We LOVE books in this house, so when MomsMeet (now operating in Canada!) asked us to sample some Weird But True! books from National Geographic Kids, we jumped at the chance! (That means we were given books in exchange for writing this post about them and sharing our thoughts on social media; everything I’m about to write is all from our experience and not scripted in any way. We accept gifted products and paid compensation from companies from time to time, to help cover the costs of keeping this website online. Drop us a note if you’re interested in working with us!) Now, back to our family’s love of reading!
The first true DIY project we tackled when we moved into our house (after tearing out a couple of walls and closets that were in the way) was building a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf in our living room. We filled it instantly! It’s actually a struggle to give away enough books to keep the shelves from overflowing; reading has always been a passion for me and passing on that love to our children is of great importance.
When our daughter (the first born!) was an infant, we switched out our books on the bottom shelves and used the space for toy storage and kids’ books. We had a full shelf, right at eye level, filled with board books with their covers facing out. This was a tip a shared with me by early educators and it makes such sense (think of what you’re drawn to at the book store or the library!): putting books face out makes them more engaging for children, making them more likely to reach out for the book, and of course having them at eye level and accessible is a huge part of creating early literacy habits in children. We’ve kept the books that way as long as possible, now with narrow shelves in the boys’ room that is perfect for forward-facing books. I think it’s helped us raise a few lifelong readers!
Our kids are now in Kindergarten and Grade Two; the younger two are just starting to sound out words and sight read, while their sister is reading chapter books (she LOVES graphic novels), so I knew that the Weird But True! books would be perfect for our family.
These books are colourful, filled with awesome facts, and broken into perfectly-sized bits of information to engage early readers (and fun to read together as a family, too!). I think they would also be a great option for older kids who feel challenged by longer books and novels; the vocabulary is rich, yet served in short bursts, helping build confidence and maintain focus.
If you’re a regular Pickle Planet reader, you’ll know I’m a HUGE believer in raising children to be proud about where they live. So I am super excited that National Geographic Kids has a Weird But True! Canada edition. It was so fun to see the kids realizing that places they’ve visited, places that are part of their lives, are also part of this book, like the entries about Magnetic Hill and the Bay of Fundy.
I loved the photo of Sydney’s ‘Big Fiddle;’ I was there, covering the event for CBC Radio, the very cold day the world’s largest fiddle (standing 17 metres high) was hoisted into place on the waterfront. I’ve also seen the world’s largest dinosaur statue in Alberta; thanks to Weird But True!, I know now that a dozen people could fit inside it’s mouth. (Maybe don’t point that one out to the kids if you’re going to be nearby; I know mine want to test it out!)
It was also super fun to discover things I didn’t even know about Canada, after 40 years of living here and calling four provinces home! I had no idea the Athabasca sand dunes existed in Saskatchewan, let alone that they can be as tall as nine storeys. I also found my spirit animal, the polar bear – did you know that polar bears usually give birth to twins? So cool!
Another tidbit I’ve learned about kids and reading: we, as parents, often overlook the value and need for non-fiction books for kids. My step-mother taught early elementary throughout her 30+ years in the education system; most of those in Grade One. She pointed out to me that few children came into her classroom having read about ‘real’ things. Children need to see books as a source for information as well as entertainment. I know as a parent I much prefer reading a bedtime story with a narrative beginning, middle, and end, but as I watched our children absorb the information in the Weird But True! books, I could see the power in non-fiction reading, as well. We’ll be reading many more of these and other non-fiction books together!
Some Facts about Weird But True!
The series originated as a part of the National Geographic Kids Magazine in 2004.
There are now more than 30 books and spin-offs.
You can check out Weird But True Wednesday’s on Nat Geo Kids’ Youtube channel!
Apple users can download a mobile app with more than 900 Weird But True facts. (Guess I know what the kids will be using for our next Road Trip Trivia game!)
Interested in bringing Weird But True! to your home? Check out natgeokids.com/wbtcanada to enter an awesome contest! Kids ages six to 14 are invited to share veritably weird facts about their hometown, province, or anything Canadian by March 1, 2019 to enter. What’s your favourite Weird But True! Canadian fact? I’d love you to share in the comments, too!
PS: The books are available in French, as well! We have both the English and French versions of Weird But True! Christmas; so fun!! The kids’ favourite Christmas fact: only female adult reindeer keep their antlers through December, meaning Santa’s reindeer are all girls! Happy reading, everyone!
Enjoyed reading this? We’d love if you’d Pin it & Share it!