National Geographic’s ‘Almanac 2021’ Invites Conversation and Critical Thinking [REVIEW]

Birds-eye view of a man standing on Grand Canyon. (Photo courtesy Noelle Otto, Pexels/Canva)

Do you sometimes wish you had a way to determine what the coming year will bring? Now you don’t need one! National Geographic’s editors keep their fingers on the pulse of our world and beyond to cull together loads of thoughtful, fascinating insights each year and they assemble it all in one volume for our perusal, Almanac 2021.

National Geographic's Almanac 2021
National Geographic

In true Nat Geo style, this book is jam packed full of gorgeous photography, riveting data, meticulous infographics, and precise maps to lead us on our armchair journey around the globe.

Everything we love about National Geographic’s award-winning magazine and television programs is here, ready to expand our understanding of our world, its people, our planetary neighbors and beyond.

So what’s coming in 2021? Some of the items spotlighted here are the James Webb telescope which launches next year; a brand new wildflower guide; a tour of our solar system and its moons; a dive under the sea to explore the almost alien creatures who inhabit its fathoms; and even a feature on lithium.

The book is divided into chapters like Exploration and Adventure, Life on Earth, and The Science of Us. It also brings fascinating people like Jane Goodall, Amelia Earhart, and conservationist Kris Tompkins center stage and highlights why their work has had such impact on culture and the world. The result is a book that is an educational powerhouse, a must-have for every home, particularly when so many kids are distance learning this year!

One of my favorite features in this volume is the quiz master section at the beginning of each chapter. In it, we are given trivia questions which can be answered by exploring the book. I liked banking these questions and their answers as conversation starters to use around the dinner table, or during casual chats with friends. If nothing else, these questions make us think and pay attention to our world at a time when many of us have become exhausted by the endless news cycles of 2020. This section kick starts our curiosity once more, and could even prepare you for that next game of Jeopardy you play with Alexa.

I also loved the section on climate change. Yes, that term gets thrown around a lot on a good day, and especially so during an election year. But this section breaks down the changes that are happening to our planet into easily digestible nuggets, and it enhances our comprehension of the term and why it actually matters. It showcases what is happening with all the wildfires that have plagued America in recent years, teaches us why they are fought the way they are, and how they can be compared to “living organisms.” We are also given insights into other disasters such as hurricanes and volcanos. And did you know scientists have even identified a new type of cloud?

Finally, each chapter concludes with a section called “Further,” which ties in with Nat Geo’s goal to take us beyond common knowledge and broaden our understanding further than it has ever been done before. For example, did you know that three quarters of the world’s lesser flamingos breed in a toxic environment? The reason behind this phenomenon is truly intriguing!

Of course, you can’t read a book by Nat Geo without also looking back at history. I personally think it’s because you can’t change the future without learning from the past. And that’s what is done here in sections about China’s terra cotta soldiers, ancient Egyptian riddles, and a look back at the woman’s suffrage movement right here in the U.S. You’ll also be surprised to learn that the coronavirus is not a recent discovery!

This is a book that you want to savor and mull over as we quickly approach the dawn of a new year. Perfect for everyone in the family, from the casual nature observer to your resident science nerd, this is a book that will invite conversation and critical thinking. In fact, it could very well make you a better educated, more engaged member of our planet and spur you on to make better choices for our future.

Add to Goodreads badge
National Geographic logo


One of the world’s leading nonfiction publishers, National Geographic has published more than 1,700 titles, featuring such categories as history, travel, nature, photography, space, science, health, biography, and memoir.

A portion of its proceeds is used to fund exploration, conservation, and education through ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society.

To find out more about Nat Geo, visit, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

By National Geographic
400 pp. National Geographic. $19.99

TLC Book Tours Tour Host

Purchase Almanac 2021 direct from Jathan & Heather’s Beach Reads Book Shop or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, IndieBound, Penguin Random House, or Powell’s.

Almanac 2021 is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

2 Responses to National Geographic’s ‘Almanac 2021’ Invites Conversation and Critical Thinking [REVIEW]

  1. Sara Strand says:

    I love almanacs in general, and I am absolutely loving this one. It’s been great to read while I wait for kids at school! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  2. Pingback: National Geographic Almanac 2021 on tour September/October 2020 | TLC Book Tours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: