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2011 International Photography Contest for Kids — Grab a camera and start taking pictures of your world! Photos can be submitted in multiple categories: animals, scenery, people and humor. The contest begins Aug. 1. The U.S./Canada grand-prize winner will receive an eight-night trip to Costa Rica for a family of four; activities and excursions included. The overall international winner will win a trip to Washington, D.C. You’ll find more information on Page 11 and at kids.nationalgeographic.com/activities/contests/kids-photo-contest/.
Amazing Animals — In Spruce Grove, Canada, a fully grown bison rides in the passenger seat of a convertible; a cat with bionic feet walks tall in Surrey, England; and a dog nurses a newborn orphaned piglet as if it were her own puppy in Hörstel, Germany. Page 14. Take a cool animal quiz by following the instructions on Page 15 or by checking out kids.nationalgeographic.com/almanac-2012.
Meerkat City — Living in a desert can be difficult, but in a meerkat community everyone pitches in to ensure the survival of the group. Guards are always on the lookout for rival meerkats looking to move in on their turf; diggers find tasty critters just beneath the surface and create bolt holes for a quick getaway; babysitters take care of the youngsters until they’re old enough to contribute; and students gradually learn how to find their own prey. Try cracking a secret code of meerkat calls online by visiting kids.nationalgeographic.com/videos. Page 16.
Space Robots — Thought space robots were a thing of the future? Think again. Earlier this year, NASA sent a humanoid robot into space for the first time. Its name is R2 — named after R2-D2 from the “Star Wars” movies — and it is being tested at the International Space Station. The goal is that robots will eventually work side by side with astronauts. Luckily, R2 doesn’t require oxygen in space and doesn’t care when NASA decides to send it home. Page 18. Watch space robots in action at kids.nationalgeographic.com/videos.
Sea Otters: Supercute, Supertough (cover story) — You may think they’re cute and cuddly, but sea otters are formidable predators. In order to stay warm in their frigid ocean habitat, they have to eat huge amounts of food — up to 20 pounds, or 30 percent of their body weight — each day. Their prey includes octopuses, crabs, sea urchins, fish — and shellfish that they crack open with their teeth. Their thick coats also keep them warm — they have as many as a million hairs on one square inch of skin. Page 20.
Behind the Scenes of “Harry Potter” — National Geographic Kids goes behind the scenes of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” to find out how the magical world is brought to life on the movie screen. How do they make giants 20 feet tall? How was the dragon ride filmed? Where did they find all of that furniture to cram into the Hogwarts’ Room of Requirement? These answers and much more can be found on Page 24.
ALSO: Check out NG Kids’ Let’s Jump!, a movement to stay healthy and have fun! Page 9.
National Geographic Kids, a multitopic, photo-driven magazine for 6- to 14-year-olds, empowers its readers by making it fun to learn about the world. Its numerous industry awards include Periodical of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from the Association of Educational Publishers. Published 10 times a year, National Geographic Kids has a circulation of 1.1 million and is available by subscription for $19.95 a year and on newsstands for $4.99 a copy. Its website is at kids.nationalgeographic.com.