Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books Tell New Stories

   Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy -- hashtag #nfpb2020! Thanks to her hosting and sharing. Today, she's sharing books by Stephen Swinburne about sea turtles that includes a reading of his newest book and a song by him, too! 
       From others, too, who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 


Thanks to Candlewick Press for a copy of this book!

        When there is a child in one's life who asks what you know to be unusual questions, perhaps even ones you have no way of understanding, you know that she or he holds a dream you may not understand, even from a young age, but you will support him or her in finding answers. 
          That is the kind of picture book story that Amy Alznauer tells in this intriguing look at a young boy from India who even in his early years begins a search to answer his questions. From the text: "A mango . . . is just one thing. But if I chop it in two, then chop the half in two, and keep on chopping, I get more and more bits, on and on, endlessly, to an infinity I could never ever reach." 
        His name is Ramanujan, born in 1887 with a passion for numbers, soon writes numbers in certain ways in the sand, in his notebooks, with chalk on a temple floor. He asks questions like "What is small?" and "What is big?" His studies at school do not go well because he only desires to study numbers. Thankfully, his mother supports him in his quest. The story shows some of the number concepts he explores, like prime numbers. Amy Alznauer includes those and a few other concepts while she tells this fascinating story while Daniel Miyares' illustrations follow this 'dream-like' story with 'dream-like' illustrations. They add magic to an already magical story.
         At the story's end, we learn that Ramanujan's work changed mathematics and science forever. In the back matter, readers will find a bibliography and an author's note that shares even more of this remarkable life. There is a surprise in this note that tells of the author's father's amazing discovery of Ramanujan's Lost Notebook.
         I enjoyed the book, thought of previous students who loved math exploration and how much they would have enjoyed reading of this boy so long ago with a passion he would not stop investigating. 


  1. I love the way recent picture book biographies are complicating my view of the history of mathematics!

    1. Quite amazing, isn't it? I enjoyed this book very much, certainly a new name in mathematics for me! Thanks, Annette!

  2. I've got this one in my pile. Will hopefully get to it soon. Seems like there is a good roundup of books about math people!

    1. Yes, I agree, connected with space, too! Thanks, Michele!


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