz Aldrin that went to the moon on Apollo 11. Going to the moon is so 1969. Kids today imagine going to Mars. Could Mars be colonized? Well, we’re moving closer to the possibility. This book explains what a real life would be like on the red planet.

And there you have it, from the National  Geographic Kids headquarters in Washington, D.C. Go turn your kids into a bookworm!

But not that kind of bookworm. The cute human bookworm from 2016.

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