National Geographic Family Reference Atlas of The World | Book Review

As a preteen and later as a teenager, I had an avid interest in geography and how political boundaries were defined and why. Encouraged by my teacher parents to follow my curiosity where it led, I spent many hours poring over the atlas we had in our home. I learned about countries and cultures and climate zones from seeing the colors and contours from cartographic maps and it awakened a desire to learn even more about the world outside of where I lived. The world has changed much in the decades since my teen years. Many political boundaries have been redrawn to remove barriers between rival countries and  new ones have been erected in other places. Major unions have broken apart, colonized territories have gained independence and the maps, in reflecting these changes, appear different from what I remember and a refresher course seems overdue.

The National Geographic Family Reference Atlas of The World is a 400-page collection of maps, photographs, diagrams and tabulated facts to show the world from many different perspectives. There are global map projections to cue the reader on scale, positioning and center relativism of Earth as we imagine it. There are sections to explore each continent and ocean and the uniqueness of each land mass and body of water. Countries are represented within their continental quarters with historical facts and tables of demographic data for each major political region. Some of that is familiar to me. But this masterpiece of an Atlas also includes color photographs to highlight sections from selected maps, showing landscape and ocean life and even man-made projections that impact how we interact with the natural world. 

There are maps from the polar perspective to orient the earth in a less familiar, but what now seems natural, way. And new to me, are maps showing technological advancements that were not even thought about when I was a child – maps showing the underwater cables that facilitate worldwide communication. 

I have been thumbing through the pages of this gorgeous piece of art since it arrived on my doorstep and I decided to try to orient myself in the representation of our changed world. I envision my daughter joining me to pore over the contents of the Family Atlas as she gets older. I hope to nurture the sense of wonder and desire to learn about the changing world.

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About Family Reference Atlas of the World, 5th Ed.

• Hardcover : 400 pages
• Publisher : National Geographic; 5th Edition (October 6, 2020)

Show your kids the world with fascinating facts and more than 650 photographs, maps, and graphics covering every country–plus the poles, the oceans, and outer space–in this completely revised edition of National Geographic’s beloved family-oriented atlas.

This exquisitely updated edition of National Geographic’s popular and reader-friendly Family Reference Atlas features authoritative maps, detailed artwork, and explanatory graphics–an indispensable source of information for inquiring minds, young and old. In these richly illustrated pages, every country in the world is represented by a detailed map within its geographical context and also its flag, key statistics, and secondary maps with environmental and population information. Special sections feature maps and facts about the ocean, the solar system, and the universe beyond. Newsworthy topics from climate change and human migration to languages and digital connectivity are explained in maps, graphics, and photos. Fully indexed, and written to engage all ages, this indispensable atlas belongs in every family library.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of The National Geographic Family Reference Atlas of The World from National Geographic Publishers and TLC Book Tours. I was not otherwise compensated and the above review represents my honest opinion and genuine enthusiasm for this book.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. I have that same atlas! 😀


  2. Sara Strand says:

    Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours


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