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The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2018 Review by Sheila Quach

World Almanac Books
132 West 31st Street
New York, NY 10001
1 (800) 322-8755

We are a big fact-checking family. If we have a question we waste no time getting online or flipping through some tried and true reference books we’ve collected over the years.  Recently I decided to add the 150th Anniversary Edition of The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2018 to our collection.  I mean that sounds right up our alley.  And for the most part it has been, but there were a few things that caught my attention and not in a good way.

First, I want to clarify that as a concerned Mom I always do a thorough flip through of any resource book or magazine that ever comes into our home.  I read reviews of all the books my children read, and I proof read all educational materials that they use as well.  The same is true for online sites, programs, movies and apps.  So, once we received our huge soft cover book I was met with sad eyes because Kaden was so eager to read it.  We are talking 1,000 pages here, it was like Christmas morning for him.  But, he knows the drill, so it sat on my desk for a few days and then I began proof reading it.  I liked that the contents page was clear and easy to read.  They list the special features and year in review for 2017.  Some of the special features are The World at a Glance, 150 Years of The World Almanac, a Time Capsule, Chronology of the Tear’s Events and Notable Quotes.

Knowing that this was a book of lists and facts, I expected there to be topics like Business, Science, Sports, World History, U.S. Facts/History and Maps/Flags to be included.  However, it also included topics on Crime and Health.  The Crime section had everything from stats on robberies, hate crimes, arrests for prostitution, kidnappings since 1924, and notable accounts of terrorist attacks and assassinations world-wide. The Health section was another surprise with topics like illegal drug use, but also included vital statistics on abortions, transgender, sexual behavior and orientation, suicide rates, contraceptive use, student sexual activity, as well as details of numerous kinds of death.  I did not expect these sorts of topics, and I can honestly say that I wouldn't want my child independently picking this up and perusing all of it.

So, what did I do with this book?  For my family and I, we decided to take out the few sections that we had a problem with and held a conversation regarding the remainder portions of the book.  Do I think this is a fantastic resource for a homeschooling family?  I think that parts of it is and other parts are just a bunch of numbers and percentages.  My 12th grader used the weights and measurements portion while working on a project.  She also read the Constitutional Amendments and used the U.S. History section to finish her work on a timeline.  She even found it informative to compare the statistics of several Colleges and Universities that she either has applied to or plans to.  Kaden enjoyed the Philosophers and Religious Figures of the past, the U. S. History, Languages and the Nations.  He was able to round out a Science report on Space with the Aerospace section.  The Celestial events highlights has proved most helpful since we are studying Lunar Astronomy this year.  For myself, I have picked it up numerous times and just read.  I have my own little sticky to keep my place, this is coming from a girl that read the whole Dictionary in the 11th grade so this is great for those short few minutes here and there.

Will I purchase a 2019 edition?  No, it has a wealth of information, but it also has a lot that we have no interest in knowing.  I’m referring to the loads of percentages and figures on top of the portions I needed to remove.  I would say if any of those above things mentioned would bother you and you would rather not remove them I would suggest this might not be the book for you.  It will still remain in our school room because of the many quality and helpful portions that we have used so far and will in the coming future.

-Product review by Sheila Quach, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2018