Math Picture Books

January 2021... Blog-iversary updates
Wow, I try to follow up on plans and promises, but this one is WAY overdue:

From 2018...
I've planned to get  a math page set up for some time, and will do more with it in the future. For the moment I'll nudge myself in the right direction by strongly endorsing each and every one of these math titles recommended in a recent post at HUMOR ME: A MIX OF LIFE, LAUGHTER, AND LITERATURE. Check out her wise (and funny) post, and these great titles, too.

I promise (but not pinky swear) to return to this page in the near future and create active links,  add many more titles, and annotate several in particular.

As I near the ninth anniversary of this blog site and its various resources, I can see that I had my doubts about following through on keeping this and other pages up to date.
I pledge now (with a pinky swear!) to maintain updates on this and other topic pages at leasts twice a year. For now, I'm keeping my promise to include cover images and brief notes, but the comment on the above iist is pretty generic. Years of teaching at many age and grade levels brought these classic to mind, and the work of the authors is always reliable.
When looking for picture books that appeal and support actual academic development and deeper understanding, you can't go wrong with books by DAVID M. SCHWARTZ, GREG TANG, MARILYN BURNS, to name a few. 

What follows will be features and links for newer and more literary math books.
Laurie Wallmark has been making her name in picture books by researching and writing biographic profiles of extraordinary WOMEN IN STEM. Click titles for more extensive reviews of each title.

NUMBERS IN MOTION: Sophie Kowalevski, Queen of Mathematics is written by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg.  I wish that Sophie's story had been available to me as a child who loved and excelled at math, but found no joy in it reflected in lives or models for me to follow. 

With text and information that is targeted at older/established readers, I'm urging families and teachers of earlier ages to read this aloud and share it, laying down a foundation of ways that math (even investigational and experimental math) can offer a fascinating future for everyone of any gender.

GRACE HOPPER: Queen of Computer Code (Wallmark, Katy Wu. 2017. Sterling Children's Books) 

I was eager to read more about Hopper, and this deeply researched account is filled with "grace" and humor. I vividly recall watching an evening news tribute to Grace Hopper on the occasion of her SECOND retirement from the US Navy at the age of eighty. That news profile recounted her seminal role in computer coding, in war service, and in top secret programming to save lives and defend our nation. During that short news segment this tiny, wiry woman looked as if she could still take on anything that a war or computer or even a "bug" could send her way.
After reading this biography I feel as if I had an opportunity to meet her, and I'm eager to introduce her to kids everywhere, especially to girls.

HEDY LAMARR'S DOUBLE LIFE,: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant INVENTOR by Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu, deserves a close look. it is certainly going to intrigue kids, and should stun older adults who knew nothing about this secret life of hers.

To her adoring public, Hedy Lamarr was a glamorous movie star, widely considered the most beautiful woman in the world. But in private, she was something more: a brilliant inventor. And for many years only her closest friends knew her secret. The story of how, during World War Two, Lamarr developed a groundbreaking communications system that still remains essential to the security of today’s technology.

ADA BYRON LOVELACE and the THINKING MACHINE (Wallmark, April Chu. 2015. Creston Books)

There is so much to enjoy in this biography that spans, literally, cradle to grave and centuries beyond. Modern young readers will be inspired by her brilliant accomplishments despite the limits of technology. Even more so, Ada overcame struggles that will resonate with many (an absent father, several years of disability due to measles) even though hers was a privileged and elegant life.
Back matter incorporates several quotations from Ada's works, a timeline, and resources.

Here are some other titles about coding for readers of many ages:

DOLL-E 1.0 was created by Shanda McCloskey.

The epitome of STEAM- that ubiquitous STEM focus (science, technology, engineering, and math) with the essential added ingredient, the ARTS! It combines a tech-y obsessions with an eager, a STEM-y pooch, and parents who wonder if their daughter is TOO tech-y. The problem: What do you do with a doll? 
This book is loaded with visual humor, creativity, and presents a satisfying conclusion.

HOW TO CODE A ROLLER COASTER is written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Sarah Palacios.  
Having fun with math is one of the best ways to get kids excited about learning and working with this most important subject. Celebrate today with math stories that involve patterns, spatial relations, quantities, logic, puzzles, and numbers. You can even sing math songs and tell math jokes! You’ll find lots of resources for Math Storytelling Day and every day on the Natural Math website.

INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED: How a Team of Women CODED the FUTURE is written by Tami Lewis Brown and Debbie Loren Dunn, with illustrations by Chelsea Beck.

Today computers are all around us, performing every conceivable task, thanks, in large part, to Betty, Jean, and Kay's pioneering work. Instructions Not Included is their story.

This fascinating chapter in history is brought to life with vivid prose by Tami Lewis Brown and Debbie Loren Dunn and with striking illustrations by Chelsea Beck. Detailed back matter including historical photos provides a closer look.

DREAMING IN CODE: ADA BYRON LOVELACE, Computer Pioneer, is written by Emily Arnold McCully
This depiction is  careful to avoid revisionist history, dealing with medical practices, Ada's own habits and personality, and the extent of her genius fully, making her life even more vividly real. I won't be surprised if some version of Ada's life becomes a miniseries on PBS, using McCully's extensive research and complex storytelling as its root.
I found Ada to be an intriguingly complex historic figure that deserves her rising star in modern culture, and the writing offered direct revelations with intense prose that suite Ada' s life.
Unless a middle grade audience is a highly proficient reader, much of the rich vocabulary, intricacy of the lives and ideas, and the historic anchoring of mid-19th century social life will go over their heads. It read as an older YA or even adult book to me, and an excellent one.

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