Non Fiction Review: The Big Book of Bling

The Big Book of Bling by Rose M Davidson
The Big Book of Bling: Ritzy Rocks, Extravagant Animals, Sparkling Science, and More!
by Rose M Davidson

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book gives amazing information and wacky facts about bling of all kinds, from gorgeous gems to flashy fish to colorful festivals around the world.
Not just about the diamonds and gold, this book talks about animals that use dazzling colors to attract a mate or fend off predators, the most expensive luxury items of the ancient and modern worlds, and the most extravagant palaces and mansions around the world.

There are caves that sparkle in the darkness with luminescence, showy waterfalls, armor from the middle ages, twinkling stars, stunning ice formations and glaciers, the most expensive cars, and the most iconic movie props of all time. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Nerd A-Z

Nerd A to Z by Tamara J. Resler
Nerd A to Z: Your Reference to Literally Figuratively Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know
by Tamara J. Resler, National Geographic Society (Contributor)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


If you are interested in being that person who knows the facts, has the smarts, and can problem-solve with the experts, then this book is for you. Full of information about science, arts, culture, geography, history, and technology, this book is the perfect encyclopedia of knowledge for the coolest people on earth- nerds!

At the very beginning of the book there is a flow chart quiz, “What Kind of Nerd Are You?”, so you can discover if you’re a scientist, a culture connoisseur, a tech expert, a genius at geography, or a designer. Once you’ve found out your special interest, you can take another flow chart quiz to find your niche within that subject. No matter if your interests are sports, music, art, science, virtual reality tech, cartography, zoology, genetics, or botany, there is a cool quiz to take and a whole book full of cool information on that subject! Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Brain Candy

Brain Candy by Julie Beer
Brain Candy: 500 Sweet Facts to Satisfy Your Curiosity
by Julie Beer,  Chelsea Lin

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


“Have you ever wondered which is hotter: the surface of the sun or the core of the Earth?” This book is packed with crazy facts and wild information to satisfy even the most curious minds! There are factoids about history, science, animals, writing, music, outer space, food, sports, and of course the weird human body.

I love how colorful this book is! Each page is full of vibrant photos and bright text boxes with nuggets of wacky information.

I only wish that each fact had more data explaining about the information. For instance, “A five-story inflated yellow duck travels to city harbors around the world.” Why is there a huge rubber duck that travels around? Who owns it? What is its purpose? haha! I need more info! I guess I’ll have to google it. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Book Review: Don’t Read This Book Before Dinner

Don't Read This Book Before Dinner by Anna Claybourne
Don’t Read This Book Before Dinner: Revoltingly True Tales of Foul Food, Icky Animals, Horrible History, and More (Don’t Read This Book)
by Anna Claybourne, National Geographic Society (Contributor)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Have you ever wondered how much mucus your sinuses make every day? Or what types of insects various cultures around the world consider to be delicious cuisine? Or how much pee rodents are leaving in the walls of your house? Wonder no more, because this book covers a multitude of disgusting and disturbing facts about the gross things of the world.

With sections about rats, toads, plants, insects, germs, food, mold, skunks, mummies, and dozens more, this book will definitely gross you out! Heed the warnings, and do NOT read it before eating! Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Surprising Stories Behind Everyday Stuff

Surprising Stories Behind Everyday Stuff by Stephanie Warren Drimmer
Surprising Stories Behind Everyday Stuff
by Stephanie Warren Drimmer

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

The everyday things around us have fascinating histories of genius, inspiration, happy accidents, tradition, and ancient legends. How were zippers, scissors, candles, velcro, pockets, skateboards, hair dye, and chewing gum invented, and how have they changed over the years? This book tells the incredible origin stories of hundreds of everyday items, holidays, games, foods, and sports.

The colorful photos and illustrations bring each entry to life, as the reader dives into the history and legends of common-place items. The colors are bright and energetic, and draw your attention. The design of each page is calculated to spark the reader’s interest! Continue reading

Non-Fiction Book Review: Code This!

Code This! by Jennifer Szymanski
Code This!: Puzzles, Games, Challenges, and Computer Coding Concepts for the Problem Solver in You
by  Jennifer SzymanskiCarlos Bueno 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This fascinating book teaches children the concepts and ideas behind computer programming, and provides simple coding problems to be solved. The challenges include activities, games, and crafts that can be completed to solve the puzzles, as the reader learns computer coding approaches like binary code, directions, algorithms, loops of code, debugging when there is a problem, and optimizing the commands given to the program. Using logic and simple commands, the reader learns to understand the basic structure of a computer program. Continue reading

NonFiction Review: Encyclopedia of American Indian History and Culture

National Geographic Kids Encyclopedia of American Indian Hist... by Cynthia O'Brien
Encyclopedia of American Indian History and Culture
by Cynthia O’Brien

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This book lists the major characteristics and customs of over 160 Native American tribes, dedicating one or two pages to each tribe and including illustrations and photographs, both of historic cultures and modern people.

The book is grouped by region, showing how the environment and climate shaped their culture and livelihood. Time lines demonstrate the changes and historic events that developed their societies.
Each region section has a tribal story that is a part of that culture’s traditions and beliefs.

Continue reading

Book Review: Explorer Academy The Double Helix

Explorer Academy by Trudi Trueit
Explorer Academy: The Double Helix (Explorer Academy #3)
by Trudi Trueit 

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Cruz and his friends on board the Orion are heading to the Mediterranean, searching for clues left behind by Cruz’s mother before she died. The evil Nebula operatives are never far behind, spying on Cruz and threatening his family. In the middle of his secret quest for his mother’s clues, Cruz still has to attend Explorer Academy classes, compete with his team in class competitions, and try to have a little fun at a student Halloween party. His thirteenth birthday is quickly approaching, and Cruz is in more danger than ever as he navigates the intricacies of the toughest adventure yet!

I loved this plot! There is plenty of action and suspense. I never knew what was going to happen next! There are several plot-lines intersecting as Cruz juggles his school responsibilities, his personal relationships, dodging the nefarious Nebula, and keeping contact with Lani, his best friend back home in Hawaii. Continue reading

Book Review: Explorer Academy Codebreaking Activity Adventure

Explorer Academy Codebreaking Activity Adventure by National Geographic Kids
Explorer Academy Codebreaking Activity Adventure
by National Geographic Kids

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Enter the Explorer Academy as a recruit and crack the codes to find clues that will lead you through the mysterious halls of the Academy. Starting with easy codes and moving into more and more complex puzzles and encryptions, this book teaches the readers how to create and decode various types of ciphers, including semaphore and Morse code.

I loved the way the puzzles and codes are presented as part of an adventure, leading the reader through doorways to various parts of the Academy. Each code that you break gives you a clue to another place in the Academy that you need to go to find the next clue, and there are detours and hazards along the way. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Brain Games

Brain Games by Stephanie Warren Drimmer
Brain Games: Mighty Book of Mind Benders
by Stephanie Warren Drimmer,  Gareth Moore

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Warning: This book will melt your brain!

With puzzles, codes, optical illusions, and games, each chapter focuses on one aspect of how our brains process information, including spatial awareness, how our hearing affects our visual perception, and how our memory works (or doesn’t work).

I especially liked the chapter on Words and Language, which explores how our brains process language and reading. There are tons of word games with anagrams, alphabet codes, palindromes, crossword puzzles, and word search games.

Each chapter starts with an explanation of how the brain functions in particular areas, how the brain is mapped, and what scientists and physicians are discovering about the power of the mind. Then challenges and puzzles are introduced to show how your brain is fooling you, or how your brain is stronger and smarter than you realize. Continue reading