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Flora & Ulysses was published on Disney + last February, and all of my kids are talking about the book Horrible Things That Can Happen To You. It’s not a real book; It’s the book Flora refers to throughout the film (which, ironically, is based on the real book Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo). For any child who can even relate a little bit to Flora, the idea of reading a fun, fact-filled book like Terrible Things is so enticing. Unfortunately, the most terrifying thing that can happen to you is finding out that the book doesn’t exist.
Never be afraid !! Book Riot is here !! And like any good superhero squirrel, we have a list of books such as Horrible Things That Can Happen to You for your kids to read for them. They may not be exactly the same book, but they are definitely as fun and inspiring as terrible things that can happen to you. And maybe they’ll help your little Flora (or Ulysses) when they’re in trouble too.
The Questioneers Collection by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts
It started with Iggy Peck, architect. Then we met his classmates Rosie Revere, an engineer and Ada Twist Scientist. In 2019, Sofia Valdez, Future Prez, joined the crew and later this year we will have Aaron Slater, illustrator. This is a team of children brimming with curiosity and creativity. Fortunately, we can now buy them in a full set of books: The Questioneers Collection, written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts. These books are a huge hit for the kids, showing them characters who are unique in their quirks and stronger in their uniqueness. When terrible things happen, we want children to use creative thinking to find the solution. After reading these books, the kids will be ready to take on the world!
Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Child: 47 Countries, 100 Extraordinary Places Dylan Rhuras, Rosemary Mosco and Joy Ang should visit
Terrible things can happen anywhere in the world, but it’s exciting to learn about them. When you put them all together in a book like this one, it creates a cluttered, imaginative adventure sparked by strange but true facts. And we all know they are best Facts from all of them. Do you think terrible things can happen to you? How about a trip to Yucatan, Ground Zero for the ancient meteor crash that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? It’s an epic bad day. Or check out the cave in Vietnam, which is so big you can fly a plane through it! My favorite is the Austrian National Library with secret passages behind the bookshelves. Prepare for the reference book to begin your next great adventure!
Under the Stars: Bedtime Astrophysics by Lisa Harvey-Smith and Mel Matthews
When the kids start asking questions about space, I find it a little difficult to keep it on track right before bed. The idea of black holes and the big bang always seems to lead to lengthy explanations, and I can never tie the ends off so their minds can calm down before bed. Professor Harvey-Smith made this a lot easier for both adults and children! There are plenty of cute short chapters that explain a range of topics, including the connection between shooting stars and astronaut droppings. This is a hit with all curious minds young and old.
Brain-Fizzing Facts from Dr. Emily Grossman and Alice Bowsher
The Most Amazing Facts May Not Help You In Everyday Scenarios, But They Can Definitely Be Helpful When Terrible Things Happen! For example, how can you escape the grip of a crocodile jaw? Can an egg jump? And why does hippo sweat work like sunscreen? The best part is how easy Dr. Grossman communicates with children. Brain-Fizzing Facts knows its audience and delivers in an easy-to-read, goofy style so that science is fun without appeasing it. You can tell this was created by a team that wants to encourage more kids to embrace their curiosity and explore the science!
This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Wake Up, Action, and Work Lessons from Tiffany Jewell and Aurélia Durand
Looking at Flora & Ulysses, the difference was easy to see with an adult listening to children. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen in real life. From school strikes for climate change to Black Lives Matter marches and students still protesting for gun reform to stop school shootings, kids are desperate to be heard when about half of the adults are listening. This book is anti racist is exactly what it says on the cover. More importantly, it’s a guide to empower young people who don’t know how to talk to the racist adults in their life. This book is designed to help children of color stand up to racists, but it can also be a great book to encourage anyone to speak out against any form of discrimination.
What If ?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
Now we’re talking to some of the older kids, or at least the kids, with a slightly more scientific nuance than most of the others. Munroe once worked as a robotics scientist at NASA and has an amazing scientific and creative mind, both of which make his comic strip XKCD absolutely amazing! What if? was inspired by the multitude of questions from fans asking him to help clarify various scientific questions. “My friend and I wondered what would happen if …” – so Munroe brought them all together. This is a deep dive into the laws of science, presented with clarity and insight that make reading a real pleasure.
Humble Pi: A Mathematical Mistake Comedy by Matt Parker
Okay, where are my math nerds? For any student who asked their math teacher, “When am I going to use this in the real world?” Another student was desperate to take notes, knowing the day would come when he would need this information. And we’re not talking about big math equations on string theory. We are talking about a misplaced decimal point and the collapse of the stock market. Or an extra nut that led to the collapse of the Kansas Hyatt Walkway in 1981. This is a collection of anecdotes and true stories from around the world demonstrating the importance of math in preventing terrible mistakes in everyday life. After reading this, you will be triple checking your tables.
Big ideas for young thinkers: 20 questions about the life and universe by Jamia Wilson and Andrea Pippins
Not every question can be answered with geographical facts or scientific analysis. Sometimes our questions are bigger. Sometimes the “terrible things that can happen to you” are things in our own community. Children can ask the best things, and often at the best times. That doesn’t make their questions any less relevant or the answers easier. Wilson answered the top 20 questions and overlaid the conversation with practical examples from a number of thinkers and luminaries. Wilson has found a way to connect children with their growing curiosity about philosophy and the world around them in five core areas (Identity, Life, Truth, Culture, and Creativity). There are no promises of answers here, but if you really want to prepare children for terrible things, this is the book to help them ponder solutions.
Words are power and facts are comfort. Flora & Ulysses is a fun story in its own right, but Flora’s character is really rounded off by her passion for terrible things that can happen to you. Make the most of the list we already have until DiCamillo writes this book into our reality.
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