Books as Gift Guide

Books make the best gifts. I may be a little biased, but I love giving books as gifts. I think they offer a personal connection. You are either saying, I loved this book and I think you will too. Or, I know you love cats, science, history, etc so I thought this would be a great book for you. It means you have listened to them when they have shared something with you and that you took the time to notice. To see all the posts in this series, click HERE



Absolute Expert Series

Today I’m featuring a series of book perfect for kids who want to learn more about their favorite subjects. This series is targeted for middle-grade readers and up. Each title provides cool photography, real-life expert information, and focuses on topics that middle graders are interested in.

Personal stories, first-hand experience, and up-close photography give readers the experience and information kids want to learn about. Included in each book are fun facts and insider knowledge to keep even the most reluctant readers engaged. They’ll be enjoying the reading so much they won’t realize they are learning.  The fifth book in the series, ABSOLUTE EXPERT: ROCKS AND MINERALS   will be published on May 28, 2019.


Absolute Expert Dinosaurs


By: Lela Nargi with National Geographic Explorer Steve Brusatte

Published: August 21, 2018

Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books



Most of my dinosaur knowledge has come from the amazing dinosaur books (most from National Geographic) that I have had the privilege to read and review. This book focuses its research in a more compact format perfect for middle-grade readers to get excited about dinosaurs and the research happening right now to help us understand how dinosaurs ruled the land many years ago.

If your child loves dinosaurs but now they are too old to “play” with them. This book is another opportunity to keep their interest and excitement about dinosaurs. If they have ever thought about being an explorer, researcher, or archaeologist, this is the book to get first-hand stories about what it is like to find fossils and other artifacts relating to the dinosaur eras. I think it is amazing that just by finding a bone fragment or fossil, researchers can piece together the type of dinosaur that lived in the area, what it ate, and what it looked like.

I also appreciated the pronunciation guide at the back for all the long and difficult names of the various dinosaurs. There is a map of the world showing the various types of dinosaur fossils that have been found including Antarctica, Montana, and Niger, Africa.  Finding fossilized baby dinosaurs even helped explorers and scientists figure out how long the incubation period was. Just amazing!


See other books I’ve reviewed about Dinosaurs by clicking, HERE  and this book on how to be a Paleontologist, HERE.



Absolute Expert Dolphins


By: Jennifer Swanson with National Geographic Explorer Justine Jackson-Ricketts

Published: May 29, 2018

Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books



I am fascinated with dolphins and one of my favorite memories is our dolphin cruise on the Gulf Coast of Pensacola Beach, Florida. I loved watching the dolphins swim and play alongside our boat. We even saw some jumping around from our condo as we were preparing to leave on our last day. I was convinced they came to tell us goodbye!

There are various species of dolphins and first, the book introduces all the types of dolphins to the reader. Then the book moves into learning all about the dolphins, their skin, eyes, nose, brain, what they eat, and their social and family obligations. Finally, the book shares the human impact on dolphins including pollution, tracking dolphins, and training them to help the military with experiments. It was interesting to learn that dolphins are the first sign that there is a problem with the ecosystem. Most people probably don’t realize that Orca whales are actually dolphins. But, it totally makes sense now that I have read about them. Orcas eat other dolphins and small whales so that even makes it odder that they are part of the same family.

Amazing ocean photography, fact bubbles, and cool rescue stories will keep kids interested in learning all there is to know about dolphins.

You can read about our family vacation with the dolphin cruise, HERE.



Absolute Expert Soccer


By: Eric Zweig with Professional Referee Mark Geiger

Published: May 29, 2018

Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books



I usually have difficulty understanding all the rules when watching a soccer match. I get that the ball needs to make it in the goal, but why certain players can’t be too far ahead of another player (offsides) or what actions constitute a penalty kick or goal kick or a throw-in have me completely confused.

With the World Cup being a more exciting event due to cable TV and the increase of soccer in communities and schools from as young as Kindergarten, soccer has become a much more popular sport. I was actually surprised to learn that in 2016, the two top-earning athletes were soccer players, earning more than LeBron James, Roger Federer, or Cam Newton. By combining their salary and endorsements, Cristiano Ronaldo earned $86 million and Lionel Messi earned $81.4 million.

The book explains how the game is played including the rules, the use of yellow and red cards, and terminology. It also teaches the history of soccer and how it made its way to the United States. Then it gives an inside looks into soccer around the world and in the United States.

Soccer fans of all ages will enjoy this book and for kids that maybe haven’t played or are thinking about playing, this gives them an idea of what the sport involves both at a youth level and a professional level.


Check out WEIRD BUT TRUE! SPORTS and EVERYTHING SPORTS from National Geographic.



Absolute Expert Volcanoes



By: Lela Nargi with National Geographic Explorer Arianna Soldati

Published: August 21, 2018

Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books



With recent volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and other locations, you are hearing more about them on the news. My mom was able to experience an eruption while visiting the Hawaiian islands and fly over a volcano in a helicopter. It is a sight she will never forget.

This book features all the science behind what makes volcanoes erupt and how scientists can estimate when a volcano is likely to erupt again. With first-hand stories and knowledge from National Geographic Explorer Arianna Soldati, kids can learn from her personal knowledge and experiences. Tracking lava flow and measuring cracks may not sound too exciting, but when she describes an earthquake that occurred while she was doing measurements, kids can realize the dangers, the unplanned hiccups, and excitement of completing real research in the field.

Excellent photography, personal stories, facts, quizzes, and experiments to try at home make this an excellent book for future scientists and explorers.

You might also like HISTORY’S MYSTERIES or this post on Three Career Books from National Geographic.


To purchase any of the books in this ABSOLUTE EXPERT series, click HERE.



I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama’s regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children’s and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.



Thanks to the publisher for providing copies of these books for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase these books through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. 

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