The Boy Who Loved Math
by Debora Heiligman; illustrated by LeUyen Pham
44 pages; ages 5 & up
Roaring Brook Press, 2013
Paul Erdos loved numbers and grew up to be one of the greatest mathematicians in the world. And it all started with a big problem …his nanny. Nanny loved rules. Paul didn’t. So he counted the days until his mama returned. And he kept on counting. He added numbers, subtracted numbers, and discovered that you could go the other way beyond zero. Negative numbers – what a cool concept for a young child!
This book describes the life of a very eccentric mathematician who couldn’t tie his shoes but could find patterns for prime numbers. If you’re not too sure about prime numbers, don’t worry - there’s a great explanation in the story. There are wonderful illustrations of Paul and his college classmates “doing math” around Budapest; they see math in rooftops and steeples.
At the age of 20, Paul was traveling about, giving lectures on math. He couldn’t do his laundry or cook food for himself. Or drive a car or open a carton of orange juice. But boy, could he do math! And people invited him to stay in their homes while he taught classes around the world. Some folks even buttered his toast.
Thankfully (for us mathematically-challenged) both the author and illustrator include great notes for kids (and parents) who want to learn more about Paul. They also include explanations about where the puzzles and graphs come from. This is one picture book that will interest older readers!
Today's review is part of STEM Friday, where the "M" stands for Math. Find out what other people are reading and doing this week by checking out the STEM Friday Blog. Then on Monday head over to the Nonfiction Monday blog to see what books other bloggers are reviewing.