Thursday, November 21, 2013

Books That Make Math Fun for Kids

This week for Picture Book Friday I am giving you not one, but two books!  Try to contain your enthusiasm, you're emberassing me.  Of course the theme is math .... so I had to be additive and double your pleasure.  Ok enough puns for one post.

But seriously, picture books provide a wonderful vehicle for introducing more complex topics in a matter of fact way.  The first book I profiling is from a series that takes math concepts and makes them understandable for kids ... no really.  The second is about Paul Erdos, a well known mathematician from Budapest, although well known is perhaps a relative term.  This biography will actually get kids interested in the life of a mathematician ... no really.

Don't forget to Like One Great Book on Facebook or Twitter for all the math books you can count on to make learning fun for your kids.  See I did the pun thing again.  There is no stopping me today.

Title:       Sir Cumference and the Off-the-Charts Deserts

Author:   Cindy Neuschwander

Target:    All ages

Series:     Yes

What this book is about:
This series follows Sir Cumference on his journey to unwittingly understand math.  In this story he needs a baker to prepare a special desert for the fair.  Two bakers enter into a competition to see who makes the best delicacies, Pia of Chartres and Bart Graph.  Of course in order to tally their votes for various treats, Pia prepares a pie chart and Bart a bar graph.  But the real question is, of course, if  the townspeople want custard pie or ginger cookies!

Why I love this book:
The whole series is just delightful.  Sir Cumference explores circles, triangles, number grouping, perimeter and area, to name a few.  I see so many books trying to disguise math in a story, but kids are on to them.  This series embraces the math in a clever and unapologetic way, and it works!

I also rarely see books that are able to take these concepts and distill them down in an easy to understand format.  Cindy Neuschwander does just that.  To top it off, the story and the illustrations are actually fun so these books don’t feel like someone is trying to teach you something, but instead as if you are discovering the concept on your own.

Who this book is for:
I think most kids, whether math lovers or not, will enjoy this series of books. 

Final thoughts:
Can’t wait to see what math concept she tackles next!

Purchase this book:
To purchase this book on Amazon, click on the following link: Sir Cumference and the Off-the-charts Dessert (Charlesbridge Math Adventures)  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

Title:       The Boy Who Loved Math

Author:   Deborah Heiligman

Target:    Kindergarten - Grade 3

What this book is about:
This book is a biography of Paul Erdos, a mathematician from Budapest.  It starts when Paul is a young child, fascinated with numbers.  When he was four, Paul would ask visitors their birthday and then calculate how many seconds they had been alive.  His life is about how numbers and his desire to share their significance fill his days.  Meanwhile he doesn’t know how to do laundry, cut his meat or butter a slice of toast!  But his joy of sharing what he knows is what gave his life meaning.

Why I love this book:
There are several things that make this a successful biography for kids.  First the illustrations by LeUyen Pham are absolutely playful and they create the sense that numbers are fun and engaging.  Also the focus on Paul as a young man and on some of his personal quirks, make the story funny.  Kids like funny and as a result they will become more interested in the man himself.  Lastly, it is not about the math.  This book is about the enjoyment of a passion and sharing that passion and it shines through in the story.  The math lessons are simply a bonus!

Who this book is for:
Fun way to get kids interested in biographies.  This book is great for common core.  It is also a nice way to make the idea of math fun.

Final thoughts:
Next I would like to see The Girl Who Loved Math.  Yes, your instincts are correct, it is my daughter I have to get excited about this subject!

Purchase this book:
To purchase this book on Amazon, click on the following link: The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

1 comment:

  1. A friend of mine recently wrote a book that also has math at the center of the plot. It's a pretty cool middle grade novel called "The Stone Lions" by Gwen Dandridge.