Archive for the ‘Mathematical’ Category

Review of Seven Golden Rings, by Rajani LaRocca, illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan

Thursday, February 18th, 2021

Seven Golden Rings

A Tale of Music and Math

by Rajani LaRocca
illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan

Lee & Low Books, 2020. 40 pages.
Review written February 6, 2021, from a library book
Starred Review
2021 Mathical Book Prize Winner, ages 8-10

I recently did a class about books for all ages that include fun math ideas, and discovered this book a day too late to include it, but this is a fun story that tells about the binary number system in a clever way.

In ancient India, Bhagat is going to the capital to audition for the royal troupe, but all he has for the journey is one rupee and a chain of seven golden rings, the last of his mother’s wedding necklace.

He finds a place to stay in the capital city, and they will charge him one gold ring for a night’s stay. Bhagat doesn’t know how many days it will take him to be called to audition for the king. He doesn’t want to pay all seven rings if he gets called sooner.

Then he finds a goldsmith who will break a ring for him to separate it from the chain – but he will charge one rupee to break one link, and Bhagat only has one rupee.

The clever solution is that he has the goldsmith break the third link in the chain. Then that ring is separate, and he’s left with two chains, one with two links and the other with four. He is able to get the exact amount owed each day from one to seven days.

There’s an unexpected end to the story, and then an Author’s note explaining the binary number system and how it relates to the story.

I love this simple and visual approach to teaching binary! The story that goes with it will make it all the more memorable, and I love that the author set up a situation where this idea really did solve a problem.

rajanilarocca.com
archanasreenivasan.com
leeandlow.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/7_golden_rings.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Can You Crack the Code? by Ella Schwartz, illustrated by Lily Williams

Monday, February 15th, 2021

Can You Crack the Code?

A Fascinating History of Ciphers and Cryptography

by Ella Schwartz
illustrated by Lily Williams

Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2019. 118 pages.
Review written December 14, 2020, from a library book
Starred Review
2020 Sonderbooks Stand-out:
#6 General Children’s Nonfiction
2021 Mathical Honor Book, Grades 6-8

I’ve always thought codes and ciphers are fascinating, from the time I was a kid right up to the present when I made some videos showing how to make interesting ciphers using mathematical concepts.

When I made the videos last Spring when the library was closed for the pandemic, I didn’t find too many current books on making codes, but that situation has been remedied. This book is a nice solid selection to fill in that gap. Written for elementary to middle school kids, it gives a history of encoded messages along with explanations of ciphers and codes the reader can use.

Each chapter has a message to decrypt, and the book ends with a message for the reader to solve and email the author if they figure it out. A few clues are given, and it’s a nicely appropriate historical code used.

The book starts with steganography – hiding a message in some way – and the Caesar cipher and continues with things like Benedict Arnold’s book cipher and Thomas Jefferson’s wheel cipher up through a puzzle encoded in a statue in front of CIA headquarters and the use of prime numbers in computer security.

Even when they get deep into the history of clandestine messages, they do give the readers chances to crack the codes.

There’s plenty here to get kids intrigued, and one thing I love about code-making is there are lots of jumping-off points from this book.

ellasbooks.com
lilywilliamsart.com
Bloomsbury.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/can_you_crack_the_code.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Mathematical Colors and Codes, Episode Six — Binary Codes and Booktalks

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020

Episode Six of Mathematical Colors and Codes, my Virtual Program Series for the library is up!

Episode Six now looks at the Base Two number system, binary, and puts that into a code. To finish up the series, I talk about more books that play with mathematical ideas.

Like all the other videos in the series, this one has a downloadable coloring page. This one has a chart for a Binary Code.

Here’s this week’s video:

Here are links to the entire Mathematical Colors and Codes series:

Episode One, Prime Factorization
Episode Two, Prime Factorization Codes
Episode Three, Nondecimal Bases
Episode Four, Color Codes with Nondecimal Bases
Episode Five, More Codes with Nondecimal Bases
Episode Six, Binary Codes and Booktalks

Mathematical Colors and Codes, Episode Five — More Codes with Nondecimal Bases

Monday, July 20th, 2020

Episode Five of Mathematical Colors and Codes, my Virtual Program Series for the library is up!

Episode Five looks at more ways you can use nondecimal bases to make coded messages.

This video, like all the others has a downloadable coloring page. This one has charts for a Base Six Code and a Base Five Code.

Here’s this week’s video:

Here are links to the entire Mathematical Colors and Codes series:

Episode One, Prime Factorization
Episode Two, Prime Factorization Codes
Episode Three, Nondecimal Bases
Episode Four, Color Codes with Nondecimal Bases
Episode Five, More Codes with Nondecimal Bases
Episode Six, Binary Codes and Booktalks

Mathematical Colors and Codes, Episode Four — Color Codes with Nondecimal Bases

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

Episode Four of Mathematical Colors and Codes, my Virtual Program Series for the library is up!

Episode Four now takes the Nondecimal Base systems we talked about in Episode Three and uses them to make

This video, like all the others has a downloadable coloring page. This one has a chart for choosing your own colors and making your own coded messages with nondecimal bases.

Here’s this week’s video:

Here are links to the entire Mathematical Colors and Codes series:

Episode One, Prime Factorization
Episode Two, Prime Factorization Codes
Episode Three, Nondecimal Bases
Episode Four, Color Codes with Nondecimal Bases
Episode Five, More Codes with Nondecimal Bases
Episode Six, Binary Codes and Booktalks

Mathematical Colors and Codes, Episode Three – Nondecimal Bases

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Episode Three of Mathematical Colors and Codes, my Virtual Program Series for the library is up!

Episode Three is the longest episode. (They do get shorter!) I talk about various bases and look at them together with prime factorization color charts. I’m hoping it gives kids a feel for how other bases work.

This video, like all the others has a downloadable coloring page. [Right now this is the incorrect link. I’ll fix it with the correct one tonight.] This one will let you see for yourself how prime factorization patterns change in other bases, as well as giving you a feel for how counting works in other bases.

Here’s this week’s video:

Here are links to the entire Mathematical Colors and Codes series:

Episode One, Prime Factorization
Episode Two, Prime Factorization Codes
Episode Three, Nondecimal Bases
Episode Four, Color Codes with Nondecimal Bases
Episode Five, More Codes with Nondecimal Bases
Episode Six, Binary Codes and Booktalks

Mathematical Colors and Codes, Episode Two: Prime Factorization Codes

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

Episode Two of my Mathematical Virtual Program Series is up!

In Episode Two, I talk more about prime factorization and ways to show it with colors. Then I show how you can use that idea to make a prime factorization code.

This video has a downloadable coloring page to help you make your own prime factorization code.

Here’s this week’s video:

Here are links to the entire Mathematical Colors and Codes series:

Episode One, Prime Factorization
Episode Two, Prime Factorization Codes
Episode Three, Nondecimal Bases
Episode Four, Color Codes with Nondecimal Bases
Episode Five, More Codes with Nondecimal Bases
Episode Six, Binary Codes and Booktalks

Mathematical Colors and Codes

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

My Mathematical Virtual Program Series is up!

This program is a series of six videos with downloadable coloring pages. New videos will post on Mondays at 3 pm.

They will show kids how to use math to make colorful patterns and coded messages, learning about prime factorization and nondecimal bases along the way.

They’ll post on Fairfax County Public Library’s website, but I’ll post them here as well.

These will be best for kids who already understand multiplication.

And this week, Episode One is up! It covers Prime Factorization, with an explanation of my Prime Factorization Sweater. And it explains how you can color your own chart, using this downloadable coloring page.

I hope you enjoy it!

Here are links to the entire Mathematical Colors and Codes series:

Episode One, Prime Factorization
Episode Two, Prime Factorization Code
Episode Three, Nondecimal Bases
Episode Four, Color Codes with Nondecimal Bases
Episode Five, More Codes with Nondecimal Bases
Episode Six, Binary Codes and Booktalks

Review of One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller, by Kate Read

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

One Fox

A Counting Book Thriller

by Kate Read

Peachtree, 2019. 32 pages.
Starred Review
Review written December 9, 2019, from a library book
2019 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #4 in Picture Books

I always enjoy counting books. Nothing helps a kid learn numbers better. But it’s nice when the book adds a little something to make it more interesting than just the numbers. This “Counting Book Thriller” actually tells an exciting story.

It’s all simple – and will give little ones so much to talk about to tell the adult reader about all the subtext. You can even think of this as a wordless picture book – with numbers, though there are a few words. But the story is in the pictures.

The first numbers are:

One famished fox

Two sly eyes

Three plump hens

Four padding paws

Five snug eggs

Oh, but the pictures! There’s nothing routine about them.

I’m going to save this book for a preschool storytime. You want the kids to be interested in the counting and also be able to infer what the famished fox wants with those plump hens.

There is a surprise ending, and a note at the book reassures us: “No hens or foxes were harmed in the making of this book.”

kateread.co.uk
peachtree-online.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/one_fox.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of How Many? by Christopher Danielson

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

How Many?

A Different Kind of Counting Book

by Christopher Danielson

2019, Charlesbridge. First published in 2018 by Stenhouse Publishers. 39 pages.
Starred Review
2019 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #2 in Children’s Nonfiction Picture Books

I already loved Christopher Danielson’s earlier book, Which One Doesn’t Belong? It came to my attention when it won a Mathical Book Prize. Now Charlesbridge has taken on his books to hopefully reach a wider audience.

Here’s how the book explains that it is different from other counting books:

This book doesn’t tell you what to count.

It doesn’t start with small numbers and end with big ones.

Instead you decide what to count on each page. You have many choices.

The longer you look, the more possibilities you notice.

And that’s what you get. The illustrations are photographs. The pictures show things like an apple being cored and two shoes in a shoebox. The text asks, “How many do you see?”

After that first picture, the narrator says:

If you thought, “how many what do I see?” then you get the idea.

It does give examples of things you can count: shoes, pairs of shoes, shoelaces, holes for the laces, yellow stitches. And it asks, “What other things can you count?”

The pictures get interesting in different ways. There’s a picture of an egg carton with one egg in it. There’s a picture of eggs frying, one of which has a double yolk. The eggshells are by the stove, and the eggs that were not used are still in the carton next to the stove.

In other pictures, some fruit gets cut in half. We’ve got pictures of pizza, and then pizza in slices. Pictures toward the end show kitchen scenes with many of the things we already looked at – including shoes on the floor.

Questions at the back give you ways to extend the ideas. I do love that there are no answers anywhere in this book.

This is a wonderful book for curious children! It builds sophisticated mathematical ideas into preschool and early elementary school children. Anyone who has learned to count will have something to think about with this book.

As the author says at the end, “When you count carefully and clearly state what you’re counting, you’re doing some great math!”

talkingmathwithkids.com
charlesbridge.com
Stenhouse.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/how_many.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on my own copy, purchased via Amazon.com.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?