Surprising stories behind everyday stuff

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National Geographic Kids, 2019. ISBN: 9781426335297. 256pp., pbk.
They are the things we see and use every day and which are so familiar we take little notice of them - cameras, mobile phones, rulers, toilets and even common customs like shaking hands, table manners and saying gesundheit.
But each has a backstory about its invention or development and in this intriguing little book from NatGeo Kids, each is explained. With hand-shaking now discouraged, what are the origins of this practice anyway? With toilet paper now a nightly news item, what is the story behind its development and the invention of the toilet?
Using its customary bold, colourful design, with stunning photos, and jam-packed with awesome facts, there are 10 chapters each with related inventions to keep young minds entertained and educated for a long time. Perhaps, if students are no longer in the physical space known as school, it could serve as a role model for their own investigation of something common. Perhaps a future edition might have concepts such as social distancing and self-isolation - what do these mean, what do they look like and why were they imposed?
While the book answers many questions, it has the potential to pose so many more, each of which could be a research topic for kids needing something to do, and with self-choice essential it will engage them while putting into practice all those information literacy skills!
Barbara Braxton