Big welcome to Angela Modany, the editor of the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2019! To celebrate the brand-new guide, Modany answers a few Mixed-Up Files questions for us, and shares some wacky factoids from this year’s Almanac.
Mixed-Up Files: What goes into creating the National Geographic Kids Almanac? How many people and how much time does it take to get this project done?
Angela Modany: We start working on the Almanac about a year and a half before you can buy it in stores. (We’ve already been working on the 2020 edition for several months now!) It takes a big team to make sure the book is ready on time. We have a main writer, contributors, fact checkers, editors, photo editors, and designers, all of whom do a lot of work to make sure the Almanac has the greatest stories, information, and photos that will appeal to kids. And we stay busy updating news, trends, and facts up until press time.
MUF: What’s the most fun part about working on the Almanac?
AM: The best part about working on the Almanac is reading all the stories and facts. I learn something new every year and it reminds me that there’s so much in our world to explore. I also love seeing what photos are chosen for the Cutest Animals section!
9 of Angela’s favorite, wackiest fun facts from this year’s Almanac:
There is a hotel run by robots in Japan. An automated velociraptor greets you at the front desk!
A lion can eat 40 pounds of meat—the same as 160 hamburgers—in one sitting.
There is a laser that can produce gas that is hotter than the sun.
Barbershops in India will close on Tuesday because a Hindu superstition considers Tuesday haircuts bad luck.
The Hubble Telescope has traveled more than three billion miles.
The Dorcas gazelle lives in the Sahara and doesn’t drink any water. It also doesn’t ever pee.
“Berserkers” were Viking warriors who wore bear and wolf skins and bowled in battle like wild animals.
South Koreans say “kimchi”—a pickled cabbage dish—instead of “cheese” to smile for photos.
The Statue of Liberty has a 35-foot waistline and wears a size 879 shoe.