Children’s STEAM TV Show and Book Review

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A few months ago, Penguin Young Readers told me about the upcoming premier of Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum on PBS Kids. It’s a TV show based on the popular book series Ordinary People Change the World by Brad Meltzer.

Xavier Riddle and Secret Museum TV Show Review

My son and I watched the premier episode of Xavier Riddle and Secret Museum together and we loved it! We now have the series recording on our DVR. It is a fantastic children’s show, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it for kids age 5-9. It is entertaining and educational children’s programing.

The Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum TV show episodes are presented in much the same way as the Ordinary People Change the World books. There are 3 main characters: Xavier, his little sister Yadina, and their friend Brad. My son could really relate to the character Brad, and laughs out loud with him throughout each episode we watched.

When the 3 friends need answers to life’s questions and obstacles, they go into the secret museum to travel through time and meet inspirational people throughout history.

We are introduced to the inspirational heroes as children and follow them as they achieve their dreams and goals. So far my son’s favorite episode has been the one featuring Amelia Earhart. We loved watching her build a rollercoaster in her backyard as a kid and learning what it felt like to fly.

The website for the show has many fun games, videos and activities for kids. I tried the Hero Maker game, where you can turn yourself into one of the heroes on the show! You can see me as a cartoon hero below – Dream Big!

The goal of the books and TV series is to give our children role models and heroes who have helped change the world for the better, and show them that they were just ordinary children like you and me, who followed their dreams to achieve success.

On the Ordinary People Change the World website, the mission is stated as:

Our core belief is that ordinary people change the world. And we’re not alone. You believe, as we do, that kids today need better heroes to look up to.

Every day, our culture focuses more on fame rather than character. These books are our way of fighting back, to help kids build character, kindness and compassion, one real hero at a time.

Ordinary People Change the World Book Series Review

To be honest, we hadn’t read any of the books in the Ordinary People Change the World series prior to hearing about the show. Since my kids are just 5 and 3, these books hadn’t come into our radar yet. These books are targeted to kids age 5-9, and I agree with this – my son is just the right age to start getting into them, but there are just too many words and details for my daughter’s shorter attention span.

Since my son liked the show so much, I thought he would also like the books. I went to our local library to see what they had in stock, and I lucked out! They had four Ordinary People Change the World books that I was able to check out: I am Neil Armstrong, I am Jane Goodall, I am Marie Curie, and I am Walt Disney.

The Ordinary People Change the World book series is written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos. The books introduce us to each hero as a child. We learn about their daily life, challenges, and ambitions. Christopher’s illustrations really bring the main characters to life in a relatable way for young children.

What I like most about the books and show is my kids are able to picture these people who have achieved extraordinary success as one of them, and picture themselves doing the same.

On this page my son learned that Neil Armstrong was scared of Santa as a toddler, just like he was!

As I said earlier, my daughter, who is 3 years old, is a little young for these books. She liked them, and sat with us while I read most of them, but because they are longer than her usual preschool picture books, she doesn’t have the attention span to sit through the whole book.

Marie Curie was an extraordinary woman, and we all enjoyed learning about her life and her drive to be a scientist.

My 5 year old son, who is in kindergarten, loved these books. He asked me to read each book several times after we read it for the first time. Since then we have read all 4 books multiple times a day, every day, while we had them checked out. My son usually asked me to read all 4 books to him, then later went to my husband and ask him to read all 4 books.

My son adored this book. We all were fascinated by Jane Goodall’s story.

At first my son said he really liked all 4 of the books we checked out and couldn’t pick a favorite, but I’m pretty sure I read the I am Jane Goodall book the most to my son. He loves reading and learning about African animals, so I think that is what appealed to him the most about the I am Jane Goodall book. The story mentions that Jane Goodall was inspired by the book Dr. Doolittle as a child, so I think we’ll check that book out from the library next, and maybe see the new movie too. 😉

Jane loves animals, just like both of my kids! I love how they can see themselves in these heroes.

Meanwhile, my daughter loved the book, I am Walt Disney the best. I know it is because she recognized many famous characters from Disney movies she loves in the book. Both my kids were very impressed to find out that he not only was behind many of their favorite movies, but he also created Disneyland.

I have an exciting surprise for you! I will be giving a copy of I am Walt Disney book away on my Instagram page this week. Head over there now for your chance to enter to win this great book!

We learned that Walt Disney was a very hard worker from a young age, taking on a newspaper route at 9 years old!

I plan to look for this book series at the next book fair held at my son’s school. He loved reading, and re-reading, and re-reading the books so much that these would be worthwhile buying for our own home library. They are also available on Amazon, and you can purchase using my affiliate links throughout the post. 🙂

I hope you and your kids enjoy this book and television series as much as we do! Have you read any of the Ordinary People Change the World books or seen the Xavier Riddle and Secret Museum TV show? Which hero that has been featured is your favorite?


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